Last Friday, I went skydiving.
Yes, it was one of those bucket list things, and I was very excited to have the opportunity to do it.
If you’ve never jumped out of a plane before, I highly recommend doing it, at least once in your life. If anything, you’ll learn a lot about how you handle fear.
Was it the scariest thing I’ve ever done? I say no. In terms of heart pound heaviness, doing stand up comedy was scarier.
So I guess you could say I’m like most people, in that I fear the prospect of public ridicule (that comes with public speaking) more than I fear the prospect of plummeting to my death!!
Why am I sharing this with you?
If you’ve been following my podcast for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in doing things to challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone. By getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, you learn to handle fear, you build confidence in yourself, and ultimately, you achieve things you once thought to be impossible.
And this all relates back to speaking in public with confidence and communicating effectively. I mean, if public speaking is your #1 fear – it’s best to work up to it, right? And you don’t HAVE to deliver a speech to challenge yourself and test your fears.
If you want to see how I’ve done it, listen to my episodes on busking, stand-up, and rejection. Or if you want easy challenges delivered to your inbox, sign up below for my free 21-day Confidence-Building Course. You got this, rock star 🙂
21 Ways to Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Skydiving is definitely one of the more extreme ways to get out of your comfort zone, so if you’re not quite feeling up to the challenge just yet, that’s totally ok! Here are 21 other ways to challenge yourself (in no particular order of difficulty).
1. Look people in the eye when you speak to them.
2. Hold people’s eye contact when you pass them IN THE STREET (this one’s from Tim Ferriss).
3. When you’re waiting for someone at coffee or lunch or dinner, DON’T look at your phone. Avoid the temptation. SIT there and people watch.
4. Instead of sending an email to someone, give them a call, or even better, walk over to them and talk to them face to face.
5. Ask the checkout chick at the supermarket how her day is, and if it’s been busy, or if she has much longer of her shift to go. Also do this with receptionists. And waiters.
6. Complement a stranger.
7. Try a new activity or class. Laneway Learning has great classes. And they’re not expensive.
8. Group comfort challenge – when you’re out at dinner or lunch, get everyone to stack their phones in the middle of the table. The person who touches their phone first pays.
9. Go to meetup.com, find a meetup that looks active and interests you, and GO. Level 1 is go with a friend, Level 2 is go by yourself.
10. Sign up for a physical challenge – like a fun run, Tough Mudder, a mini triathlon, maybe your gym is running a health challenge. Sign up with a friend to make it easier.
11. YELL in public (good yelling, not abusive yelling of course). Yell something joyful, so if you’re with a friend or your partner, yell something nice to them, like “I love you!!” or “Let’s get food!” Make sure the environment is appropriate of course, so preferably don’t do it in a library or at a funeral or in the elevator.
12. When you receive a phone call from someone you don’t want to hear from, like your phone company or your dentist or your evil stepmother, be over the top friendly. You’ll feel better for it (as will they).
13. Tell your crush you like them. Go for a walk with them, or call them up, or just get them on their own, and say “Hey, this may seem random and weird, but I just want to let you know that I have a mega crush on you.” Hopefully they will be very flattered! Be prepared they might say “Thank you, but I don’t feel the same way”. Just go “Ok, just wanted you to know, that’s all.”
14. Sit at the front at a talk or lecture or presentation
15. When you’re at that talk or presentation – ask a question. Doesn’t matter what it is. It’s good speaking practice!
16. Get your friends together and go out on the town – in fancy dress. Pick a theme, and rock out!
17. Go to a Toastmasters meeting.
18. Go to a fancy restaurant by yourself. To make it scarier, go on a Friday or Saturday night. And leave your phone at home.
19. Start a blog. If you don’t know how, ask someone who has done it, or check out the online tutorials. You can post sketches, photos, musings, poetry, or whatever you want to rant about. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t even have to be for public viewing – the important part is that you DID IT. I started my personal blog ChristinaCanters.com in May 2013, and it’s since given me the confidence to start podcasting, which then gave me confidence to make videos. See? Small steps!
And once you’ve started that blog…
20. Ask a stranger for help with your blog post. As I was writing this, I got stuck for ideas, so I turned to the guy next to me in the cafe and said “Excuse me, I’m writing a blog post about doing scary things to get outside your comfort zone…any suggestions?”
He replied: “Jumping out of a plane.”
Go figure. The next scariest thing, he said, would be quitting your job and starting a startup, which he did a few years ago. Love it! And we ended up having a great chat! So big thanks to Alex Houlston, one of the founders of Energy For The People, for giving me #21:
21. Quit your job and start a startup.
Yes, it is slightly more involved than some of the other suggestions I’ve given you, but hey, at least it’s not as scary as jumping out of a plane.
How will YOU challenge yourself?
Yep, I want to know. Comment below, or tweet me @cjcanters and let me know if you’re going to take on any of these challenges – or maybe you’re setting yourself your own challenge? Or maybe you have a challenge suggestion for me? Whatever it is, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Wanna see my skydive video?
Thanks to Skydive the Beach and Beyond for making this video for me!