Sujata, the Nepali girl I mentor says "here’s a strange yet interesting phenomenon with us, human: we love routines. When I was in primary school, my parents wanted me to change school. But I refused because of newness. I believed that I could not make new friends. The idea of a new school was a nightmare. I thought that new teachers would not be as good to me as the old ones.
Eventually after 4 years of convincing, I had to enrol in a new school. And the nightmare came true. I had to face the fear of the new and the unknown. It was very hard for me to cope with. Making friends with new people, adjusting to a new city and new environment, was all so difficult. Because of that newness and inability to adapt, I became a bookworm. There was also basketball and other sports unlike in my old school… but I never really played any of them because I was concerned about what other would think. If I made a mistake, they would think I’m a loser, I would be a laughing stock and people would criticise me. I yearned for things but fear obstructed my way.
It was always inside me that I could be a lot better than that and I needed to do something about my fears of the unknown and of what I was not sure about. After 3 years of hiding myself, I decided to apply for a Leadership Program with an organization called Women LEAD. Again, it was a whole new thing… but this time, it was my own decision. I was the only applicant from my college which made it uncomfortable. After getting selected, the entire new journey was scary again.
I was one of 25 young college girls but the rest of them had 3-5 college-mates while I was alone from my school. Again the same pattern started: new people, new place, new topics I didn’t know anything about. It was again difficult for me to cope with these changes. But this time, I took a step ahead and tried to strike conversations with one small group. Though it took a while to take that step, it was worth it because I was slowly overcoming my weaknesses. With amazing training sessions in Women LEAD, I finally learned more about myself and society. I developed skills like public speaking, and I learned about different communication types and personality types.
During the year with Women LEAD, I went to many events alone. Now it is not as scary as it used to be. Now I do not have problems breaking the ice with new people. It does not mean I do not feel odd but I gather enough courage to overcome my social anxieties. As a result, I often meet new people and ask them questions I would have not dared asking before. I no longer fear being the laughing stock because I have learned to laugh with them. I do not fear of making mistakes because I know now that it is a way to learn and improve.
Just the thought of doing something “new” used to make me nervous. Since I have learned these lessons, I no longer hide out. I stand ahead. I lead. I fail. I succeed. Just because I have now learned that it is OK to feel nervous and fear of newness but it is NOT OK to stand back saying I cannot do that."
If you love DOING the same thing over and over again, trying something new is a great way to step out of your comfort zone.
- What are all the things that make you feel uncomfortable? (rank them from most uncomfortable to least)
- Are you willing to give yourself the permission to overcome these things you're uncomfortable about?
- If YES: start from the top of your list, and everyday, take ONE action that makes you uncomfortable. Write down your experience of discomfort, as well as the results you got from taking that action.
- If NO: what is stopping you from wanting to overcome these discomforts?