Comfort zone – too comfy?

Stepping right out of my comfort zone

Continuing a theme of being brave in business, trying something new, challenging myself, the other week I stepped right out of my comfort zone and accepted an opportunity to be filmed giving a talk.

I don’t know about you but I don’t like having my photo taken – I love taking photos – but rarely selfies!

However, I should mention that I did enjoy having my portrait taken by Tanya Lloyd as she put me at ease and made the session good fun :)

Similarly, I loved filming my children when they were little but, as long as I can remember, I’ve always shied away from being filmed myself…

I remember the few times that I have been filmed and the discomfort of watching the films afterwards. I can probably count them on one hand: a couple of times as a teenager while competitive swimming, a dress rehearsal of a dance show just over 10 years ago…

I actively avoided a development workshop for years as I’d heard it involved being filmed while speaking – and then having your presentation skills critiqued…!

But, I was offered the chance to have a 20-min networking talk filmed and put on YouTube (4NTV) and I accepted…

and then I started worrying…

What if..?

What if… the talk doesn’t ‘work’ when it’s not live ??

(the ‘talk’ in question is highly interactive and involves audience reflection and interaction – and has always been well received whether part of a larger workshop or as a 20min insight talk at networking meetings)

What if… the audience on the day don’t like the talk?
– what if… they think it’s a sales pitch?
– what if… they think this is not the right kind of talk to be filmed?
– what if… they think it’s not good enough…???

(let alone what would it be like to watch it afterwards and know other people could watch it…!)

I tried tackling the first ‘what if..?’ by asking someone who’d been filmed previously…

They said it would be fine; I decided they were just being nice…

(After we’ve decided on a belief (helpful or unhelpful), the ‘way it is’ – we look for evidence to back up that belief and ignore evidence to the contrary…)

I spoke to the film crew…

They said it would be fine; I decided they were just being nice…!

So, on the day… despite knowing the talk is normally well received, and wearing clothes I’m used to speaking in to be as comfortable as possible (although it was probably a bit too hot that day!), I shook like a leaf!

I shared how nervous I was and had great support from everyone involved (thank you!)

Stepping out of my comfort zone

Stepping out of my comfort zone

(Photograph from Sam Pratt, Captive North)

And…it all went…OK – I think..! – I haven’t seen the result yet and I will be nervous about pressing play once it’s available…

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear” ― Jack Canfield

But afterwards I felt great! and would love to do it again! – with another talk…

Coach – coach thyself!

[misquoting Luke (4:23)]

Looking back I could/should have coached myself through this situation – to tackle ‘head on’ the things that were worrying me. For example, I could have expressed my concern about the talk format with the people I was most worried about, as soon as I started thinking about it, before travelling to the filming location…


So – my learning and my advice to myself (and others) is this:

Figure out what exactly it is that you are afraid of and tackle it ‘head on’, up front

When coaching or facilitating a group, if I’m concerned about keeping the session on time, I mention it explicitly up front – e.g. “my role is to keep us on track, to keep us to time…”

Similarly, when preparing a couple for their first dance at their wedding, we often find that although they can dance perfectly well in the dance studio, once you change the location, add an audience (and champagne!) it can all go to pieces! Knowing that, we practice in different rooms, in different orientations, with an audience that’s clapping and cheering (I’ve not tried adding champagne to the dance lessons yet..!)

If, for example, you’re worried about speaking/performing in front of an audience or a particular audience member – why not set yourself up for success by mentioning it to them ahead of time?

Bearing in mind the Jack Canfield quote above, if something is scaring you – it’s probably the thing you need to do to move forwards…

What are your experiences of stepping right out of your comfort zone? What strategies do you employ?

Let me know your thoughts by adding your comments below..

To find out how I can support and challenge you in stepping out of your comfort zone in order to move forwards in work, or your business, please get in touch via the contact form or call me on +44 7526 740486.

Best wishes!


5 replies
  1. Raphaela
    Raphaela says:

    Yes speaking in front of others is one of my fears and I share all of those same what-if questions. However, one of the things that has been truly helpful for me before workshops and speaking engagements is practice practice practice and prayer😊

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! It’s encouraging!

  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    I was invited recently to replace a linesman referee for a football game between two villages. Accepting the challenge and performing decently in front of a demanding crowd it was an experience I’ll never forget.


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