Your comfort zone, pushing beyond it and why that matters - Shop Owner Academy
4 min read Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone, pushing beyond it and why that matters

The new year offers the perfect opportunity to make positive changes. While I don't like to submit myself to setting resolutions, with big plans for 2017, I know I have to push myself beyond my comfort zone. I explain further below.

Do you love the familiarity and safety of your comfort zone or are you happy to push back boundaries and jump headlong into trying new things? If you’re anything like me, you’ll like the thought of moving out of my key comfort areas, but the reality is a little different.

It’s all gone Pete Tong

Do you know the BBC? The British Broadcasting Corporation.

Us brits have the idea that the whole world is as familiar with it as we are. Probably a case of getting ideas above our station.

Anyway the BBC, if you’re not familiar, is a public service broadcaster of both television and radio.

Back in 1991, the BBC’s Radio One, a youth focused music channel, launched a show with Pete Tong. Pete Tong is one of the biggest names in dance music and a hugely popular DJ.

Back then though, a DJ of the standing in front of a crowd of people playing records type. It turned out he was particularly unaccomplished as the talk into a microphone type of DJ.

I remember hearing that first Radio One show and literally cringing. The music was great but the chat between tracks felt like listening to a train wreck in slow motion.

I don’t know exactly when things changed, but they did.

You can still hear Pete Tong on Radio One most Friday nights and he’s every bit as accomplished talking to the mic as he is selecting the best dance music.

I’m sure he actually became more accomplished with the microphone rather quickly. That’s what happens when we keep doing something. It becomes easier and more natural.

Even if something scares us or makes us feel hideously uncomfortable, if it’s important, we have to force ourselves to do it.

Photo of a sketch showing your comfort zone and a separate place "Where the magic happens"

Breaking out of my comfort zone

We have big plans, and I know I’m going to have to break out of my comfort zone to achieve my goals.

Together with Kate, we’re working on a Shop Owner Academy course to help small business owners with launching their own website. Websites and branding are two things that feel completely natural. Even teaching isn’t a new bag. We’ve both had training roles in the past and written tutorials for some big websites.

When it comes to online training, though, video is the future and that’s so very new to both of us!

Like 1991’s Pete Tong, I’m not a natural talking to a microphone. So I know I have to force myself to do it and make it become something that feels as natural as talking to someone in person.

When I first started producing screencasts, I discovered something quite shocking. I couldn’t move a cursor and talk to a microphone simultaneously.

You might think the natural solution would be to talk, then move cursor, then talk and then move cursor again. That might have worked, but I also lost the ability to think when there was a microphone in the room.

It really was quite incredible how stupid and inarticulate I could become.

Fast forward to now and I’m delighted to say I can now talk and move a cursor. I can even do a bit of thinking at the same time too. Sure it sounds simple, but it feels like a giant leap forward for mankind to me.

It will continue to become easier and in time it’ll even become something I enjoy doing.

What next for me?

So having made that progress, I’m going to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone. That means, in the short term, doing more and more to camera. We have course videos to prepare for a start.

Additionally Facebook Lives are becoming very popular and a great way for all of us to grow our reach and authority. (If you’ve not considered how you can leverage this channel for your business, you probably ought to.)

I’m not looking forward to looking stupid in front of the camera, but that’s a phase I’m just going to have to get through.

What about you?

So what have you got planned? Will you be pushing out of your comfort zone in 2017 to try and reach new heights?

The fact you’re reading a Shop Owner Academy blog post suggests a website for your business is at least on your mind, whether it’s starting a new one or reviving an existing site. Maybe that makes you feel as uncomfortable as a camera makes me.

If so, we can at least help you with that. Please take a moment to share the biggest obstacle that’s blocking your business from having its own website.

Should your business already have a website, I still want to hear from you. What are the biggest difficulties you’ve encountered with your own site?

You can write a comment below or join our Facebook group and tag me in a post there. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Kate Pullen