Comfort zones – we all have them – that reassuring bubble which surrounds us, keeping us safe and seemingly* protected. Staying within our comfort zones means security, nothing ‘bad’ can happen; we won’t be criticised, judged, looked at or – dare I suggest – laughed at.
But guess what?
The majority of them don’t care.
*I use the word seemingly on purpose because what comfort zones actually do is hinder us. It doesn’t let us try out new things, which will lead to several business stopping results like; not getting seen, not being visible, or even more debilitating, not getting us noticed. And to get ahead in today’s marketing world, you need to do all three.
What do I mean by not caring? Let me give you an example; I went to Harry Potter world with my son, Oliver, a few months back, and apart from being one of the best ‘theme attractions’ I’ve ever been to, there are lots of interactive areas that you can join in on and one of these was learning how to cast spells. You were invited onto a small stage, in groups of four, where you choose your wand and stood in front of a hologram which showed you how to say a specific spell with corresponding moves (they required different flicks of the wrist and fancy foot work). Now normally I would shy away from such displays, I mean a grown woman of 40+ getting up with a bunch of kids to do spell casting; surely people will look at me and think I’m ridiculous… but a voice inside me said “Go on, give it a go…. Have some FUN!” so I did, and you know what, no one was looking at me, pointing , the kids who were with me didn’t seem to mind, (although I think my son was rather embarrassed, but that’s part of being a parent, right?) and I twirled and cast spells for the next five minutes. (I got top marks too!) I had a HOOT. Result! Now, did the world cave in? No. Did all of the other visitors stop and stare at me? NO. Did I have any negative feedback what-so-ever from anyone? (apart from the rolling eyes of Oliver) NO. Instead, I gained a sense of bravery and realised, at that moment, no one cared what I was doing, but I knew something had shifted within me….
…I had successfully pushed my comfort zone a little bit wider and learnt a valuable lesson; the feeling of accomplishment outweighed the feeling of nervousness I felt moments before I stepped up.
Fast forward several months, and I’m now very active in different groups on Facebook. It’s a really good way to engage with an audience, and if you pick them carefully, you can not only learn some great strategies and techniques for your business, but you have a fantastic platform to showcase your expertise.
One such group required me to record a video – of me – to introduce myself.
Are you kidding me?
Video, me? And posting it on Facebook!
Eeeek… but I knew this was something I should be doing. (There are two ways of posting a video to Facebook; recording a video and uploading it, or ‘Going Live’ where you film yourself and it posts live to your page or group – for this exercise, I chose the former as a compromise, even though I was really stretching my comfort zone barriers.)
Now video – in any form of promotion – IS the way forward. In fact, I’ve just finished helping a client write a book about how video is one of the smartest ways of promoting your brand – ‘How to Get Video Right’ by Simon Banks is a fantastic book, and if you’re a company that has been thinking of introducing video into your marketing strategy, then this book is for you – and even if you’re not thinking of it at the moment, you should – VIDEO really is the new platform to be advertising on and getting ahead of the curve is really smart. His top tip with the selfie video is; the more you record and do, the better you get. Don’t expect to get instant results, it takes time to build an audience.
Having learnt that Facebook are now ranking pages which contain video higher than static posts (which means a larger reach for your posts), this request was really a great opportunity for me to ‘practice’ and after watching other members’ introductions, I decided to give it go. Now, don’t get me wrong, it took me about five attempts before I came up with anything I was happy with, and my negative self-talk was kicking in big time… BUT I broke through it and posted my intro.
The response I got was fantastic – the majority saying how interesting my subject was (I talked a little about how I help people write and publish books) and I felt elated. Not one negative or bad comment. Another positive result.
My feelings of nervousness and worry evaporated. I’d done it; I’d pushed my comfort zone another few inches wider and I was feeling a great sense of accomplishment. I was also getting ‘seen’ and if you’re in the business where that is important, then you need to be doing this, and doing it regularly.
The next test was ‘Going Live’. Now this is definitely a step further because obviously, as the title suggests, your video is uploaded as you’re recording. So the chance to edit or start over is gone. There is also an opportunity for communicating with your audience, (everyone who is following you will be notified that you are ‘going live’ and they can then jump on and interact whilst your recording) which is fantastic if you need to have that interactivity. Your followers also get to see YOU; remember, people buy from people, so getting yourself ‘seen’ is really smart. If this fills you with absolute dread – then you can ease yourself in with doing the above (recording a video that you upload) and doing that over and over, until your comfort zone is well and truly established.
My first live video was to my personal Facebook page, (so just friends and family) and I didn’t actually appear in it at all… I just recorded the view from Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. This eased me in gently, and I’ve now since posted several live videos in Facebook groups, and more importantly, on my Facebook page when I was attending a client’s book launch at Waterstones in London Piccadilly. It did push my boundaries, as I was outside of the shop and had people walking past, but I knew I had to get over myself and do a post, and like in Harry Potter World, no one blinked an eye at me talking into my phone – in fact, so many people are doing this now, people really don’t care!
If stepping out of your comfort zone is still causing you to come out in hives, follow the four steps I’ve outlined below to get you started. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to push these boundaries if they are stopping you from getting seen.
Four steps to getting out of your comfort zone
- Try something in your personal life that pushes your boundaries. Use it as practice, and really take note of how you feel before and then after you’ve done it. Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do, but just never had the guts? Is there something that you can do that is a step towards this goal? Make sure it’s something that makes you feel a little uncomfortable – that is your comfort zone boundary, and then take active steps to go through it.
- Take a friend. There is nothing wrong with having moral support, and if it gets you over the line, then take someone along for the ride. The important thing is to accomplish the task and if you need a little extra help, then it’s much better you do than not to try.
- Share your success. Tell a friend or family member, or even post it on Facebook. Your group or tribe will be supportive and no doubt be in awe of your achievements, so don’t keep it to yourself. Being praised for your bravery will go a long way to helping you continue stretching your comfort zone.
- Keep pushing. Once you’ve done one thing, keep going. Keep pushing the boundaries, or take it up a notch. Like my video example on Facebook, ‘going live’ was the next logical step, and added another layer of ‘boundary pushing’ than simply recording and uploading.
So there you have it – how to push past your comfort zone to get you seen and noticed. It’s just a small step that can lead to big change, so do it. It’s such a great accomplishment.
I would love to hear your feedback about this post (or any from my blog) please feel free to comment below, or share with others if you think it may help someone break free from hiding their brilliance.
Let me know how you get on, and what you do!