Stepping outside of your comfort zone

Laura Williams, SBL coach and trainer, L J Business Consultancy, discusses why her picking up a pair of scissors shows that you can step outside of your comfort zone too

Lockdown created all kinds of issues, pressures and demands on us – some were inconceivable, some were predictable, and some were just… inconvenient.

On the surface at least, and in the grand scheme of things, cutting my husband’s hair was just a casual nuisance. But it wasn’t just a nuisance. It was… nerve wracking. We’d be in the bathroom and he’d be sharing his ‘helpful hints’ and I’d be double and triple-checking every sweep of the razor. In October, he eventually said to me, “You’ve done this so many times now, why don’t you have confidence in yourself?”

And I actually didn’t know what to say to him.

I’d done it before; it had been ok and, if it had gone wrong, he was perfectly happy to sport a number 1 until I could have another go – or at least he said he was! It’s not like he has a complicated style!

And I bet you’re thinking right now, ‘What’s this got to do with anything? It’s old news.’

And that’s the point – it kind of is!

Cut to now…

It’s months after that discussion and despite the fact that the barbers have reopened I’m still cutting his hair (for now!) But not only am I cutting it, I’m doing a decent job of it – and, rather than it taking 45 minutes, I’m done in 15.

What was once not only out of my comfort zone but also something I believed I would never be able to do, and would stop doing the first chance I got, is now not even a blip on my anxiety radar.

Now it’s your turn…

Think of all the things in your job that you, at one point, you didn’t know how to do – writing a report, negotiating a contract, dealing with contractors…Now you do them without even thinking about it. It’s just another part of the job, another thing you do.

Everything new is uncomfortable at first – but uncomfortable is good. It means growth. It’s scary and it’s different but it just means things are changing. You’re changing. I know that some changes are choices, and some are brought about by circumstance, but that’s how we become who we’re meant to be.

Whatever it is you’ve been thinking about changing whether it be your role or how you do things – give it a try. Try this ‘new you’ on for size and see if it fits. Break it into small steps if you have to.

Ask for help.

Tell someone what you want to achieve.

Ask someone to be your cheerleader (I will!)

Then grit your teeth, roll up your sleeves, give it a go and see how it feels!

And if you’re just like I was, and have been doing something regularly (and pretty well!) but haven’t yet recognised the win, be good to yourself. Accept that you are doing a great job, look at how far you’ve come and have a gin to celebrate!

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