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I was scrolling through Facebook, as I usually do, and I came across this meme by Scream Poems. I stopped, and read it, and thought “gee, this looks familiar” and thought I must have read it before. I couldn’t move past it, and realized that it was me. Some stranger had put together exactly how I felt growing up.
I want to help you understand, I’m 36, 5’3″, and I carry 220lbs very well, and I’m also a ginger with the pale white skin. Growing up, I felt that I was average, that there was nothing any more special than anyone else. I had a bit of whit, but then so did my friends. I had a quirky sense of fashion, but let’s be real, it was the late 80’s and early 90’s and there are some things about fashion then that should NEVER be repeated. I was all too happy when the grunge scene came out. Over sized ripped jeans, tank tops and lumber jack shirts. Ahhh home at last! The best part is that look took over almost everything. My friends who listened to C&C Music Factory where wearing the same thing as those who listened to Nirvana. It was a win-win for me. I didn’t stand out. I was nothing special.
I was happy to be “nothing special”. I didn’t want to be different, and I, unlike many in school, fit it. I got along with everyone, and could hang out with the “in crowd” and the nerds at the same break time, and be comfortable, but mostly because I flew under the radar. In my opinion at the time, it was the best place to be.
Let’s fast forward a few years. I’m sitting snug in my 10’x10′ comfort zone, watching my life go by, and pretty happy with how things are turning out. I’m a mom, I finished high school, I’m married, and I have a career (in that order too). I have the “perfect life”. I was living in my dream world. In 2007, my “dream world” went into fast forward, and in 2008, I delivered a stillborn daughter,then in 2010 my husband passed away from complications of diabetes. All of a sudden, my dream world was shattered, and I was left to pick up the pieces of a broken comfort zone.
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. ~Brian Tracy”
The really cool thing about lobsters, and all exoskeleton creatures, is that they have to be uncomfortable in order to grow. They grow into their shells, and then when they have grown to the point of being uncomfortable, they shed that shell, and go into hiding to grow a new one. And this was me! I was now very uncomfortable. My entire life was gone, and I was in unfamiliar territory. I had no comfort zone left.
Fast forward to a couple years ago, I have a breakdown at work, and am no longer able to perform the duties required of me, and I go on leave from work. I had been involved with a network marketing company for a couple years at this point, and I had made it work part time, and now needed to switch gears. I had to move out of what was left of my comfort zone, and venture into new territory; networking with strangers. It was one of the most terrifying, nerve wracking, anxiety inducing, and exhilarating thing I had ever done. This introvert had to go and mingle with strangers.
The benefits I have gained from networking, far surpass what I could ever have imagined it would. I have gone from clinging on to one or two people, to doing a 5 minute presentation with a couple weeks notice, to giving one on 15 minutes notice, to doing one on the fly, to leading a group while our facilitator was away.
My advice to anyone just getting into the life of entrepreneurship, I encourage you to explore networking groups, find one that encourages you to grow into the best person you can be.