Here's part seven of chapter two of my book, A Day of Hope. If you missed the first six sections, you can follow the links below.
Picture: What does it look like?
The Whole Enchalida
Honor Your Promises
A Big Commitment
Getting Friends, Family, & Coworkers Involved
NO COMFORT ZONE NEEDED
You’ve now read almost two chapters of this book, and I’m sure you’re thinking, “I could never do that!” or, “This seems like an impossible project to pull off. How can I do it?” My answer is that you can do it. I can tell you from my own personal experience it won’t be easy. But you can pull it off, and getting out of your comfort zone will help you make it happen.
When I described each of the areas of A Day of Hope and attempted to paint a picture for you, you might have thought that you’ve never done any of these things before. Neither had I! They were all new to me, and I had to get out of my comfort zone to figure out how to make it all happen. But here’s a little secret—doing things outside of your comfort zone is where all the fun is. Doing anything outside of your comfort zone takes courage, but when you realize that what you’re doing is for the sake of serving and helping others, it makes it much easier.
Two time boxing champion of the world, George Foreman, has said, “It takes courage to step into a boxing ring, but it takes just as much courage for you to step out of your comfort zone, to attempt to do something significant with your life, to try a new career, to seek a new relationship.”[i] Very true, and I believe this translates to doing the work of A Day of Hope. As Mr. Foreman says, it takes courage to do something significant, and A Day of Hope is significant!
I thought it might help you to see a list of a few of the things I have done to get out of my comfort zone:
- I once gave 30 presentations over 45 days to classes, groups, and committees about the work of A Day of Hope does and our need for help.
- I learned to build a simple website where people can research our organization and make donations.
- I learned to lead a meeting which requires more skills than you would think.
- I became confident enough in myself to attend meetings and network with key people in our community who could support our work.
- I learned to write and publish a monthly newsletter to people who might like to volunteer, donate, and support A Day of hope.
- I became familiar with many of the social media web 2.0 marketing venues such as Twitter, Facebook, and Squidoo.
The exciting thing for me is that I grew as a man and as a leader like I never thought I could. Growing because you’re outside of your comfort zone will also benefit you as a person in everything you do. The skills I have learned leading A Day of Hope have transferred to my job at United Way where I started using a monthly email newsletter, Twitter, and Facebook to help promote our work.
Does this mean that you might fail? Yes, it does. Well, at least I know that I have failed many times. (But you’re different, maybe you’re a better leader or you’re smarter than I am.) On multiple occasions I failed. The first time was when I started to speak to groups to see if anyone would like to help with the work we were doing. My first presentation about A Day of Hope was to a music class in college with about eighty people in attendance. One of my best friends named John was in the class. I stood in front of the entire class to give my presentation only to stumble and mumble all the way through it. Come to think of it, I can’t even remember what the heck I said. The class all just looked at me with glazed over, judgmental eyes, and I was so nervous that my voice was crackling and hitting high and low tones. When the presentation was over no one clapped, no one said good job, no one nodded, no one did anything. It was a terrible presentation. After I finished the presentation, I went back to my seat looked to John desperately for a little encouragement to ease my pain. John, being the blunt man that he is, just looked at me and said, “Christopher, that sucked dude.”
Ouch! What a dagger into the middle of my heart. Here I was trying to do something nice to help some people in need, and I failed terribly without any recognition for my efforts. And when it was over, the one person in the class who might have been the most encouraging and compassionate towards me said, “You sucked.” However, I still had a math class and a biology class that day to talk to about A Day of Hope. I easily could have justified chickening out and not given the final two presentations. But I went to both classes and gave a presentation asking students to get involved and support our work. Neither of the presentations went great, but they were slightly better than the first one.
You’ll see a recurring theme throughout this book that sacrifice is an important part of leading A Day of Hope. You can’t avoid it, you have to endure it—at least I do.
Getting out of your comfort zone is one of the many areas where you’re going to have to learn to sacrifice, change, and improve yourself for the sake of helping people. But in my experience, it’s all worth it. Every blunder that I’ve had, every failure, every embarrassment has been worth it for the sake of growing and serving and helping others.
[i] George Foreman, Knockout Entrepreneur (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 127