what happens when you step outside of your comfort zone

Public speaking has always been a complete nightmare for me. Even just thinking about it makes my pulse quicken and I get that sweaty tingling feeling in my palms and the bottoms of my feet, similar to when fear of heights kicks in. Sometimes presentations go as planned, like when I stumbled my way through Public Speaking in college by pretending I loved it. There really is something to be said about how much your attitude influences your performance! Then there were the times like when I gave a presentation in one of my Spanish classes that I had thoroughly prepared for then literally forgot how to say all but one sentence in Spanish. I panicked and my brain forgot that I knew another language. Instant mortification. I cried silently for like 20 minutes in class, while the rest of the presentations continued, out of sheer embarrassment and frustration with myself knowing how proud I was of the presentation I had prepared, and kicking myself for failing.

Feel uncomfortable yet? I sure do.

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That one time I tandem-jumped out of a plane. Luckily the parachute opened.

As much as I would prefer to never speak in front of people again, all of my jobs and alternative source of income require my voice to be heard.

With WIC I have to teach group education classes which are the appointment types in between certification visits when moms and their children have to be seen in clinic by one of the nutritionists. I remember laughing out loud during training when the nutritionist told me I had to do that on a weekly basis. So now not only did I have to prick peoples’ fingers to draw blood to check iron levels, I also have to speak in front of a room full of people. Nine out of ten times this is a most unpleasant experience. It’s hard enough to speak in front of any room full of people let alone a room full of people who do not understand why you are wasting their time and look at you with absolute disgust. That’s if they will even look at you at all. But that is okay. I power through it with a smile on my face because I know the value of what I’m presenting. It’s also a job requirement.

My Spanish speaking skills are functional for WIC clinic because I’ve gotten used to the things I need to know how to say, and can make some guesses/gestures/google it when words are failing me. But after the situation I had in Spanish class where I utterly failed at communicating, I flat-out refused to teach the education classes in Spanish because I was terrified of a similar situation. After a year of putting it off, last month I finally got help translating the information into a Spanish lesson plan and taught my first class in Spanish. It did not go great or really even well but everyone was patient and polite with my not-so-perfect language skills and we got through it!

The first time I met with one of the owners of Strasburg Anytime Fitness about becoming their nutrition coach and teaching classes, I acknowledged how absolutely dreadful this sounded but I tucked that thought away quickly because I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. And I almost passed out the first time I taught. I spent hours upon hours creating a presentation including activities. There were no more than ten people listening to me talk but I have never felt more self-conscious in my entire life. I was speaking about nutrition for an hour and a half. I didn’t know if I had that in me and I couldn’t even remember what I had said by the time I finished. I received a lot of positive feed back and each class got easier and easier to teach.

Lastly, as a blogger I sometimes have an urgency to get a post up and available to my viewers and there are other times when I feel like I don’t ever want to let others inside my head again. It’s easier to hide behind the screen of my laptop and methodically place each word where I need it to be, but it’s still genuine Danielle talk. Every single time I publish and share my posts my anxiety goes through the roof because I have built a reputation and do not ever want to disappoint my readers.

Tonight I am overwhelmed with the stress of a crazy week. I’m maintaining my sanity and all but I got really annoyed with myself for having made a commitment to writing a weekly blog post. I didn’t want to do it. Today was one of those days where I wasn’t feeling overly conversational and outgoing. I managed to snag 30 minutes by myself in the lunch room in the middle of the day to just sit still and recuperate from a hectic morning. That’s not like me at all, I’m typically Ms. Sociable. So there was a battle in my head: Not Doing Something I Don’t Feel Like V. Staying True to Commitments. The latter won and I already feel great about my decision by this seven hundred and thirty eighth word.

In the past three days alone I’ve done three things that make me extremely uncomfortable but are required of me to continue on a path of/to success.I taught group ed, I taught a nutrition class and I’m posting my 5th blog post of 2016.

Step out of your comfort zone because:

  1. You never know what you are capable of without trying.
  2. You don’t become a better person without pushing your limits and finding out what you’re really made of.
  3. It makes for hilariously humbling stories when you do embarrassing things in front of other people.
  4. The hard stuff is the stuff you tend to be most proud of (and earn bragging rights for.)

Be brave, friends. And, “do the thing in which you think you cannot do.” **

**Unless it’s just something really dumb. Please don’t do that.