While doing the same ol’, same ol’ is comfortable, it’s not typically what will get you the best results long-term.
It’s a case of “do what you always do and you’ll get what you always get.” Which is fine… if you don’t want anything more than what you currently have.
But what if you do want more? What then?
Then you have to bust out of your comfort zone yo!
I Have a Theory
According to this Gallup poll, roughly 70% of American workers are disengaged at work.
70%! Crazy, right?
The main reason I think this is, is that people aren’t challenged enough. They’re not learning new things – new skills that will help them to do their current job better AND make a promotion or role change more realistic for their situation.
But whose fault is it that they’re disengaged in the first place?
The employee’s for not taking initiative? The employer for not challenging the employee?
Probably a bit of both.
But I’d be compelled to put the onus on the employee. Because it is THEIR LIFE. Their career future. So ultimately they should take control and responsibility, right?
This Goes Double for Self-Employed Individuals
If you’re self-employed – a full or part-time freelancer, entrepreneur or whatever you decide to call yourself – this counts double.
You really have no one to blame but yourself. You have no boss breathing down your neck. No bonus structure pushing you to do more.
You have you, you and you. (And maybe your spouse.) 😉
So the best way to challenge yourself is to push yourself out of your comfort zone to both learn and try new things. (And no, this does NOT mean reading everything on the internet!)
It means picking a specific skill you want to learn, learning it and then putting it in practice. The last part being the key!
And taking an online course is only ONE way to do this.
5 Ways I’m Pushing Outside My Comfort Zone
There are quite a few things that I’m doing currently to push myself out of my own comfort zone.
And while it’s sometimes scary, it’s making me grow. As an entrepreneur and as an individual overall. So, what am I doing?
1. I’m Self-Publishing a Book
Although writing isn’t new for me, self-publishing is.
And there’s a lot to it! I’m lucky to be co-authoring my first nonfiction book with my friend Sally Miller. She has numerous titles already on the market (one actually teaching others how to self-publish) and has the process down pat.
In addition to learning about the self-publishing process, I’m also pushing outside of my comfort zone by writing the book WITH someone else. I.e. I don’t control the whole process (she’s actually taken the lead), which is different for me.
Turns out we mesh and work really well together. It’s kind of like when you had to do a group project back in middle school, but Sally and I are both carrying equal weight.
2. I’m Speaking at My First Conference
Next month I’m speaking at my first conference, Double Your Freelancing in Norfolk, Virginia.
I’ve been wanting to add speaking to the list for some time, even if it scares the crap out of me! I know it’s a great way for me to further my brand, share my products and services with more folks and meet other influencers.
But it really is frightening.
The main experience I have with “public speaking” is leading a small group and a BNI group in the past. I’ve never even been to a Toastmasters meeting (I’ve tried, but the time/locations haven’t really worked for my schedule).
I already have an outline, so all I have left to do is write it out and practice, practice, practice. And my lovely husband is traveling with me. Hopefully knowing he’s in the audience will help calm my nerves. And there’s only going to be ~100 people, so I’m also starting small!
3. I’m Doing Webinars
In my mind, I’m a much better writer than live presenter.
But it seems like webinars aren’t going away anytime soon. And everything I’ve read points to them aiding in the success of selling online courses. So I’m going to give them a try.
I’m repurposing some material (from that above ebook) to teach aspiring freelance writers how to get started. I’m going to start with co-hosting them with affiliates and “borrowing” their audiences to present to.
I think the webinar itself will be hugely valuable, which helps take some of the pressure off. Whenever you can provide massive value, it seems to make the process less intimidating. I.e. take the position of teaching or serving others, rather than worry about selling stuff.
4. I’m Teaching a Live Class
This sort of piggybacks on the above. I.e. doing more “public speaking.”
The classes that I’ll be teaching will be a part of Brennan Dunn’s Academy <–affiliate link. The goal is to take current business owners through a step-by-step (month-by-month) process of improving their overall business and making it significantly more profitable.
I’m going to be teaching the messaging section, which is something I’ve enjoyed learning about and continue to implement on my own site (more changes to come in the next few weeks/months!).
So I get to write the material myself and then teach to small groups for ~15 hours per month. I’m excited, because it should be lucrative, build my teaching muscles and get me more comfortable “thinking and speaking on my feet.”
5. I’m Launching a Niche Site
Honestly, I wasn’t looking for another project. (I actually have to say no to any new projects or ideas for the rest of this year – hold me to it!)
But my good friend Daryn Collier proposed the idea of experimenting with a niche site in the freelancing niche. And he’s kinda smart, so I said yes.
The goal is to provide epic resources to the freelancing community (think 1-3 blog posts of ~5k words per month) that are more agnostic in nature (so not specific to writers or VAs, but more broadly applicable to all freelance creatives). And it won’t be based on a personal brand.
Then we get to experiment with monetizing it. (This is the part I’m really excited about!)
The cool thing is that since it’s not either of our primary businesses or websites, we have a lot more freedom to experiment. We can focus on affiliate marketing, running ads, sponsored posts and more. It won’t really matter.
And we can fail in a huge burst of flames without taking our personal financial situations down with it!
What You Should Do Next
So now that I’ve shared with you why it’s important to break out of your comfort zone and how I’m currently doing it, I want to challenge you to do it too.
Maybe it’s not by self-publishing a book, speaking at a conference, hosting webinars, teaching live classes or launching a niche site like me. Maybe it’s just learning a new skill and putting it in practice to become proficient at it. Or maybe it’s marketing upstream with the goal of landing higher-paying clients.
Figure out a few things that you can do to bust out of your own comfort zone and grow as a freelancer (or even as an employee if that’s your MO). Write down a list of 3-5, rank them based on priority (or what seems like the most fun) and then start at the top and make your way down.
Hone in on the first thing and break it down into the exact steps you need to take to complete it. Make the steps as small as possible to prevent overwhelm. Then take the first step. And the next. And the next.
And instead of just adding this to your future to do list, plan time to work on it in your actual calendar. Treat it like a client assignment. Just do it!
What’s one thing you’re considering doing to bust out of your comfort zone workwise? Tell us in the comments section!