I watched a video today on the rewards of challenging yourself and pushing yourself to your limits and it inspired me to write a blog post based on my own personal experiences of late.
We constantly see inspirational quotes posted on social media, encouraging each other to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zones… but how many people actually stop to do this? So often we get stuck in our daily routines and do not actually take the time to step back and think… is this challenging me, motivating me and am I happy with how things are at this current moment? It is so common to get stuck in our ways and stay on this path we have chosen, as this is seen to be the easy option and so many people are afraid of change and the stress that it can bring. But why do we have to stay in these routines forever?
The best decisions that I have ever made, are those that have pushed me to my boundaries and tested my limits. Yes, it has been hard at times, but the long-term result has always proven that the small set-backs and challenges that I overcame, have built a stronger, more resilient and a happier version of me.
In 2015, I stepped out of my comfort zone for probably one of the first times, not thinking twice when I received an opportunity to move to Hong Kong. In hindsight, I am so surprised that I, who is usually quite the pessimist, was so optimistic on what the future held for me. I was so certain and set in my mind that this was going to be the making of me and my future and looking back now, I am so proud for thinking this way. I have been very honest in previous blogs, expressing how tough moving away was in the initial stages (even up until last year!). The challenges that I faced moving to a new city, making new friends and setting up a completely new life, were overwhelming at times but no matter how bad things ever became… I knew that I had made the right choice and I was willing to stick it out until I could reap the long-term rewards.
Scotty always says to me, ‘you have to bet big, to win big’ and it is so true. Sometimes your decisions may not work out the way you planned, but if you never try, you never know and every choice has a lesson in it somewhere! I knew that if moving to Hong Kong did not end up working out, there would always be a flight back home where I could pick up my life and start again… and it is the same with everything in life. It is so easy to stay in your comfort zone. It minimises stress, it minimises risk and it minimises failure. It is secure and safe. But in the end, who can genuinely say that they are happy staying in the same place for the rest of their life? I actually shared a quote on Instagram the day before I moved to Hong Kong, “When it feels scary to jump, that’s exactly when you jump. Otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life. And that I can’t do”. Everyone knows that I love a quote and this one backs up the purpose of this blog entirely.
I recently read a study by two psychologists, who detailed that in order to maximise performance, we need a state of optimal anxiety. Optimal anxiety is where our stress levels are slightly higher than usual and sits just outside of your comfort zone. It is a place where your performance and productivity reach their peak without having a negative impact.
Comfort is a place where we do not grow and we actually start to lose any form of drive/ambition that we have. I became comfortable in my previous job, which I started working straight out of college at 18. Every day was the same. The same tasks, the same hours, the same people, the same focus… for 6 years. I started to lose all motivation to grow and push myself and had reached my limit in how far I could go. It had become stale. In the end, as everyone is well aware, my emotional state began to suffer. I began striving to find something new… something that pushed me in not only my professional boundaries but also, my personal ones. I had become unhappy in all aspects of my life because I was not challenging myself enough. Moving into a life in recruitment is not something that I ever planned, but after speaking with a lot of people, I was so sure that I needed something that pushed me to grow, something that challenged me every day with something different and something that allowed me to stay busy and engaged. A career with genuine prospects and no ceiling to stop me improving and challenging myself.
Towards the end of last year I started my new journey into recruitment. At times, and even now, I have struggled with my self-confidence. I have questioned whether I am good enough to do this job and whether it was a good choice for me with my personality and the personal battles that I face. It has only been the past 6 weeks that I have really seen a difference in myself, both at work and socially. I have started to feel more comfortable in who I am and what I stand for and so many people have said that they have seen a happier/more confident Sian. My energy levels and motivation are at an all-time high and it’s because I had the faith to step out of what was comfortable and try something new.
I think once you choose to step out of your comfort zone and begin to see the rewards, it becomes far easier to do it again and again. I saw this with my first blog post, which led to creating the sunflowerdaydreams blog site. It was uncomfortable to speak out at first and it was completely unnerving but in the end it has helped my emotional state so much and now I am so pleased that I am trying to encourage and help others do the same.
My new role is no different, there are constant time pressures and deadlines that I have to stick to and it is up to me on whether I want to work hard or just live a comfortable life and get by. Every day is a new challenge. I am enjoying working hard, learning every day and pushing myself to my limits in order to reach my full potential to live something close to the life that I have dreamed of. I am working towards the day where I can be happy, successful and grateful with all of the choices that I have made in my life to make me grow…Whilst living in my gorgeous house somewhere beautiful in the world (Australia!) with lots of puppies!!!!!! *Insert love-heart emoji face* On this reflective day, I am so proud of my journey and how far I have come over the past 4 years and I truly encourage anyone who is wondering whether something is worth the risk… to just try it and see. “Taking chances. It is really about overcoming your fears because the truth is, every time you take a big risk in your life, no matter how it ends up, you’re always glad you took it.”
You will never grow, learn or be happy with a mediocre life… Don’t wait until the time is right – Leap and the net will appear!