It takes courage to try new things 

When were you last brave enough to be crap at doing something new? How often throughout your life have you not even tried to do something new because you were too worried about feeling/looking daft? It takes real courage to do new things. But there’s a real sense of achievement when you've done it that it's worth some initial discomfort. This week I’m thinking about comfort zones, trying new things and reassessing what brings me joy. 

The Conscious Competence Laerning Model 

When you are embarking on something new if can often look like this: 
The Conscious Competence Learning Model 
Unconscious Incompetence – when you don’t know what you don’t know, ignorance is bliss kind of stage – the *thing* is not even on your radar. You are unaware of your lack of skill and proficiency. 
Conscious Incompetence – when you at the start of your learning and realise how crap you are, this is often when you feel discomfort, need to be brave and carry on. You are aware of the skill and recognise your lack of proficiency. Think about those first driving lessons… 
Conscious Competence – you’ve got it! You know what it takes and as long as you focus you can achieve your desired results. You are able to use the skill but only with effort. When you first pass your driving test. 
Unconscious Competence – you’ve nailed it! You can do it without thinking. The skill is second nature and becomes automatic. You don’t even think about actually driving the car these days, you just get on with it. 
Stage 2 is the most uncomfortable phase of learning something new. There is danger of stunting your personal growth and development by retreating to your comfort zone. It’s important at this stage to reflect and acknowledge how far you have come. Celebrate each stage of progress – this is something we often forget to do. I am fortunate to have a supportive circle around me who remind me to do this. 

Stretch and Challenge 

I’ve had couple of conversations recently with people about comfort zones and how you feel after you’ve successfully completed a challenge you set yourself and stretched yourself. One of the conversations was about attending a concert alone. This started a whole conversation about whether we enjoy being alone or whether we prefer being with other people. Which then led to the question of how much harder it can be as you get older, to do new things, especially on your own. You can get stuck in a rut. 
It’s also easy to feel a loss of identity when you get to middle age and even forget what you enjoyed doing before. For a long time, your kitchen calendar was possibly full of activities that were meeting other people’s needs. Being a taxi driver, ferrying the kids around to different clubs, giving them lifts etc. The kids have now left home, and you've got a bit more freedom but realise that you've lost sight of who you are as an individual. I know for sure that since COVID times my world has got smaller. I blogged about it a while ago. It’s kind of like a spiral the less I do, the less I *want* to do. 
I’ve noticed I'm turning down far more invitations for a drink in the pub than I would’ve done 10 years ago . I’m quite happy in my pj’s in front of the telly most of the time . On the other hand I don't want to end up a pensioner sitting at home in my one big slipper waiting for Tipping Point to come on the telly. I’m definitely not ready to turn into a pre-pensioner and a beige world of midlife mediocrity. 
So Paul and I have booked lots of gigs to go to this year and reassessed how we enjoy spending our time as a couple. We have a date day planned next week and we’ll be going out for a drive in the countryside. I love being high up in the Peak District looking at the views. We’ll maybe have a mooch around a few second-hand places, find a nice pub to have a late lunch in and then be back home early evening for telly and pj’s with a couple of drinks. Happy days! 

No moves like Jagger 

A couple of years ago I challenged myself to try something new each month, however small that was. I started going to a yoga class. I’d tried several times to follow YouTube videos on my own in the living room. This proved to be quite difficult though because the dog wants to join in. She’d climb all over me and thinking I was playing. The other issue is that I have hypermobile joints and I tended to over stretch. I’d injure myself and then have to pack it in, quite frustrating. 
Back to the class - I couldn’t do all the moves, but I did my best. The teacher was great in as much as she helped me adapt the exercises because there are just some things, I couldn’t do because of my hip replacement. 
At one time I would have been too self-conscious to go to yoga or the Pilates class that I’d also started a few months earlier. I was actually quite nervous about that before I started (I blogged about it at the time.) Thinking about things like where to park (because I can’t walk far), what to wear, feeling self-conscious about my weight and so on. I did it though, moved out of my comfort zone, and it gave me a little boost of confidence so that I didn’t have those same feelings when I went to yoga. 
(Sadly, neither of these activities helped with the chronic back pain I’ve endured and were actually making it worse for a few days after each session. I’ve since found out that I have a herniated disc and nerve impingement amongst other things but that’s a story for another day.) 
Deflated balloon 
Your comfort zone is a bit like when you blow a balloon up and then let it down and it goes a little bit saggy. It never goes back to being the same. Stretching yourself out of your comfort zone is away to develop yourself personally. You never go back once you've stretched yourself out of that zone. I think it's important to keep stretching and pushing those boundaries. My new challenges these days are more sedentary and are often about learning new tech or similar to help with my business. 
I decided it’s important from a personal development point of view, to keep learning, try to combat meno brain fog and getting older, to keep my mind sharp. I want to remember who I am at my core and challenge myself. With that in mind a couple of years ago I expanded my business to include the FAB Business Club. 
That community is now almost two years old and is thriving. I have so many amazing testimonials from members. Very early on one member described it as being a community that is ‘natural and enjoyable to engage with’. Another member said “I love the openness and support in this group holding each other from afar. Laughing, commiserating, crying and every other emotion. It’s a space to be happy, vulnerable, and together.” 
To get these kinds of comments really makes my day. I’d thought about it for a long time before I decided to move out of my comfort zone, follow my gut and go ahead with trying something new. I’m so pleased that I did. 
FAB Business Club 
I feel that now I’m in the consciously competent zone as the FAB Business Club leader and it’s time for us to expand. So that is my challenge this year, to raise our profile and build the community across the country. I have a couple of affiliates already and it feels good to be creating a ripple as part of a team. What could you try that is new to you? 
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