The only way we are going to develop and grow as social entrepreneurs is to break out of our comfort zones. This involves pushing our limits and doing things that we normally would not do or are not normally in our ability to do. We may have high and lofty ideals to change the world but unless we are ready to push past the anxiety and fear into moving into the unknown, we will have little success as social entrepreneurs. Breaking out of our comfort zone will take great courage and persistence because it will be a disconcerting experience.
I have just spent 3 days doing just that…kicking myself, well and truly, out of my comfort zone! I just spent 3 days doing something I have never done before and would normally go to great lengths to avoid. When I told my husband what I was doing he said “I can’t believe you did that, it is so unlike you!”. Actually, for about three months now, when I first set up this website with very limited computer skills, it has been like I have been throwing myself out of a plane over and over! Doing things I never thought I was capable of doing.
Why would I put myself through this? Put simply, I believe wholeheartedly in my cause and sometimes to see change we need to challenge where we are to where we want to be, what we see to what we want to see, how we think to how we want to think.
Here are a few points I have learned while kicking myself out of my comfort zone:
Don’t make it about you – Every time I picked up the phone, I thought about that 1 child dying every 6 seconds and this made my fear seem very insignificant. As social entrepreneurs, we need to not make it about us…because it isn’t, instead we need to focus on the change we want to see. Make it about others.
Anxiety is normal – The heart beating faster, the tightness in our throat and the uneasy feeling in our stomach are all normal responses to doing something different. Just learn to push through and accept this uncomfortable feeling as part of the growing process.
Remove fear and replace it with belief – A good friend told me this today…so I thought I would steal it. Fear robs us, it holds us back in a place that is secure, where there are no risks. Fear inhibits our potential and opportunities. Think about the worst thing that can happen. It usually isn’t as bad as you imagine. “You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” ~Mary Manin Morrissey
Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity – If you are anything like me, a bit of a perfectionist, you want to wait until things are perfect before you act. Waiting until you are better equipped or prepared is a sure way to miss opportunities.
Have a Mentor – Find someone who will challenge you to push yourself . They will keep you accountable.
When we only operate in the place where we are comfortable and never push the limits, it restricts our thinking and achievements. Keep challenging yourself and trying new things. The rewards for breaking out of our comfort zones can be limitless for us and our social entrepreneurship. The rewards for staying where it is safe is more of the same.