sarah archer career coach at BBC radio 5 studios

Why stepping out of my comfort zone got me noticed!

Comfort zones are nice and cosy places, and I’m as guilty as anyone for being quite happy staying in one. Although am I? For a while I had been feeling that I needed a bit of a challenge and that maybe I needed to conquer some fears to spice things up a bit!

Then I got the call! A lovely BBC journalist rang and asked if I would like to be on national radio. My immediate feeling was to run and hide – did I really want to expose myself, stick my head over the parapet and potentially get rotten tomatoes thrown at me!

What was I scared of?

Fears are tricky things aren’t they? I have a few – spiders, heights and failure. I have tried to deal with the first two to varying degrees of success – I did once let a tarantula crawl over my hand and last year I did a zip wire across a quarry. But the third is more complex, and let’s face it shared by many.

Mostly I channel that fear to drive me forward, to work hard and be successful but when it’s combined with being under the spotlight I wobble. I have been asked to be on the radio before  and have to admit always found an excuse not to do it.

This time was different though. I knew if I didn’t say ‘yes’ I would be letting myself down and when the journalist said did I know anyone else who could do it if I couldn’t, I suddenly realised I didn’t want anyone else to do it I wanted to have a go. And in that moment I said yes I would appear as a career expert alongside a comedian on a prime time daily show for BBC radio 5 live.

How do you face your fear?

Obviously saying yes was the easy part – facing your fear is much harder. What works for you? I decided to us a couple of techniques which I know have worked for me in the past.

  • Develop a positive mindset – I decided to develop a positive rather than fearful mindset. I reminded myself of all the challenging things I’d done before and every time I felt nervous I channeled that anxiety into excitement. I refused to let myself imagine what could go wrong.
  • Be at your best – I recognise what helps me to perform at my best – being prepared, having notes and water, and feeling supported so I made time to work out what I wanted to say, made some bullet point notes, stayed hydrated and received lots of encouragement and support from family.

For other ideas on facing your fears read ‘How to stop sabotaging your career‘.

What I learnt

Guess what? It actually went really really well and I enjoyed myself! Plus for my business it really got me noticed!

Here’s what I learnt:

  • Personal growth is exciting and energising, and I need to do more of it!
  • Being brave isn’t just about big decisions but small ones too
  • Sticking your head over the parapet allows you get a different perspective on things
  • Life is too wonderful to stay stuck in a comfort zone

I’m certainly going to be doing more of the above – how about you? What comfort zone are you going to get out of?

And if you want to tune to see how I did you can listen here (just scroll through to 2hrs 44mins).

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