Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

galit breen
Image via Galit Breen

“I feel like I pushed you into it?” She says, not unkindly, from across the table. Her hair swiped perfectly behind one ear, her elbows braced on the table. She means business.

“Too late to change anything now,” Our friend steps in, noting my pause, my lack of response. “Besides, you’ll be great.” She nods as she says this, more sure than I feel.

And it was. Too late, that is.

We were hours away from our debut Listen to Your Mother Show, a national series of live readings where stories of motherhood are shared on local stages.

I applied to co-produce our show with three lovely, inspiring women who quickly became the other side of every coin I flipped. Late night texts and Google hangouts and endless email threads are what we shared, a beautiful show of the heart is what we created.

What I never (not ever) imagined, was actually getting on stage.

Public speaking has never been a true love of mine. I didn’t speak on my wedding day or baby showers, all of which were much smaller crowds than the 500 that graced our show.

But as a team we thought it would be nice to show our faces, shine a light on the work we’d done.

And on one hand, I wanted to do just this – shine with my work and my friends.

And on the other hand, the thought of this terrified me, and days before the show I had decided to not do it.

That evening our family gathered around our kitchen counter for snacks – apple slices and almonds, peanut butter sandwiches and milk, a weekday after sports second dinner that I refuse to feel guilty about.

Closing the dishwasher with one hand and passing extra sandwiches with the other, I told my husband, I don’t want to. And with the snap of the dishwasher door, my point was made.

{ MORE: Hey Mama, You Need to Take Care of You Like You Take Care of Your Kids }

“I think you should,” he started to say just as my oldest, Kayli, was describing how hard a dance move was. How she would do it for just one second, there wasn’t a need to learn any more than that.

“You can do hard things,” I breathed to my girl. A mantra I recently learned and loved.

“So can you.” Jason said to me, his eyes meeting mine.

And it’s true. We can do hard things. They scare us and push us and make our hearts skip a beat – or two – but that stretch just outside of our comfort zones is exactly where our very best lies.

So bookended by my want to show my girl that she — that we — can do hard things and the willingness to see that my husband and my friends believe in me, I’m proud to say that I went on that stage and spoke — for exactly one minute and twenty-two seconds.

People laughed and clapped and when I walked off of that stage, it was toward my friends’ smiles and words, “You were welcoming and brilliant. No surprises.”

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We all need friends – and partners — that push us into the light as needed. And we also need to be willing to step into the fall and bask in our own shine.

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone recently or do you plan to do so in the near future? 

What do you think?

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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21 comments

  1. mommy nhoj says:

    Public speaking is never my forte too. If I can get away with it, I will certainly do. But sometimes, I was left with no choice but do it. The fear is still there but the level of confidence is getting better. But still, I speak so fast just to end the piece! I once cracked a joke and indeed it broke the ice. I got the attention of my audience and went good after all. I still don’t love doing it!

    As for you, clap, clap, clap! And thanks for inspiring many of us who fear standing and speaking before the crowd!

  2. Galit Breen says:

    Thank you so much for your note, Molly! I feel the exact same way! All of this is amazing and powerful, indeed!

    (*And I so cried, too! :))

  3. Molly says:

    So good, Galit. We just finished our show in Kansas City on Sunday and it was AMAZING. I just wrote my recap and it made me cry. It was so powerful.

  4. Galit Breen says:

    Hi Christine!

    Thanks so much for the note and for sharing your series! It sounds pure amazing — go you!

  5. Christine says:

    Congrats on a job well done! I’m actually doing a monthly series on my blog that is "Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone." You should check it out…http://christineorgan.com/2013/03/07/the-time-has-come-to-step-out/

  6. Galit Breen says:

    Oh Iza, thank you for your note – so very much! How encouraging to hear that even you had nerves before reading your wonderful, beloved words!

    And yes, I agree completely — through all of this I learned to trust the in person audience, just like I had to learn to trust readers!

    Life lesson, yes?

    Thank you again for the words and the note — I so appreciate both!

  7. Galit Breen says:

    Thank you, you, so very much.

    This one is so very important to me because all of the reasons that you mentioned. But you already knew that. #SameHeart

    xo

  8. Galit Breen says:

    Thank you so much for your note here, Arnebya! I’m glad I pushed myself, too and I’m beyond awed by you, and yours.

    (Good luck with your job search! Thinking good thoughts from here!)

  9. Galit Breen says:

    Oh Laura, yes – that! When I asked for public speaking advice so many people said to remember that the audience wants you to do well. That was so eye opening for me and truly helped me change how I looked at it!

    Thank you for your note and for getting it, and as always, for your kindness! I so appreciate all of these!

  10. Galit Breen says:

    Oh, I bet! And such an emotional speech to make, too! I love that that’s the one you made!

    Thank you so much for the note, and for the InItTogetherness! I so appreciate both!

  11. Galit Breen says:

    Thank you for that, so very much!

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  13. MAMASEXXY says:

    LOVE THIS ARTICLE

  14. Phammom says:

    Great story! I didn’t speak at my wedding either and my speech for my 3-day breast cancer walk was so nerve whacking.

  15. laurazera says:

    I bet you totally rocked!! I’ve been speaking more lately and what amazes me is just how warm and willing to accept your vulnerability the audience usually is. It takes a lot of pressure off. And that’s a fantastic photo, too, btw.

  16. Arnebya says:

    I am glad you found a way to push yourself. I can’t wait to see the videos! And lately, with my job search, I’m having to step outside of my comfort zone and be creative in the jobs I apply for. Not all are precisely what I want to be doing but at this point I am willing to give intimidating things a try.

  17. So, so, so, so, so, so SOOOOOOO proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You deserve to feel the accomplishment of overcoming your fear — and how wonderful for your daughter to witness this feat, as well. I guarantee she (and of course, YOU) will remember that moment for the rest of her life with pride and love.

  18. Galit Breen says:

    Oh Iza, I so love that you’re here! Thank you for the note and wow, do I ever feel like I’m in good company with you!

    (And yes! Our audience was, indeed, pure amazing!)

  19. IzaTrapani says:

    Good for you, Galit! Public speaking is hard! I, too was, painfully shy to go up on stage at first, but it gets easier over time- especially when you have a nice, receptive audience 🙂

  20. Galit Breen says:

    Thank you so much, my sweet friend! This was so BIG (*for me!)!

  21. Alison Lee says:

    I am so proud of you, my friend!

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