I just finished Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge and Build Confidence by Andy Molinsky, Ph.D.
We can all think of moments, big and small, when we have gone outside our comfort zone – going after a promotion, presenting to a large crowd, or just being the dissenting voice in a meeting.
What makes us take that step?
Professor Molinsky focuses on three key areas that help us:
- Conviction: having a deep sense of purpose
- Customization: finding your own personal way of performing the task
- Clarity: understanding what you are avoiding and how you rationalize this
I was particularly interested in the idea of customization which can include words, body language, timing and context.
Let’s imagine a scenario where your manager asks you to present at a large fundraising conference. You love speaking in meetings or small groups. However, the thought of speaking to a room with 100+ of your peers is definitely outside your comfort zone.
How can you use the idea of customization to serve you?
- Words – choose a topic that you are passionate about and love talking about
- Body language – use your body to convey your message with energy and confidence
- Timing – when possible choose to present at a time of day when you feel your best
- Context – change the circumstances to suit you (e.g. if you like being prepared give a speech and if you prefer to be spontaneous sit on a panel)
Reading about customization reminds me of the first time I delivered a keynote address. I really enjoy facilitating and delivering training sessions. Yet giving a keynote address to a room of 100+ felt scary.
Reflecting back here is what I did to take that step. I choose a topic where I have knowledge and experience so I felt confident. I stood during the address which makes me feel energized. The keynote kicked off the day so I was able to present in the morning, a time when I feel most alive. Finally in terms of context, I know that I am best when I am being spontaneous and interacting with the participants. So rather than the traditional style of presenting, I combined the talk with interactive activities that allowed me to create with the audience. I see now that I customized in order to deliver my best to this situation and to create more enjoyment.
Think about something you need to do that involves stepping outside your comfort zone. Perhaps something you have been avoiding.
In addition to conviction and clarity, consider how can you use customization to rise to the challenge.
Janice Cunning is a Certified Coach who is passionate about partnering with fundraisers to help them create an inspired vision that transforms lives.