Friday, March 23, 2007

Jumping out of your comfort zone

Background:

An inspiring speech for the 2007 International Speech Contest. Did quite well with this one. Was 1st Runner Up for Club and Won the B4 Area contest. Reached division but did not reach the podium. The speech requires a prop which is a pink hoopla. Wonderful attention grabber and pivotal to the speech message.

Actual Speech:

My heart is beating furiously. My mouth is dry from hours of talking to myself. My body is tensed and jumpy. Its 9 am in the morning. The year, 2007… The month, March and the date, 23rd! In less than 3 hours there will be judgment. You know this event better as the Toastmasters International Speech Contest. The stakes 3x as high and the stress even high. Now, why will anyone put themselves through such an ordeal… Not once, not twice but three times!

Good evening Ladies and Gents and welcome to jumping out of your comfort zone.

When we are young, our minds are free and habits undefined. But as we grow up, habits start forming as well. These habits allow us to lead a stress free and comfortable life. When we become too comfortable, that’s when we end up in the dreaded comfort zone [Show HULLA]. Let me introduce you to my comfort zone. I met him a couple of years back when I started working. You see at the time, I constantly used to go home immediately after work and couch until bed time watching a host of shows which I don’t even like. Before I knew it HE had me. [twist Hulla around] HE twisted around me slowly, tangled me up and before long I was totally engulfed! [drop Hulla on ground]

You have to understand ladies and gents that your dreams, your desires, and all your unrealized potential can never be found within this zone. They always exist out there. Inside here, there is nothing but mundane comfort. Because of that, we should always strive to jump out of this no excitement zone…

Let me tell you the story of my best friend. 3 years after graduating, he was stuck in a dead end job he hated, was 35 KGs overweight and everyday he woke up next to a girl who could barely stand him. One day out of the blue he was suddenly jolted out of his zone. The love of his life left him and cruelly started dating his boss.

Heartbroken and depressed… my friend spiraled to a rocky bottom. But just before smashing into the rocks, he realized something really profound. The life he once knew was no more and with it the comfort zone that limited him was blown away. And just like that, an amazing journey of self discovery started.

He went back to work the very next day and QUIT! He started working out – night and day. Time management became a way of life. He managed to learn dancing and even picked up singing… He worked very hard at challenging his comfort zones.

2 years later, he is now working for one of the largest telco companies in the world. He was promoted no less than 3 times last year. He travels an astounding 200 days a year. And despite his hectic schedule, he moon lights as a part time model. He transformed himself completely. A walking sunshine. He learned to jump!

How do we experience a similar positive transformation? Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until your love of your life leaves you for your boss as well. There is an easier way.

It’s a 4 step process and works on the convenient acronym of JUMP!

Step 1: J = Just do it but differently
Actions outside of your comfort zone can be scary but not all the time. Sometimes you just need to try something new like finding a new way from work.

Step 2: U = Understand baby steps
Life changing experience are rare and occur only once in most lives. For the rest of us, we should try small and then work ourselves up. Try a new way today. Tomorrow wake up earlier and go to gym before work. In the coming week, raise your hands during staff meeting and voice your brilliant thoughts.

Step 3: M = Maneuver resistance of the mind
The mind will surely resist when you try to push it to change. It will be very stressful to be outside your comfort zone. Your mind will be screaming at you to go back. Just ignore those thought and keep on going. The only thing you have to remember is to try, try and try…

Step 4: P = Pat yourself in the back
An important step which is often overlooked. Step 1 to 3 will get you far. Step 4 is where you take the time to reexamine how far. Give yourself a pat on the back. Not a girly pat but a manly one. YAH!

4 easy steps. [Reiterate the steps]. JUMP! And your own your way…

My god, how does time fly, Its 2.45 pm. My heart is not beating so hard. My thoughts are calm. A deep sense of togetherness have descended. What is this feeling that is overcoming me. Could it be peace. Possibly. Could be it a sense of accomplishment. Perhaps. But most of all I think its immense joy!

[JUMP]. Ladies and Gents, I have jumped out of my comfort zone. Now…. Its your turn!

Thank you!

By, Vijay Balasegaram