I used to be very shy, a person who dared not speak to new people. Public speaking terrified me, even worse than getting an injection. As both an introvert and a sentimental person, I admired people who could just get out there and form friendships. I love SFU and the people here; I love getting engaged in our community. I kept telling myself: you have to overcome your shyness! Become a great communicator! Become a competent helper! So, I started to work on my goals and I soon realized that speaking to people is much better than getting an injection!
If you identify with my story, then here are some tips that helped me reach my goals, and I hope they will help you to work on your goals – whatever they may be -- while enjoying your life.
1. Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
When you step out of your comfort zone, you give yourself an opportunity to experience something new, and to achieve things that you didn’t think were possible. I remember applying for a job that I didn’t think I could get. I still applied even though I didn’t expect a reply. Luckily I got an invitation for an interview. At first, I was very happy but then I started to panic. “I’m too shy!” I thought. I even considered giving up and not attending the interview, but I told myself: “you won’t lose anything even if you fail to succeed in the interview.” Eventually, I went to the interview and it was not as scary as I had thought. Again unexpectedly, I got the job. Every time uncertainty causes us to feel butterflies in our stomach, we can instead celebrate that sensation with a smile, because we grow by taking steps regardless of the outcome.
2. Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Well
Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great start but it’s not enough. Anything you try, anything you start doing is worth doing well. Even though I thought I was not going to get that job, I didn’t just throw a bunch of mindless words in my application nor did I fail to prepare for the interview. Instead, I spent an entire day writing my application, and I went to the interview location early, just to make sure that I would not get lost. There are things that we cannot control like the weather or other people’s attitude and decisions, but there are things that we can manage well by ourselves. Every time I attend an interview or deliver a presentation, I conduct a lot of research and prepare well, even though I may not use it all and even though I may still seem like an idiot when the time comes. But when you head in the direction of doing well, you are getting closer to your goals, and you will eventually get there.
3. There are Times That we can Make Fun of Ourselves
There are good times and bad times; there are times of failure and times of success. We sometimes regret when we look back at our past, and think that we should have done it better. But we can also laugh at ourselves in a positive and funny way! I remember one time I was stuck in the middle of a presentation. That was such an extremely awkward moment. I saw some people giggling, but I told myself: you are a great “laughter maker”! When we openly admit our weaknesses, we become confident enough to joke about ourselves, to embrace awkward times and turn them into happy times. Then, regardless of whether we fail or succeed, we will never run out of the happy tastes in life. When we are doing our best and stumbling along as we go, we can tell people that we are just dancing and practicing with the rhythm!
4. Treating Failures as a Breeze, and Working on your Goals Persistently
There are times when we get rejected, and even when we get an opportunity, we may find it awkward when we first start doing things. Rejection or awkwardness may hurt, but why don’t we treat it as a breeze? I remember a time I worked hard but I didn’t do well on my midterm. That really hurt me in that moment but it quickly turned into a breeze that opened the windows and flowed into my world, giving me fresh air and telling me that I was going to have to put in more effort than others in order to rebuild my new record. From then on, I worked even harder than before, I was even thinking about the class in my dreams, and once I woke up in the midnight when I figured something out! Things worked out and I got full marks in my final assessment. Our goals are never achieved with one move in a few days. If one trial doesn’t succeed, try a second time, a third time, or even hundreds and thousands of times, and you will eventually get there. When you look back at the failures that you made, they do not even look like failures; they are the very energy that is pushing you closer to your goals.
5. Not Only Doing What you Love, but Also Loving What you do
It’s much easier to do what we love than love what we are doing. Doing what you love is like being together with your lover: it just happens very naturally. But you can get bored with doing what you love. You may find the imperfections in your lover down the road. Loving what you are doing is an ability to accept their imperfections and perceive their beauties. Even if you have no special feelings about something, you can try different angles and discover the happiness that exists in it. In that way, we can even enjoy cleaning the streets because we are protecting the environment while appreciating nature; we can even enjoy staying up late for writing a rather lengthy essay because we are thoughtfully expressing our ideas; we can also unchangeably love the things or people that we love and regard their imperfection as another beauty. Loving what you are doing can always keep you energetic and allow you to gain endless happiness from your life.
The paths to pursuing our goals will not always be as painful as people usually think. It wasn’t until I started doing these things that I realized that I could live fully. I wouldn’t say that I’ve completely overcome my shyness, but I’m becoming a much stronger communicator! I’ve been helping others find their own inner enthusiastic heart and in turn, has made me a better me. On the way of achieving goals, there are not only sweats but also sweets, as well as poems and flower scents. There is an old saying that goes: no pain, no gain. I would like to change it to my version: gaining while enjoying!
Beyond the Blog
Want to know more about the benefits of doing things outside of your comfort zone? Here are 6 reasons to step out of your comfort zone.
Which do you most alight with: do what you love? Or, love what you do?
As much as it can suck, failure can also be a way to learn and grow. Here are 4 keys to learning from your failures.