Let me tell you a few examples of how I stepped out of my comfort zone and what I gained from it. And believe me, I did not start with those examples.
My first trip to Mexico
I still remember my first trip to Mexico. I had never been in Middle or South America. My travels so far have been in Europe and the US. This was something completely new for me. And yes, I had heard about a lot of crime and all those things. Still, standing in the travel agency it was the best offer and in a spur of the moment discission I booked the trip.
Fortunately for me, that was only a couple of days before I had to leave. So not that much time for fretting and overthinking it. On my way to the airport, it finally sank in. The first few days I stayed in the safety of my resort. The first trip to a nearby city was done sweating, feeling sick in the back of a cab. But once I was there I really enjoyed it. I started taking longer trips as well as some overnight trips to farther places.
To this day, when I am off to a new country on the way to the airport, I ask myself: ” What have you gotten yourself into now?”, but with the experience I gained this only lasts about 10 min. Then, I remember how much I enjoyed my last trips, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and being very happy there.
Moving and meeting people outside of work
When I started my first job, I had to move to a new city, even a new country. I didn’t think much about it. I mean I had moved to the US working as an Au pair right after school, moved around for internships during studies. Well, let me tell you, my standard ways of meeting new people didn’t work. It was ok in the work environment, but meeting people outside of work was just not happening the way I was used to. I did find excuses for this for a long time. It even let me burn out.
So, I moved again. But this time with a plan. I learned out of my experience. Encounters just don’t happen anymore like in school or during college. You have to do something for them. So, I enrolled into a club even before I started working. Went to XING or LinkedIn Meetups where I knew nobody. Invited people to my birthday I hardly knew at all. All of this with a funny feeling in my stomach. Sometimes backing out at the last moment only to try again the next time.
It worked out and I can’t tell you how happy and proud that makes me.