Comfort zones… I’ve not been in that zone for a long time….
It’s ironic, eh? My first blog post is about how I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone in order experience the world in a different way. Now, I’m writing my first ever blog post.
‘’If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes — then learn how to do it later!”- Richard Branson
My first ‘out of the comfort zone’ experience was when I moved to university at the tender age of 17. I traveled from Mayo to Northern Ireland to study psychology at the University of Ulster. I left my friends and family to start a new life. I had never spent longer than a couple of days away from my parents. A little extreme for my first out of the comfort zone experience. Within a few weeks, I had made friends, was succeeding in my studies, and had a part-time job in a local bar. I knew from that moment, in order to have the best experiences, I had to be uncomfortable.
Seven years on from University, I’m still pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Today, my focus is on my career, personal development and learning to be uncomfortable. Learn. Grow. Achieve. Public speaking, podcast interviews, charity work, meditation and traveling alone.
Junior Chamber International is a place to learn new skills and make an impact in the world. We focus on four main pillars; Business, international, community and personal development. We are young professionals, entrepreneurs or just active citizens in our 20s and 30s who believe that we can make a change. I have taken part in running community events, networking, debating, and personal development training. I’ve met some of the nicest, motivated, driven people ever. The members in my branch constantly push themselves and each other out of their comfort zones.
My first ‘out of my comfort zone’ experience with JCI, was our local Top Outstanding Young Person awards. As Community Director for our local branch, it was my job to organise this event. The project execution was stressful and I was pushed to my limits with organising an event in the evenings and holding down a full-time job in the day. The part that scared me the most was being the MC for the night. Would it go well? Would I forget someone’s name? Would I fall in front of 60 people? None of these things happened of course. What did happen, was amazing. People were proud. Proud of themselves and proud of their families. We recognised 10 local people for outstanding work they have done. Some had worked in charity, some had setup their own businesses. We awarded and praised them for pushing themselves outside their comfort zone. To see a room filled with pride and celebration, filled my soul. It was a highly successful event, and again, pushing myself out of that zone was 100% worth it.
“Harvard gave me an education, but Junior Chamber gave me an education for life” — JFK
I started with Shopify in July 2015 as a Customer Success Guru. I was communicating with amazing entrepreneurs from around the world. Helping them with their businesses. Listening to their stories of successes and challenges. Being part of that journey was phenomenal. I knew being part of this community was something special.
I pushed myself once more, and started as a Partner Manager in July 2016. I currently help our partners in Europe, the Middle East & Africa. I worked hard to get where I am today, but still, every day I push myself out of my comfort zone. Why do I do this? The results are 99.9% of the time worth it. I am by no means doing this alone. I am surrounded by encouraging, intelligent and approachable people. Again, just like JCI, it wouldn’t be possible without the people you surround yourself with. My team are awesome! (Yes, I picked that word up while over in Canada hanging out with them.)
People say to me all the time, how lucky I am to have my job. I feel blessed every.single.day. Wednesday night, I spoke in front of 50 people. Monday I’m being interviewed for a podcast that has 150K subscribers. Next week I travel alone for meetings and meet-ups. Do any of these things make me feel comfortable? No. I do it though because I really do believe in it. My passion and excitement for life and learning keeps me motivated.
‘Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people — people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories.’ Jack Canfield
Aside from work, I’m pushing myself in several other aspects of my life. I recently have started singing lessons again. I used to sing opera growing up and decided to relight that fire. I’ll be singing in a concert in November in front of 50 people. Again, I’ll be surrounded by amazing music students, my family, friends and encouraging singing teacher Lorna.
I’m also in the process of planning travelling next year. Solo travelling. Thailand, USA & Europe. Blog posts to follow. :)
Why live in a world of comfort? Pushing yourself takes guts, but what have you got to loose? FAIL- First Attempt In Learning. If nothing else, you learn something about yourself and the strength you have.
Reading through this post, you can see that with each experience there is a common denominator, and that’s people. Surround yourself with good, inspiring, determined people. Their energy is infectious. To all those people, (you know who you are) I’d like to say thank you.
Tonight, however, I’m sitting down in front of the fire and patting myself on the back. Although I’m focused on moving forward, it’s also important to enjoy the present moment and congratulate yourself. I’m feeling blessed and extremely grateful.