New Year, New Month
It’s a new month and a new chance to recommit to those goals you set for 2017. I decided at the beginning of the year that I would celebrate every New Month’s Eve and every New Month’s Day as a way to acknowledge all that I’d achieved and experienced in the passing month and to commit to the actions I needed to take to make the new month a fruitful one. The traditional concept of New Year’s celebrations has always been rather anticlimactic for me – a contrived attempt to make it an ‘epic’ night of festivities with an obligation to stay up late and drink too much wine. The older (and wiser) I’ve become, the less that interests me and the more I see this time as an opportunity to create and renew my commitment to the goals and dreams I want to see come to life by the time we usher in another new year.
When I first started this new approach to New Year’s celebrations, I found it quite awkward and uncomfortable purely because it went against the grain of what I’d done by default my entire adult life. I’d never really seen the ending of an old year and the beginning of a new one as anything other than a big, late-night party with a fireworks and hangovers. Damn, I’m glad those days are over! Instead I’m invigorated by the possibilities that lie ahead and grateful for lessons and growth that lie behind, and I’ve made this reflection and contemplation process a bit of a ritual.
For All It’s Challenges, 2016 Was a Great Year
When I reflect on 2016 I see nothing but good. Sure, there were struggles, there was heartache, there was uncertainty and fear, but in all the 36 years that came before it, I think 2016 was the year I did the most significant growing and learning of my life. For all intents and purposes, 2016 should have been a ‘bad’ year for me – I stopped offering the service which was my biggest money earner; I’d burdened my credit card with the expense of an overseas trip to attend a workshop I couldn’t afford; I actually had one of those months when I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to put petrol in my car or pay my studio rent; I had to say goodbye to my beloved pooch while giving myself the time and space to grieve; I had to figure out what I was doing with my life and my business; And then I had to face my first festive season without the security of the income stream I’d given up 12 months prior.
And you know what?
I wouldn’t change a thing!
There was a gift in every one of those experiences – a gift that makes me who I am today. I had to face the pain, the discomfort and the anxiety head-on to be able to come out the other side, a more empowered and confident person. If’ 2016 had been a comfortable, ‘easy’ year where I’d just floated through with a breeze, I would put money of the fact that I would have experienced zero growth, zero personal development and zero insight. Nothing would have changed. It would have been same old, same old.
So I’m truly grateful for the many, many lessons and opportunities for growth that I was gifted with last year.
Today I sit here feeling more abundant, blissful, expansive, more filled with love and more peaceful than I ever have, and it’s because I chose to step (or I was pushed) out of my comfort zones. Having experienced all that I did, and having not only survived the turmoil, but thrived, I can honestly say that I feel more confident in my ability to manage and respond to whatever challenges come my way in 2017. Because, and you may not want to hear this – outside of your comfort zone is the soil where growth happens – where it can only happen. The soil inside of the comfort zone is barren, devoid of any nutrients and growth mediums. The good stuff is just outside! It’s like a farmer who keeps farming the same plot of land – eventually all the goodness is used up and he’s left with a dusty, useless patch of brown sand.
Crush Your Comfort Zones
Being the eternal student of life and the campaigner of confidence that I am, I want to bring others along on this amazing adventure that exists just outside those comfort zones. Once you dip your toe in the water, you begin to develop a taste, a need even to jump in head first!
I recently attended another Toastmasters meeting as a guest because the physical response of anxiety and fear is so strong in me whenever I think about those meetings. There are 2 parts to a Toastmasters meeting – the prepared speeches and the table topics. The prepared speeches are for official members (I’m just a guest for now) to deliver a talk within a give timeframe on a topic of their choosing, for which they then receive feedback. The table topics is for any person present to draw a random topic and deliver a 1-2 minute talk about the topic the chose with no prior preparation. That for me is TERRIFYING! Of course, because I’m on a mission that requires me to walk my talk (build confidence, get out of your comfort zones blah, blah, blah) I discovered that I’d raised my hand to volunteer as a participant. I walked up to draw my topic and in my mind I visualized me literally walking out of my comfort zone into this enormously uncomfortable zone – in front of 20 people. I delivered my short talk, I survived as I knew I would, and I sat down knowing that at the next meeting I would do the same thing again and every single time I would do it, it would get easier and less scary. Off the back of that first experience, the seed of my confidence has been sown and now it’s just for me to continue to nurture it by continuing to raise my hand.
So I want to set you a challenge – 5 challenges in fact! If you feel like you need to work on that uncomfort zone muscle then I’ve created a FREE 5 day challenge to help you do that. The challenges range from your body, to how you speak to yourself, to how you speak to others, to taking routine-busting action! It’s absolutely free, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, so take the challenge and watch your confidence grow!