YIKES...I did WHAT...Aka...Comfort zone uplevelling

Have you ever heard of people talking about comfort zones? That something is ‘out of their comfort zone?’ It often means something is really uncomfortable, or difficult, or maybe feeling impossible!
It would be really easy at times like these to run waaaay far away from the challenge and climb back into where we feel safe. No one would blame you! But then what? What happens next time something challenging comes up – do we run then too? Do we stay still our whole lives and not explore what might be possible? Hmm now that doesn’t sound too fun….
Sometimes, its worth us facing that challenge square in the face and having a go.  Like when our gymnasts find a skill or activity challenging, its easy to not want to try again.  But we as coaches KNOW its worth it for them to keep trying, that the gymnast IS capable of the skill and also that they will feel AWESOME when they realise they can achieve it. How do we know this? Well, we’ve been there ourselves.
I had quite an experience of this myself recently!!
At the weekend I was invited to speak to 400 women at the One Women Conference in London. It’s an event run by an organisation called One of Many, who are on a mission to ‘unleash the bold, grassroots leadership of 1 million women internationally.’
YIKES!! WHAT?! They want ME to do THAT?
I was utterly floored by this. I’ve completed coach and leadership training with One of Many, and the community round this have been a huge part of my life for the past couple of years.  But I’ve never stood on stage at a conference and spoken to 400 people.  Plus I was being asked to talk about my personal journey in leadership and to fit it all into 6 minutes. Definitely well out of my comfort zone.
I could have run back to safety and security and not done it.
But of course that’s not what I did.
So how did I manage? Well, I took inspiration from how I see comfort zones expanding in the gym every day.  That gymnast who is unsure of a skill what do we see? We see coaches (and fellow gymnasts) encouraging and supporting them. We see great explanations of how to technically do the skill from the coach so they know what to expect. We see new preps and progressions to build the correct movement in. Then ultimately we see the gymnast decide it’s worth it, look that challenge square in the face and give it a go.
So for me, I told the #TeamAffinity coaches what I’d been invited to do and they were supportive and encouraging. I had some great advice from some of my One of Many friends on what kinds of things to say and how to structure my presentation. I wrote and re-wrote it, practiced and got some great feedback.  Then on the day, despite the worlds most EPIC amount of nerves I stood up tall and walked confidently onto that stage to take on the challenge.
Now every day, we see the delight on the faces of gymnasts as they go through challenges and come out the other side. I’m pleased to report my challenge was much the same. I LOVED it and all went really well.  I told them all about the changes we’ve made at Affinity over the past year or so and more importantly, what we’re about and where we’re going next.


Having done this, I’m now open to more challenges.  Much like the gymnast who has now mastered that skill outside of their comfort zone, they can go onto learn the next one – which is likely more challenging but also waaay more exciting.
Now imagine if we all stayed safe – we’d never get to the REALLY good stuff.  It’s got to be worth a try, don’t you think?

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