This weekend I did something that was so far outside of my comfort zone that I genuinely considered not doing it! The fact that I did it was a bit of a game changer for me – here’s why….
I know the title of this post sounds very deep and philosophical – not like me at all – but I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself right now so I hope you can forgive the odd motivational quote or two. 😉
So, back in April, the UK Money Bloggers annual blogging conference and awards were announced. I was away for last year’s even but honestly, even if I hadn’t have been, I probably wouldn’t have gone. I decided a few years ago that I’m not a blogging conference kind of blogger as I’m quite shy and don’t find it easy to be in a big group of people who I don’t know.
I’ve been to a few conferences before but in all honesty, I haven’t really enjoyed them too much because I’ve felt like an outsider – not that anyone has done anything to make me feel that way, it’s just how I felt. People always seem to know each other from events that, more often than not, I can’t get to because of travel, work and the kids and I kind of saw that as me being on the outside a little bit. Silly, I know.
But last year, I did some Life Coaching with Becky at the end of last year and one of the things we talked about was how I had stopped going to lots of events because of how I felt. She made me realise that I was missing out because of something that was really just in my head and we agreed that I would go to one big blogging event in 2017.
When the date for yesterdays event was announced back in April time, I wavered a little bit but booked my place after lots of debating with myself about whether I really wanted to do something so far outside of my comfort zone.
Fast forward to last month and the agenda for the day was being discussed and there were calls for volunteers to run some of the breakout sessions which I hastily scrolled past, certain that I wasn’t ready for that just yet. The lovely Becky then emailed me to ask if I wanted to host the Pinterest session with her and I immediately typed back a lovely message to say something along the lines of absolutely not as the thought of meeting people on the day makes me nervous so hosting a session and speaking in front of them is out of the question.
I was just about to press send on my polite thanks but no thanks message when I changed my mind – I love Pinterest and am actually quite good at it when I have time to put everything I know into action. I really wanted to say yes but speaking in front of a group of people, even a small one, was a whole new comfort zone to break out of. I quickly typed yes before I could change my mind and thought that if I was ever going to be happy speaking in front of people then having Becky by my side would be a good time to do it.
It didn’t stop there though!
I got a message from Andy, the brains behind the UK Money Bloggers, asking how I felt about speaking on a panel in front of everyone about Facebook groups (thanks to how you lovely lot have made our Facebook group into such a great place to be) and this time, I didn’t even think about it. By this point, my thought process was somewhere in the area of ‘oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound’ so I just said yes and planned to worry about it later!
So, that’s the story of how I ended up on the 6.30 train to London yesterday morning, ready to spend the day meeting people I’d only ever spoken to online and face my fears about speaking in front of people. Do you want to hear how the day went?
The very lovely Jane from Maflingo took my favourite photo of the day.
It went brilliantly! Meeting people who you’ve only ever spoken to online is surreal because although you’ve never met them in real life, you do feel like you know them. There was very little staring at people’s chests (to look at the name badges obviously) because everyone just knew each other. I didn’t feel like a stranger and there wasn’t any cliques or groups of people who made me feel as though I was an outsider and even though deep down I knew this would be the case, the relief after that first half an hour was massive.
The morning flew by and there were some very interesting discussions before lunch which I’ve scribbled down somewhere to share with you at some point. After lunch was our Pinterest session which was pretty full as Pinterest is something lots of people want to master.
It went really well and although I know I’m not the best at explaining things, I think Becky and I were able to share some pretty good advice and tips so I hope everyone enjoyed it. To me personally, though, the highlight of that session was simply getting through it and being able to share things I knew to help others. There was so much more we could have covered and between Becky and me, I think we could have done the full afternoon!
Next, there were a few more sessions that I found super helpful and then came the Facebook panels session which saw me sitting on a chair on stage in front of everyone with Tom and Jenni to talk about our Facebook groups. I shared how I felt like Live Well, Spend Less was a great community where we share ideas and as I was speaking I did feel quite proud of our little group. I was super nervous and I know I waffled a bit when we were answering some questions and there was one question that I wasn’t sure what to say so the very kind Tom jumped in but on the whole, I think it went OK and I’m very pleased I did it.
I got back on my train at the end of the day feeling exhausted but filled with ideas and inspiration and even more importantly feeling very happy and quite proud of myself. I would have missed all that if I’d stayed at home and watched people’s updates on my laptop!
Stepping out of your own comfort zone might not mean going to a blogging conference – it could be approaching a school mum and starting a conversation, it could be joining a new class or a club or volunteering to do something you wouldn’t normally do.
Whatever you do this week, try and do one thing that takes you outside your comfort zone.
Oh, and on the train on the way home, I managed to find myself in the same carriage as the Boro football team so I won parent of the year by messaging Master Frugal who met me off the train with his kit on and a Sharpie to say hello to them all. He’s over the moon but not quite as happy as this one who ha a hug with the very handsome George Friend!
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