Friday, January 27, 2012

Out of Your Comfort Zone

"We expand our world when we go out of our comfort zone."

I remember hearing this said to me a couple of years ago. I just forget who said it. I do remember it now and the relevance and truthfulness of that statement.

A couple of years ago, five years to be exact, I was just minding my own work as a business development manager in an online job portal. I wasn't looking to start a business. I wasn't even thinking of going out and meeting people through my talks and hosting projects.

Five years ago, I was in an office working from 9am-6pm thinking of ways to grow and expand the services of the company I was with. Five years ago, I was commuting daily waking up early so I will not be late.

Five years ago, I was getting paid every 15th and 30th of the month. I was saving barely enough, just buying the things that I truly need.

Every thing changed when I decided to join the Subaru Impreza Endurance Challenge in the Fort. The top 10 finalists will be going to Singapore to have a chance in winning the Subaru Impreza WRX (my dream car). To be in the included in the top 10, You must endure standing up in the heat of the sun holding a Subaru Impreza sedan with your right hand. if you let go or even move your hand, you can be disqualified from the contest. Five-minute breaks are allowed every after 6 minutes.

I wasn't included in the top 10 but I was close. I stood for more than 28 hours and 50 minutes in the30 hour endurance challenge.

The challenge changed my life in more ways I could imagine... After the challenge, I was asked for an interview in a cable channel. They invited two winners and me, as the not so lucky one, and the organizers of the challenge.

Once the interview is over, the director approached me and asked if I can host a business show they were producing at that time. Although I had no experience in hosting nor have any communication arts background, I eagerly accepted. It was a new challenge for me.

I found myself being open to new opportunities. There was a time I used to say 'no, it was not me.' I began saying 'okay, let me give it a try' more frequently after the Endurance Challenge.

When I started hosting, I did not do well in the first few episodes. I continually asked for directions and advice. The positive side is that, I began to talk to more businessmen and leaders in different industries. I got to know more about business strategies, finance and marketing. It has helped to grow as a person.

With Mr. Lloyd Luna
When I was also a TV host, I met Mr. Lloyd Luna. He has asked to join their pool of speakers in the Professional Speakers Association of the Philippines. This paved the way for a couple of speaking engagements.

I never dreamed nor thought of becoming a speaker. I grew up as an introvert. I shied away from public places. I would rather stay at home than go to a social event. I still do, but I can now speak in front of hundreds of people.

A chance meeting in a coffee shop in one of the malls in a business district also opened an opportunity for me to help my Alma Mater. I didn't realize that it will also pave the way for a regular hosting assignment in the forums organized by the Speakers Bureau of the Alumni Association.

With the officers of the Ateneo Alumni Association

Because of the business that I am in, there have been invitations and interviews from several media outlets. We were featured in TV and the newspapers. I was also interviewed in radio.

With DJ Vince, Mr. Ching and DJ Tracy of the Wake-Up Show
I never thought that once I decided to go out of my comfort zone, my world suddenly expanded. The things that I am doing now, wasn't even in my mind a couple of years ago.

Going out of our comfort zone can be quite scary. We have been used to the status quo. We want things to stay the same. However, if we do stay the same, we will be left out eventually. Change is happening at the speed of thought - as what they say.

How do you manage to go out of our comfort zone and still be grounded. Here are the things I've learned:

  1. Be courageous. As the saying goes, courage is not the absence of fear but the judgement that something else is more important than fear. Think about the things that you value the most - is it financial freedom? How can you achieve that if you are afraid?
  2. Get a supporter. When things get rough; they will really be going to get rough, you will need someone to talk to you will constantly remind you that every thing will be alright. Your supporter will be the one who will continually cheer up when you are done and push you even harder when you begin to slacken up. 
  3. Keep true friends. I may not have a lot of Facebook friends but I do keep a handful that I can always count on. These friends have been with me since college. They know where I came from and the challenges that I've faced. 
  4. Stay humble. Know that you do not have all the answers. Know that a street-sweeper may know some things that you don't. Don't belittle a person because you think he cannot help you. Learn from people and be a good student.
  5. Constantly accept new challenges. Do not say 'no' immediately nor say 'yes' to everything that is being offered. Look at it from a bigger perspective and think how it can help you grow and become a better person. If you think it will help you reach your goals, then accept it. If it will just keep you from achieving your mission, say 'no'.