I often work with my clients on the importance of cultivating a love of learning, taking a few risks, and getting outside of their comfort zone – keeping their possibilities open and their lives big. Since I like to walk my talk, I recently challenged myself to try something new: hula hooping. It sounded fun and like an appropriate risk since I had a reasonable chance of being embarrassed for an hour by both a lack of coordination and cardio capability. So I looked at the schedule to find the beginners class and put it in my calendar.
The day arrived for the class and I quickly checked the website, but the class was gone! They had moved it to a time I couldn’t attend. No matter, I thought, I would still use the time to challenge myself. So I glanced at the schedule for a yoga studio I haven’t been to before, and set out for a small adventure.
I thought I was attending a gentle yoga class, and things started off nicely enough. It was a different style than I was used to, but seemed all right. And then class just got plain hard. Really hard. I gave it a big effort and adapted the poses I simply couldn’t do or hold. While I actually liked a lot of the class, I can’t tell you how many times I said to myself during it, “And this is the gentle class?!”
Afterwards, while thinking about how sore I would be the next day, I looked at the schedule more closely because I wanted to read the class description. And I saw that I had read the schedule wrong. I didn’t attend a gentle class, but rather an advanced class that my friend later told me was referred to as “the power hour.” Oops.
So what did this expedition outside of my comfort zone teach me? Well, lots of things! Don’t expect every experiment to go perfectly. Although it was difficult at times, it only lasted 75 minutes and I survived just fine – in fact, I did pretty well and gained some confidence. The class also showed where I have some weaknesses I should work on. (Abdominals, anyone?) I also really liked the studio and plan to return, so my most important lesson is probably to read the schedule more carefully!
What’s something new you could challenge yourself with? Try to pick something that sounds fun or interesting to you. And don’t worry about doing it well – everyone can survive an hour or two of embarrassment. And the truth is, probably no one is looking at you anyway. They are all focused on themselves (and their own aching abs).
Keep pushing on that comfort zone!
p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching