Part of having impostor syndrome (read more about that here), is that I tend to have high anxiety around meeting new people. The thought and fear being that they will see right through me, know that I don't belong there, that I have no clue what I'm talking about, etc. This means I constantly have to push outside my comfort zone to meet new folks. It's certainly easier with the wonderful innovation of social media but then when I meet the person face to face... all the fear and awkwardness comes flooding back. 

So when the opportunity to go to an event where I could meet a lot of people, many of which I admire and aspire to be like, came around... I, of course, said no. That is a lot of pressure (self-imposed) and a LOT of new people to meet. But the more I thought about it... the more I decided it would be good for me to get outside my comfort zone and go. 

I wish I could say it was an event where I made a ton of connections and met kindred spirits but it wasn't. I connected with a few people but I let my awkwardness and fear get in the way.  I struggled and found that a lot of the people came with friends and/or already knew a ton of people there. Luckily my friend was there but I left the event (it was an awesome event otherwise) feeling a little disappointed in myself. Which is why I vowed to really put myself out there with the social media challenge the event organizer, Briana Johnson, put together for us following the event. 

The #waxonshineon challenge

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a big shift in my posts over the last 14 or so days. That's because I really tried to break out of my comfort zone and get vulnerable by participating in this challenge. I know that doing it on social media is a bit of a different beast but there is a meetup happening for everyone that did the challenge and it will be a chance at redemption for me to connect with others in person. And if I still fall flat on my face... at least I put it all out there for the world to see. 

The first few days were easy enough... committing to positive self-talk, to share the good things we create in our life, share a way that we connect with a higher power, to write what we are grateful for, affirmations, etc. Then day 6 hit. The challenge was to see your true beauty by closing your eyes and thinking thoughts about yourself of acceptance, love, and gratitude. Then to open your eyes and smile at yourself in a mirror. 

At this point, I realized that to really go outside our comfort zones and to get truly vulnerable, we MUST first be vulnerable with ourselves. And I haven't been. I procrastinated and even tried to cheat on this day of the challenge. I would rather do anything that to have to look at myself and say nice, real things. I had to really push outside my comfort zone to even get up and stand in front of the mirror. I felt silly closing my eyes and saying all the things I like about myself but when I opened my eyes and saw myself... I started to cry tears of joy. I can't explain the shift, the happiness that seemed to go deeper than it ever had before. I realized that my beauty lies in how I perceive myself... not in how others see me. (You can see my Instagram post here).

From that day on, I began to really push, not just coast, to the outside (and beyond) of my comfort zone. I ended up posting a photo of me during a mud run that I'd never posted because it wasn't perfect. I shared the story of how I lost a loved one and became a weird plant lady as I worked through my grief. It didn't matter how many likes or comments my posts got... it only mattered that I was doing the challenge and overcoming my comfort zone to be in a place of true (and a little scary) vulnerability. 

Overcoming your comfort zone to be vulnerable

I'm sharing all of this in hopes that you can get the same message I did out of this challenge. That sometimes overcoming our comfort zone means understanding yourself and getting vulnerable with yourself–truly seeing yourself for who you are. 

I highly recommend taking this challenge and I'd love to hear how it's worked for you. Did you struggle in the same spots I did? Or what was the most difficult part for you? Did you get vulnerable and overcome your comfort zone?

You can find all the information at TheLifeBeatsProject.com  and Briana Johnson (the mastermind behind this fantastic challenge) has posted a downloadable booklet to guide you through the challenge on her site (top right). 

Photo by Henry Be