5 Benefits to Saying YES to New Opportunities, Even When You’re Afraid!
Recently, I moved out of my comfort zone once again, and it felt amazing.
I had the privilege of speaking at the annual SCGMIS Leadership Summit in Charleston, SC. My agreement to speak at this event was fueled by the success I’d experienced speaking at three other events in 2015 which had 100 people or more in attendance.
However, after agreeing to speak at this event, I began to experience a level of self-doubt that I hadn’t experienced when I agreed to the other three events last year.
At first, I didn’t know what to make of it. I am passionate about leadership, and my role as a developer of leaders. So, why the self-doubt?
I tuned into the story that I was telling myself about the attendees at the SCGMIS Leadership Summit and realized that I had started to assume that because they were “government folks” and “information systems” folks, I wouldn’t have anything in common with them. Therefore, my intention to inspire, educate and empower leaders with my presentation: The 4 C’s to Brave Leadership would be a bust.
I pondered on the story that I was telling myself for about a week before connecting to past experiences where I’d spoken, albeit smaller groups, in front of people that worked in diverse industries.
Then, I began to focus on the success I’d had in 2015 speaking to several groups of 100+ people, all of which were in front of people from diverse backgrounds. I considered the small group mentoring that I’ve been conducting and how I am able to connect and engage attendees from all walks of life. And that’s when I “flipped my script” and started to tell myself, “I can do this!”
Each time I worked on the power point presentation for this event, I reminded myself that my work to develop brave leaders is a way for me to serve in a role that I’m passionate about and allows me to meet new and interesting people. This work fuels my passion and lights up my soul. So I feel compelled to do it, even when I’m uncertain of the response I may receive from others.
Because of the interactive nature of this presentation, I lost sight of the time at the end and wasn’t able to share some details about my work as planned. However, this small mishap in an otherwise great experience provides me with insight on how I need to tweak the presentation as I present it to other organizations and groups. Overall, I received positive responses from the event organizers and many of the attendees, several of whom have connected with me on social media.
Whenever we step out of our comfort zone, everything might not go as plan, but, if we perceive these missteps as opportunities to continue to learn and grow ,we will eventually master the new skills necessary to deliver a higher level of excellence in what we do. Aim for progress, not perfection when you're first starting a new adventure.
While checking out of the hotel, one of the sponsors informed me that the group had continued to discuss several points in my presentation after I'd left. I drove back to Columbia, SC with a smile on my face and a song in my heart, thanking God for his grace and this gift and passion for encouraging the minds and hearts of people and delivering actionable content relevant to creating positive change in their lives and work as leaders.
Each of us can tap into a greater measure of the seeds of greatness within us when we change the story we tell ourselves about our past, present, and future experiences AND say YES to new opportunities, even when we’re afraid.
5 Benefits to Saying YES to New Opportunities, Even When You’re Afraid
1. You Become Mindful. When we acknowledge our emotions of fear and uncertainty about a new experience, we become mindful of how these emotions often create heighten anxiety and unnecessary worry. I’ve found that just by simply taking the time to write about why I may be experiencing any fear and uncertainty about a new experience allows me to get it out of my head and look at it from a more logical perspective vs an emotional perspective. One of the most life changing books I’ve read is by Dale Carnegie entitled, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. In this book, Carnegie suggests that we ask ourselves, “What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.” When we feel empowered to handle the worst (which many studies have proven, rarely happens) we begin to relax which allows our creative mind to spark ideas about the new experience. I truly believe that when we are brave enough to act upon our inspired ideas, we tap into a greater measure of our “You-ness” and thus we activate more of our authentic power.
2. You Connect to Your Why. The power of a compelling “why” should not be underestimated. When you possess a compelling “why” about any action that you are taking or considering to take, it changes your game. Connecting to the intention you’ve established for the reasons why you do what you do engages the full force of your soul. A soul on fire won’t be denied its desire. A soul on fire understands the importance of being comfortable with temporary periods of discomfort for the sake of possessing something it wants so badly that fear and uncertainty can’t stop its pursuit.
3. You Remember Past Brave Moments. As a result of becoming mindful of any fear and uncertainty you’re experiencing related to a new endeavor and connecting to your compelling “why”, hopefully, you’ll begin to connect the dots in your life of all the times that you’ve embraced something new and succeeded. And this my friend is how we develop self-efficacy. By recognizing your ability to succeed in past situations in which you experienced some manner of fear and uncertainty, you are able to reframe your self-talk in such a way that it empowers you to trust your abilities to achieve the same with new adventures.
4. You Expand Your Comfort Zone. Each time you tiptoe beyond your comfort zone, you expand your capacity to handle diverse situations which increase your self-esteem and confidence. It doesn’t require that you handle each situation perfectly. It only requires bravery. Now that you’ve reminded yourself of past brave moments, you know that you can be brave. So, there should be no doubt in your mind that you can be brave. The question you’re facing now is, “Will I be brave and embrace this new opportunity with passion and an intention of serving others with my gifts, knowledge and experience?” Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivate Us writes, “If you’re too comfortable, you’re not productive. And if you’re too uncomfortable, you’re not productive. Like Goldilocks, we can’t be too hot or too cold.”
5. You Cultivate a Curious Mind. Your reaction to stress is different from mine. Where many people fear public speaking, I’ve loved being on stage since I was a kid. This doesn’t mean that I don’t experience some anxiety towards my speaking gigs. I’m learning to use this energy in a positive manner to “bring it” when I speak so that audiences are inspired, educated and empowered as a result of me showing up in my authentic power. I’m finding my sweet spot as a result of my curiosity toward serving more people. I believe that when we begin to be curious about new ways in which we can grow, learn and expand our capacity for our lives to be one in which we and the people we love are proud of, the path that allows us to find that “not too hot or too cold” sweet spot begins to emerge. Curiosity helps diminish our fear, builds our confidence and allows us to maintain a beginner’s mind. We don’t know what we don’t know. The quest to becoming who we are divinely designed to become require us to find our unique sweet spot and then maximize it to the fullest.
Check out this video by Shonda Rhimes on the Power of Saying Yes!
As humans, we live much of our lives in our comfort zone. This is neither good nor bad. It is what it is. Judith M. Bardwick writes, “The comfort zone is a behavioral state with which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.” If we didn’t operate in this anxiety-neutral position, many of us would find ourselves bouncing off the walls as a result of constantly being in a state of heightened anxiety. This wouldn’t make us or the people around us happy. Trust me.
And, yet, our capacity to learn, grow and expand requires us to step beyond our comfort zone and take on new adventures that lead us down unknown paths for us to realize the untapped potential within us.
It is important for us to be honest about our feelings of fear and uncertainty. We are human beings, not machines. Our emotions are directly connected to our sense of well-being. Acknowledging and respecting our feelings doesn't make us weak. This practice helps us develop emotional intelligence skills, which are key to creating sustainable success. The practice of mindfulness increases our ability to be fully present, wherever we are. Remembering our past brave moments allow us to tap into our intrinsic motivation and fuel future moments when we choose the brave way. As a result of our curiosity, we step out of our comfort zone and begin to play in new sandboxes. We begin to embrace this wonderful process of discovering a more powerful version of our best self.
What's Coming Next from Jackie Capers-Brown:
I declared last year that 2016 would be the year that I challenge myself to think bigger, feel bolder and act braver. In the next two months, I will present LIVE my first two online programs, The Art of Breakthrough Success Master Class and The Brave Way Leadership Course. I will begin to conduct monthly fee-based POWER UP! MentorMe Sessions on topics related to personal development, career and leadership success. Members of my online community will automatically receive a discount price for my online programs. I am optimistic and curious about how this path will enable me to embrace life with a braver heart and touch the lives of people in a bigger way.
I would love to hear from you about any insights and wisdom you've gained from saying YES to a new opportunity when you felt afraid? Share your comments on LinkedIn.
About the Author
Jackie Capers-Brown is the CEO of Braveheart Training Group, creator, The Breakthrough Success System™, The Art of Breakthrough Success Master Class, The Art of Breakthrough Success Experience™ and founder, Brave Life Project and The Brave Way Leadership Course™. She teaches the principles of the art of breakthrough success in her latest book, Get Unstuck Now: Changing Your Story Unleashes Your Power to Move On and Be Happy.
If you’re interested in having Jackie present “The 4C’s to Brave Leadership Seminar” to your group or organization, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join her community of brave souls that are inspired to learn, grow and expand their capacity to think bigger, feel bolder and act braver at www. jackiecapersbrownblog.com.