This post is a summary of my talk at the Iowa Distinguished Young Women’s Dinner in February 2017. You can find Part 1 here.
If you read Part One of this blog topic, you’ve probably been wondering when part two was coming! Well never fear, Part Two is here!
So you already know all about the F words we are talking about today. They stop so many of us from trying, doing, being our best. The areas we see them creep into our lives are in the form of perfectionism, insecurity, and comparison. Since we identified those strongholds that prevent us from moving forward, we are going to tackle the task of Conquering the F Words today!
Find Your UNcomfort Zone
I know comfort zones are, well, comfortable! They’re familiar, safe, predictable. But they’re also stagnant. You can only go so high within your comfort zone before you are faced with two choices: live there comfortably, or take that step out and try to fly.
Think about this: what if baby birds didn’t try to fly? What if they sat there and thought, “Flying?! But I might fall! It’s too high and too hard! Um, no thanks. I’ll just sit right here in my little nest thankyouverymuch.” It’s probably pretty comfortable there, with your food being brought to you and a warm place to stay. #BreakfastInBed
But birds don’t ever think about failing, they only think about trying. It’s not in their nature to stay still and stagnant, and miss out on the incredible experience of flying. And it’s not in our nature, either.
I told you several of the ways that fear of failure has held me back in the past. But there’s one big area I didn’t let that fear of failure prevent me from trying – and you are looking at it. Make Your Mark was a huge risk, gamble, unknown. And trust me, as the OCD, anxiety-ridden, control freak that I am – it was very hard. My friends wrote “I LOVE KNOWING!” on my birthday cake once. I’m not kidding. They just know that pretty much sums up ME.
So, I was rocking my Comfort Zone. I was a director of an immensely successful Miss America local, and worked with a wonderful team. I found skills and passions I never knew I had: producing shows, cutting music, choosing talents, working on interviews, developing platforms, writing killer paperwork – and it was going very, very well. I was really hitting my stride in my Comfort Zone.
But I wasn’t stretching myself beyond anything that made me UNcomfortable.
There were a lot of reasons why I should have stayed right where I was. The support of working with a team; giving up production, judging, performing, and emceeing for MAO due to coaching restrictions; the gamble of anyone hiring me; the time commitment and unknowns of starting a business; what people would think of me – and on and on and on. I talked myself out of it almost daily.
But then I went through the process of finding my UNcomfort Zone. I let myself dream big about the potential impact I could have in this new role, and I got advice from a mentor about how this idea might look and work. Bringing a few, trusted people into your UNcomfort Zone is one of the best ways to test out an idea before taking the big leap.
I had an especially well-timed conversation with my neighbor, who is the wife of one of our church’s pastors. In a rare afternoon where the kids were all playing nicely and we had no interruptions, we both had big ideas to share and thoughts on how we felt like God was moving and working in our lives toward those ideas. It was an immensely encouraging talk; and honestly, I could have missed the impact of that conversation entirely. I’m so grateful that I recognized it as a key moment that was purposed to give me some confidence to step forward into the UNcomfort Zone.
Face Your Fears
I realize this isn’t rocket science here, but sometimes we don’t even recognize that 1) we have a fear of failing, and 2) that it is holding us back from something greater. When we seek to discover those things and are ready to do something about them, we have no other choice left but to face those fears head on, and do everything we can to succeed.
When I was going to speak on this topic at the Distinguished Young Women of Iowa dinner, I was also getting ready to perform as entertainment at their state competition. I had my trusty stand-by’s, the songs I knew I could perform well. But I looked at what I was writing about and kept coming back to a song that I had loved for years but never dared perform. For my voice type, it was definitely a song that I could FAIL.
But after I wrote my speech and talked all about Conquering the F Words and stepping out of your comfort zone, and when I thought about the lyrics of the song – I knew I had to perform it. I’d practiced it at home forever – but never had the opportunity, or the guts, to sing it onstage. So to make good on my words to the girls, I went out there a couple days later and sang Defying Gravity whilst channeling my inner Idina Menzel as best as I could! Was it perfect? No. Did I have a few hiccups? Sure. But did I DO it? You bet!
Remember those baby birds we talked about? Can you imagine what that first time flying must be like?!
Here’s the thing though…
You’ll never know how high you can fly if you never try.
You were uniquely and purposefully made to step out of your comfort zone and into greatness. But greatness is never born without risk.So get out there, find your UNcomfort Zone, Face Your Fears, and Conquer the F Words!
And if you do fall…
get back up…