Stepping out of my comfort zone
I run an online support group for female entrepreneurs called the Solopreneur Academy. Each week we celebrate “Fearless Friday” by inviting members to get out of their comfort zone.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone triggers fear, so the experience varies from uncomfortable to terrifying. Today I’m sharing three of my recent steps outside of my comfort zone – and explaining the benefits of making this leap.
1. Solopreneur Academy website audit
Four years ago I designed the Solopreneur Academy website and thought I did a pretty good job. However a performance report by GTmetrix showed otherwise. My page size was 21 megabites (about 10 times too high) and my load speed was 6.8 seconds (at least twice the recommended time). I also had 11 broken links and was not well optimized for search engines. You get the idea. It was time for a professional website audit and some help fixing these problems.
I was surprisingly terrified to have someone look at the inner workings of my website. Although the auditors were extremely nice, it was also humbling to realize how much I didn’t know. I felt like I’d received a bad report card when I looked at the list of problems with my site structure, plugins, image size and key word choices.
So how did this benefit me? Once I got over my shock about the website issues, I began to feel empowered. I re-sized my images and fixed broken links. I had some new plugins installed to make for a better user experience. My website is now faster and more secure, and I have a better grasp of Google analytics.
Being vulnerable was hard. However I learned that a little bit of professional help can make a huge difference.
2. Making YouTube videos.
This is a work in progress and also pretty humbling. In the past I’ve made all of my videos using Zoom and the camera on my MacBook Air. Over the last month I’ve been working with a coach to improve the quality. So far I’ve upgraded my lighting, added a streaming camera, and learned to use a teleprompter. I’ve also switched from the Zoom software to eCamm. This is all new technology for me and, for the most part, the learning curve has been incredibly frustrating. I’ve made several videos that my coach has gently criticized and each iteration gets better. Fortunately I persevered and am ready to reap the results of stepping out of my video creation comfort zone.
3. Going on a road trip.
My parents live in Canada and, due to covid, I haven’t visited since September 2019. Until that time I’d made the 14-hour trip to see them at least twice a year. I have a visit planned next month and admit that traveling across the Canadian border makes me incredibly nervous. It’s been a long time since I did a lengthy drive, stayed in a hotel, or hung out with anyone but my husband and kids.
I know I’m not alone as we venture out from our covid bubbles and into a maskless world. Now that we’ve fully adapted to our comfort zone of Zoom and sweat pants, it’s time to throw on some work clothes and meet people in person.
How to get out of your comfort zone
In her wonderful book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, author Susan Jeffers talks about reaching a new zone of comfort. The way to do this is to start within your current zone of comfort, and then take small steps (through the fear) toward a new zone of comfort.
With the experiences that I’ve shared, I have moved toward a new zone of comfort. I’ve had a company evaluate my website and a coach help with YouTube videos. In a few days I’ll be driving to Canada to an Easter celebration with my parents and siblings. These may be small steps toward my goals, but they are propelling me forward.
I love this quote by Naeem Callaway, Founder and CEO of Get Out The Box Inc. “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step.”
I hope that this blog post encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone.
- Overcoming fear when you’re an entrepreneur
- Improve your business with positive self-talk
- Five Solutions to Solopreneur Stress