Beyond The Comfort Zone

Beyond The Comfort Zone

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20 years ago, when I was still at school in St Peter Port, Guernsey, I stood on stage at St James’ Concert and Assembly Hall to do the bible reading for morning assembly. It was awful! I was so paralysed with fear that I mumbled through the words as fast as I could. As I recall, my reading was so bad that the Principal of the school had to read it out all over again. In more than 1000 other readings I had witnessed at school, I don’t think anyone had performed so badly.

I still hate public speaking more than anything, yet tomorrow I will stand on that very same stage to do something crazy. To challenge a community by asking an audacious question: “Can we come together to help create the best place to live on earth?”

In our everyday lives, we often avoid stepping out of our comfort zones in a group context, because we fear being kicked out of the group. Fortunately, this is a pretty common phenomenon, linked to our evolution as human beings – when being accepted within a group was a matter of survival. And our brains are still wired for that – protecting us from that doomsday scenario. It doesn’t exist any more in reality, but this survival instinct is still within all of us.

As of today, the world is the safest it has ever been, and despite the negative news bias, in reality it gets safer every day. Fortunately, we live in a time when we can choose to follow our hearts, despite what our brains might be telling us.

To create anything new in the world, we need to learn to be vulnerable and be open to taking risks.

To challenge the status quo, you have to be prepared to be rejected by those around you.

Where the comfort zone ends and the danger zone begins, there is an area full of possibilities. Our brains may not always recognise it, but the further beyond our comfort zone we go, the more we can create opportunities to do incredible things. And not just opportunities for ourselves, but also resultant opportunities for the world around us.

Taking a social risk is no longer a life and death matter, although it can feel like that. I know it would be easy to take a step back and allow someone else to speak for me. It would be easy to say, ‘I can’t do it,’ and never try again. But I believe in what I am talking about and what we are doing, and for that reason, it is worth it.

Although it will feel like hell, I am going to get up on that stage and deliver the best performance that I can. My brain will undoubtedly be telling me that I am going to die, but my heart wants to do this more than anything else. These days I am actually more afraid of the long term regret of staying silent, than the dangers of speaking my mind in public.

Much as I felt when I first started blogging. I just need to get used to it. It took 50 posts for me to feel comfortable doing that, and no doubt it could take 50 attempts for me to get really comfortable standing in front of large numbers of people.

Step by step, I will get there. The real question, though, is: will you?

How will you consistently move beyond your comfort zone, to be the change you want to see in this world?

How will you learn to move beyond what your primitive mind is telling you, in order to follow your heart?

Your insights, experiences and feedback are welcome in the comments section below.


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  1. Hi Marc. You can do it! People listen to conviction speakers. It is the power of the conviction truly held that stamps every word with glue so that it sticks in your listener’s minds. I have a PhD in public speaking (homiletics) but it all boils down to this – people will hear you when they feel your passion. They will listen to you when you speak about the world they know. Guys like Michael McIntyre with his iconic ‘man drawer’ understand this. Tell it like it is and you’ll knock ’em dead! And – enjoy the journey. Your ideas may may be heading somewhere but there’s no need to wait until you get there before you have a good time! And the issue of coming together to make our community the best place to live on earth must surely be worth talking about. So, go for it!

  2. Marc, you’ve spurred me on to do something I’ve been putting off for ages for fear going out of leaving the old comfort zone… what the worst that could happen ; )

    Good luck for tomorrow

  3. Eduardo L says

    Good Luck tomorrow Marc! I’m sure you will be amazing, and everyone will thank you for stepping out of your own comfort zone to help. Go get em!

  4. Marc! So interesting to read about your fear of public speaking. I share that same fear but surprised to read you do. : ) You mentioned something above that will get you through this “my heart wants to do this more than anything else.” One thing I’ve started doing to help ease my own internal strife before public speaking is literally stepping outside, taking a few deep breaths and looking up at the sky. That visual grounds me and helps me to think that we are all connected in this world, we are all trying to do the best we can and if I am speaking from the heart, where my intentions and motivations are pure…what could go wrong and what could be so bad? Our mutual friend Jonathan suggests reminding ourselves that we are coming from a place of serving others. You will do great tomorrow but I’ll wish you luck anyways. : )

  5. Hi Marc
    Looking forward to hearing you speak, you will be great I am sure. I totally understand that fear, public speaking is my biggest fear too, but it can be managed – what fun is life without a bit of fear huh?! :). Enjoy it as much as you can!

  6. Such an exciting challenge and can not wait to hear all about the community that rises up to meet it on the island!

  7. Stuart Young says

    Good luck Marc. I dreaded and hated that school reading too and have done my best to avoid large scale public speaking ever since. Strangely I’ve coped fine with teaching though! I really hope that what you’re doing goes some way towards making Guernsey the place that it could, and most importantly should be for the future. To me there have seemed to be so many missed or dismissed opportunities for positive and sustainable development and with the right people pushing forward it can only be a good thing.

  8. Hi Marc – as per Franklin D. Roosevelt, there is nothing to fear but fear itself… take a deep breath… and remind yourself of first principles… you’ve been talking well, intelligently… and with passion for many years… this really is nothing new… take your time… and enjoy it, there’s really nothing else to it 🙂


  9. Best of luck Marc, not that you need it. You’ll do brilliantly.

  10. I’m looking forward to something incredible. None of that middle class organic recycled nonsense. See you there!

  11. You are God-sent, Marc! 😛
    Reading this post at a time where I’m making a decision whether to accept a role that I have so little experience in or to stay at the job I’m currently just cruising along with. Will make that leap of faith then!

  12. mamokhethi says

    Good luck Marc, you are going to do it just take a deep breath.

  13. Lisa Consiglio Ryan says

    I’m a bit sorry to have a chuckle at your bible reading…I swear the same thing happened to me in middle school! Public speaking scares me but as you say, “your heart wants to do this.” Beautiful. I’m so proud of you and what you are creating. I’m so excited to find out how everything goes. Good luck, my dear friend. Sending love and “you will effin be amazing” vibes.
    PS. I will keep moving forward with asking for help. I don’t typically do that, possibly the insecurity of being told no, but “my heart wants to do this” so I can keep going to serve others.

  14. Thanks everyone for your support. It went so well!

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