(A blog about taking professional risks and stepping out of your comfort zone)

What does it really mean to step out of your comfort zone?

The answer is a whole host of thoughts, feelings, and reservations that can culminate in, “What if I try, only to get rejected?” The fear of rejection and failure are two potent barriers to stepping outside of our comfort zones. According to Psychology Today [1] “being human, we long to be accepted and wanted.” This is true in both professional and personal spheres of life. As such, it takes a little bravery to try for something we have never done before. In this blog, we’re going to take you on a journey from waiting and wondering to “I DID IT!”

Let’s look at the positive steps we can all take, with the help of our amazing buddies! 

Step One – Face Your Fears

When it comes to online teaching, you can’t afford to be camera shy, so it may be surprising to learn that some of our best teachers have experienced this confidence barrier. As Mercedes says – 

There was a time when I refused to take selfies or answer video calls. Then I decided to face my irrational phobia and apply for online teaching. It took me a while to relax in front of the students because it was a completely new experience for me. I had to learn to open up in front of the camera but being able to learn and grow together with the Breadies was very rewarding.”

Marina adds to this sentiment –

“I have loved online teaching from the moment I started but I’ve always dreaded doing recordings and watching my own recordings was a painful experience for me. However, when IQBar presented the opportunity to audition for recordings, I decided to take the bull by the horns and do it!”

So, you’ve found an opportunity that appeals to (and scares the life out of) you… what next?

Step Two – Plan and Prepare

Trying anything new involves a little planning and it helps to research the achievements of others to ready yourself for that new challenge. There are several ways you could do this – the main point is that at IQBar, we have a rich variety of quality teaching experience to draw from. Not to mention that the team is a rather helpful bunch when it comes to giving pointers and advice (read: try and stop them!)

Step Three – Give it Your Best Shot!

So, you’ve decided to go for that new opportunity. You’ve researched and rehearsed. You’ve quashed your self-doubt and made an audition tape despite the shaky voice and cold sweats. 

For this achievement alone, everyone should pat themselves on the back because, as we have said, it takes bravery to step outside your comfort zone. But trying once is only the beginning! 

Marina sums it up well when she says – 

“The audition experience was awful, I kept stumbling over the presentation, my mind went blank, and this was after preparing thoroughly and carefully. Eventually, I managed to complete a recording. I knew that is wasn’t up to standard, but I had something to prove to myself, so I submitted it. When the announcements for the positions were made, it was no surprise that I wasn’t selected.”

Not being selected can be hard, but this is how Marina handled the situation:

I decided to make a last-ditch attempt and booked a drop in with TQ to see if they could help me.”

And this leads us on to Step Four – If at First, You Don’t Succeed….

Get feedback and seek advice from those more experienced, then try again. 

Stepping out of your comfort zone can also be a process of one opportunity leading to another. For Jamie, it was an IQBar talent contest that helped her with “that nagging feeling of not being good enough”. She found that overcoming the first hurdle gave her the confidence to audition and succeed in being chosen for, the European Countries Course.

One day, I decided I wanted to do one thing every day that scared me and so I tried my hand at the IQ Bar talent competition. It really helped build my confidence and made me step out of my comfort zone. I felt great and it gave me an extra boost to try out for the culture opportunity. By stepping out of my comfort zone, I found my voice, discovered more about our world, and learned a new skill.

The Buddies who helped to contribute to this blog are now working on projects they successfully auditioned for. This proves that, if you possess the willingness to try, seek advice and feedback and never give up, eventually, the right opportunity will come round. And the more we continue to grow, the more opportunities there will be! So be sure to look out for updates and take a chance!

*Our Buddies would like to thank TQ for their valuable support in the process of stepping out of their comfort zones.