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Don't let fear hold you back: 10 tips to help you step outside your comfort zone

A KonMari colleague contacted me in January of this year and asked if I would be interested in giving a talk on the new Spring Clean Stage at the Ideal Home Show to be held at London Olympia in the spring. The Ideal Home Show attracts 200,000 home-interest consumers who come for ideas and inspiration from celebrity speakers and some of the best home and lifestyle brands.

Ideal Home Show, London Olympia
Ideal Home Show, London Olympia

I immediately knew it would be an excellent opportunity to share my experience and reach a larger audience. However, I had several nagging reservations about my public speaking ability and whether I was ready for it. I usually work one-to-one with my clients. I’m not a celebrity speaker (yet!), and whilst I’d given many presentations in my corporate career, I left that over 15 years ago. Talking for half an hour on stage to the public at such an iconic event would be a big step out of my comfort zone.

As a certified KonMari consultant, I’m conscious that my clients often find it daunting to invite me into their homes to help them with their decluttering and organisation. For some, it’s also a big step out of their comfort zone. It’s a very personal journey. Clients face up to making decisions about all their belongings, which may represent unfinished projects, past relationships, and purchasing mistakes. Whilst some clients know where they want to get to, the prospect of what may lie ahead also makes them uncomfortable.

In this blog, I will share some tips to help you if you’re faced with a big uncomfortable step that you know will ultimately benefit you but are doubting yourself as to whether you’re ready for it yet.

1. Set a goal:

My goal was very specific; I wanted to share my expertise in decluttering using the KonMari method with the attendees at the Ideal Home Show so that I could make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Document a specific goal for yourself when you feel like you are stepping out of your comfort zone.

2. Visualise success:

I wrote down my vision of success when I decided to commit to doing the show. It was very much about my feelings. I wanted to feel confident standing on stage, sharing my story and my expertise with an engaged audience. After each presentation, I wanted to feel excited about returning to the stage again, knowing from the audience feedback I’d already received that I was helping people to make positive changes in their lives.

Visualise achieving your goal and its positive outcomes.

3. Take small steps:

Before I started the project, I broke it down into steps with timelines and kept track of my progress in my productivity app, Todoist. Every time I ticked off an item from the list, I could feel my confidence grow in the run-up to the show.

Small steps with timelines
Small steps with timelines

Practising public speaking in a friendly, familiar, and safe environment before the show would give me a boost. I’m a regular runner and volunteer at my local parkrun, so I volunteered to give the First Timer’s briefing, which allowed me to talk for a few minutes about a subject I’m passionate about in front of an audience of people I didn’t know.

Break down your goal into small, manageable steps. This will make it easier to take action and build momentum.

4. Challenge your beliefs:

In the run-up to my talk, I frequently spotted an advertisement for the Ideal Home Show on the back of double-decker buses. It featured an impressive line-up of celebrity speakers, including Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Phil Spencer and Martin Lewis, who would also be appearing on stage at the show. Initially, when I saw the advertisement, I questioned what I had let myself in for. Would the audience expect me to speak with their level of confidence and ease?

Ideal Home Show advertisement
Ideal Home Show advertisement

But as I worked through the small steps I had set for myself and my confidence grew that I was prepared, I could embrace the challenge and eventually felt proud that I would be appearing on stage every time I saw the advertisement.

Challenge any limiting beliefs or negative self-talk holding you back.

5. Practice self-compassion:

Before the show, a KonMari colleague reminded me, “There is no right way or wrong way; it’s your talk based on your experience and the work you have done with your clients.” This message is true in so many aspects of our lives. There is rarely a straight path in life, and we should congratulate ourselves on every small step we take.

Be kind and patient with yourself as you step out of your comfort zone. Celebrate your progress, even if it's small.

6. Seek support:

I am fortunate to be part of the beautiful KonMari community of consultants, and ten of us participated in the Ideal Home Show. We supported each other on our journeys cheerleading each other throughout the show.

KonMari community at the Ideal Home Show
KonMari community at the Ideal Home Show

I also enlisted the support of my Husband, Mum, Sister, friends and neighbours, who all came to see me speak at different times.

Enlist the support of friends, family, or a professional, such as a coach, to help you stay motivated and accountable.

7. Embrace discomfort:

Before my first talk, I met with Michael, the audio technician, who gave me the choice of a hand-held or “Madonna-style” headset microphone. With a remote control for a PowerPoint presentation in one hand and notes in the other, I opted for the Madonna-style headset. It took a while to get used to wearing the microphone, but I soon forgot it was there after a few minor adjustments.

Minor adjustments to microphone
Minor adjustments to microphone

What I hadn’t considered in advance is that in the last year or so, I’ve started to wear reading glasses, which I needed for my notes. However, when I looked at the audience, I could only see a sea of blurred faces, which was quite disconcerting. I decided the best option was to position my glasses on the end of my nose and peer over the top of them!

Peering over the top of my glasses!
Peering over the top of my glasses!

Acknowledge that discomfort is a natural part of stepping out of your comfort zone, and learn to embrace it as a sign of growth.

8. Try something new:

I’m usually relatively quiet on social media, but I embraced the online world in the run-up to the Ideal Home Show. I enjoyed learning about hashtags, stories and highlights and gained some new followers.

Life Sorted joined Instagram
Life Sorted joined Instagram

Challenge yourself to try new things, whether it's a new hobby, exercise routine, or social activity.

9. Learn from failure:

If at first, we don’t succeed, try again! I could hear myself mixing up my words occasionally during my talks. I’ll put it down to nerves. It took me a day before I could face watching the recording, but when I did, I realised, it wasn’t so bad, and I learnt for the next time.

Accept that failure is a possibility, and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

10. Celebrate your success:

I was fortunate to be able to celebrate my success alongside those of my KonMari colleagues during the show.

KonMari colleague celebrate their Ideal Home Show stage debuts
KonMari colleague celebrate their Ideal Home Show stage debuts

Finally, celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Recognise and acknowledge your progress, and use it as motivation to continue stepping out of your comfort zone.

Are you ready to sort your home, sort your life and achieve your goals?

I'm Judith, a Professional Organiser and KonMari Consultant based in Richmond, London. I help my clients sort their home and life to achieve their goals and aspirations.

Would you like to learn more about how I can help you organise your home for long-lasting change? I offer a free 30-minute consultation on Zoom to discuss your organising goals and how I can help.

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