Sunday, May 22, 2011

Getting out of Your Comfort Zone

Now all my friends will probably look at me crazy for saying this, but I consider myself an inherently shy person. I used to be way worse to the point where even in groups with people I knew, I couldn't bring myself to talk. That's why everyone always thought I was angry in high school. Nope. I was just too shy to talk with you.

Luckily I've turned into my grandmother and am now able to just start random conversations on the street. I've met some very interesting people that way. It still takes a lot of effort to really just start mingling with people I don't know but I think I'm really learning how to balance my friendliness with my shyness.

Now last night was a big challenge for me. I recently became an elite Yelper and as such am able to go to exclusive events, if I'm lucky enough to get on the list. Luck was my lady last night and I was able to attend an event that went above and beyond my expectations.

As a new Yelper I actually don't know many other Yelpers and before last night I knew no Elite Yelpers. The catch with this event was that you couldn't bring a guest as most other Yelp events allow you to. So I was going on my own to an event where I knew no one, and I'm shy. Talk about a challenge. But I debated and debated and finally decided it would be a huge waste if I didn't just go out on a limb and do it.

When I'm with people I know I'm comfortable and very outgoing. I have stories to tell and jokes to make. But on my own it takes a lot of effort (and some liquor) to loosen up. But lady luck stayed with me through the night. As soon as I got there I met a fantastic fellow new Yelper who also didn't know anyone else at the party. We hit it off right away and decided to team up to mingle. It worked. We went around talking, myself targeting those who stood alone, and her taking that extra step to introduce us to groups. And 99% of the time the people where extremely welcoming and gave us both a confidence boost. It also helped that there was free wine and beer on hand (I still tipped of course). I even broke away at times and mingled with people on my own.

The best part of the night was at the end. After we had really gotten the party going and ended the night dancing to fantastic party music, the veteran elite congregated trying to figure out what to do next. And when one of them asked me what I was doing next, I felt that tingle of excitement that comes when people do something so unexpected but so welcome. I unfortunately had to go home, but just being asked really iced the already delicious cake. It was definitely a 6/5 star evening.

But the most important thing for me is that I got out of my comfort zone and did something that I wasn't entirely confident about and luckily everything went extremely well. I am definitely motivated to attend other such events now, even if I don't know any or many people there. It may be helped by a bit of liquid courage, but I'm going to jump out of my comfort zone and hopefully keep meeting such fantastic people and having a great time.

Well there you have it. Do you have any anecdotes about times you stepped out of your comfort zone?

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