Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone
In fitness, we understand this concept. It would be best if you pushed past your comfort zone to get the benefits of the training. Whether it be weight training, cardio, endurance or flexibility, it is about how much more you can do today to see an improvement. For some people, this is easier than it is for others, ourselves within the industry included. For some, that level of discomfort is gratifying and carries a sense of empowerment. Yep, we understand that! But… how about when it applies to your career? How often do you take a risk that makes you nervous, uncomfortable or fearful? Now, this is an entirely different topic. Or is it?
Stepping Up To The Challenge
Several years ago, I gave my first keynote speech at the AUSTSWIM conference in New Zealand. It was something that I had desired for a long time, having attended many keynotes at conferences and watched countless TED talks. I always admired people who could get up and present with passion and emotion and get the point across so clearly that it continued to resonate with me long after the presentation. It consistently wowed me, just like when I went to aerobics (before I became an instructor) and when I attended workshops (before I became a presenter). I have always fantasized about one day doing my keynote. So when I was asked to do the conference in NZ, I initially jumped with excitement, and then the realisation of the task ahead freaked me out. Having enjoyed so many brilliant keynotes, I now needed to step up to the task of how I was going to accomplish something that I was genuinely proud of.
Preparation Is Key
The preparation started months in advance, shortly after accepting the opportunity, but coming up with the concept required consultation. I was in NZ for workshops, and I turned to two trusted friends to assist me with what I would talk about. You see, doing a presentation on pelvic floor or Gymstick is not as tricky, as you are imparting knowledge and hopefully engaging effectively. Also, once people get moving, the workshop presentation gets easier because people like moving and learn through doing that. However, a keynote is different – well, in my mind, it was. The audience is sitting down watching your every move, and it is not education that you are trying to impart inspiration. And how do you do that: inspire? Such an intangible concept.
Stepping Up To The Challenge
This opportunity pushed me, in a way, more challenging than anything else I’ve done in a long time. I wanted it to go well. Finding the right topic was the first hurdle. Something personal, yet something that everyone could identify with. Then it was how to practice. I needed some help and found it in a perfect book – the official guide to TED talks by Chris Anderson. There, I realised that I needed to type the whole thing out and memorize it. Holy Cow, Batman! 45 minutes of learning! I had a newfound respect for actors and the speakers at the TED talks. It reminded me of my new instructors in the group exercise course and how they found it challenging to memorise the learning curves, which were so evident to me.
Now I was in the hot seat. I must have typed it out and edited it at least 25 times and then rehearsed it every walk with my dog Russell, every time I was in the car for over 30 minutes, and every shower. While I was getting ready every morning – anytime and anywhere, I was practising. AHHHHRRRRR, it was the only thing on my mind. Should I pause here? I use that slide. Should I emphasize that point? Oh my goodness, it was incessant.
So how did it go? The best it could be for my first time. There are things that I would like to improve, and I look forward to having more opportunities, but it was an exciting experience to observe myself. It challenged me in ways that I have not experienced before, and now I have developed new systems to present my other workshops that will improve everything overall.
Take An Opportunity That Is Offered
If all you endeavour is to ‘challenge’ yourself in ways you are familiar with; you don’t grow as much as you think you will. It is like climbing a ladder with the rungs close together. The real challenge that is truly exhilarating is when you leap up to that rung that is just a little out of your reach, and you get there!
Attending conferences can help you push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn something new. Be inspired by new choreography, a different genre of music or utilising a piece of equipment in a new and exciting way. If you have the tools and the knowledge, you can go away with the confidence of knowing that you will be able to deliver this material to the best of your ability.
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