Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Beyond my comfort zone

I'm starting a new series on this blog about stepping outside of my (or your) comfort zone. We've touched on this in our regular Wednesday guest postings and interviews, but I thought it would be fun to focus on this aspect of being shy and/or introverted. Every Tuesday (that's the plan anyway--I'm also lazy, forgetful and unorganized by nature), I will tell you how I am stepping outside my comfort zone. Even better, you can come on as a guest and tell the readers how you are stepping outside your comfort zone.

Being shy and/or introverted can really hold us back sometimes, often manifesting itself as fear. Fear to try new things, fear to put ourselves "out there." Personally, I'm sick and tired of letting fear run my life. If you know me personally, you may not necessarily think of me as a wimp, but I am. Trust me. If you know me personally, you know that I teach group exercise classes, including Zumba. Now, how on earth could I do this if I'm shy or introverted? Practice, baby. Practice. Fake it till you make it. And any other cliche you can come up with. Years ago, when I was just a personal trainer and not also a class instructor (one on one, I'm fine, but put me in front of a group...yikes.), my gym was in desperate need of a kickboxing sub. Somehow, my boss knew I had a background in martial arts (mainly because my hubby was a martial artist). They asked me to sub the kickboxing class for several weeks while the regular instructor was on leave. Holy #$@%! I said yes, because I'm a nice person and often do things just to be nice (remember, I told you I can be a wimp), but I swear to God I had a horrible stomach ache and insomnia for days leading up to that first class. I'm pretty sure I wet my pants a bit that first day, but somehow I muddled through, and somehow subbing that class led to a second fitness career as group exercise instructor. Right now, I teach Zumba, Pilates, yoga and a fitball sculpt class.

I've been teaching for about 8 years now. But you know what? I still get nervous before EVERY class, especially Zumba where I really have to be "on" and energetic (so not my personality). Before every class, I give myself a little pep talk beforehand. I have to remind myself to make eye contact with students. I have to remind myself to smile. Luckily, my sister takes my classes--if I look too serious, she'll break out into a HUGE grin to remind me to do the same.

Even though teaching still gets me nervous, I'm SO glad I didn't let my fear prevent me from accepting that first teaching opportunity. Being a group exercise instructor is one of the most rewarding and fun jobs I've ever had. I mean, seriously, I get paid to work out. I get paid to work out with other people. I get paid to help people get fit, get more energy, get more self-confidence. Those benefits far outweigh my pathetic little fears.

So...tell me one little thing you'll do this week to step outside of YOUR comfort zone.

4 comments:

  1. I'm unsure what I can do to step outside my comfort zone, but you have inspired me to do so. How great that you didn't let an opportunity pass you by just because you were afraid.

    Great post. I'll find a way to follow your example this week, that's for sure. :)

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  2. Good for you, Mary. I hate when I live my life "scared"--passing up opportunities because they make me nervous or uncomfortable. i'm trying to be better. Life's too short. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Hi, Rebecca,
    I'm glad I stopped in. Fear can and does paralyze us, but as you've pointed out, it pays to do whatever it is afraid and keep moving through. Haven't done anything that took me out of my comfort zone this week, but we'll see. Still got some time left. :)

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  4. Hey J.L., I'm glad you stopped in, too. Plenty of time left in the week to step out of that comfort zone. Good luck.

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