Comfort zones & remembering to breathe.
I've been thinking recently about how pushing beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone is essential for growth. I'm not talking about forcing yourself to bungee jump from a helicopter if you have a crushing fear of heights & it would require weeks of therapy afterwards. I mean things that you want to do on perhaps a smaller scale but put off due to fears & anxieties.
Teaching was a big one for me. Initially, I was so terrified that I almost had an anxiety induced out of body experience whilst giving a talk. It was brief and I think I got away with it ....well, nobody said anything. Either they didn't notice or worse, they weren't even listening! I persevered and have now taught in many different set ups - schools, colleges, one-to-ones and find that not only am I quite good at it, but I enjoy it. It's still a bit nerve wracking talking to very large groups, but I now see this as something I am fairly comfortable with.
It was similar when I did my first show with my work. Of course, I had picked a prime show in London's Chelsea as my first (in at the deep end) and after no sleep the night before, I was almost hyperventilating by the time I got to the venue for set up. At recent shows though, I am finding that I can sleep the night before, and come to think of it, during the events and I don't have to remind myself to breathe so often - hey, I'm still a work in progress!
Again, I really enjoy doing the shows- meeting fellow makers, chatting with the public & galleries etc, and the buzz is great when someone buys one of my pieces.
Imagine if I hadn't been brave enough to do it? What I would have missed! A little stress is good. It shows you care about what you are doing and that it means something to you.
Have you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone recently? Do you regularly have to pull yourself aside for a little chat? It can't be just me, surely.