I usually travel to Dubai for work on a regular basis, and once there my normal routine involves me spending all my time in the office and then back into my hotel room.(sad I know) but that is what I am there for, to do some work, to meet my clients and to grow my business in the middle east.
On my recent visit to Dubai, I decided to combine the trip, to make it into a business and pleasure both. As my friend was joining me, we decided to have a blast, as it was his 25th Birthday. We planned to travel earlier than scheduled so instead of getting straight in to work, we would spend some time actually enjoying and exploring the Middle East.
Therefore, this time it was more of a relaxed approach and while I was out there I wanted to network and meet as many people as possible, because you never know whom you may bump into. Now starting a conversation with a complete stranger can be difficult, especially for me, being a very shy person, but I had to break the ice if I wanted to build more contacts and network.
Subsequently i built some courage, then every time we were in a restaurant, cafe, shop, or queuing up for something, I would just start talking with the person next to me, most of the time the conversation was useless, like how you doing, are you on holiday or business? What do you think…etc. This gave me encouragement and made me believe in myself that I can do this and if I really want to build more contacts, I have to speak to as many people as possible.
The first day was awkward, but from the second day onwards, it became second nature, and by the end of my trip, I had pocket full of business contacts from various industries, from pharmaceutical, tourism, steel, and even got some contacts of some sheiks.
All the people I spoke to knew what I do by the end of our conversation, I gave them all my business cards. Some may keep it, it may throw it away, but what I have done is planted a seed, if they ever need anything to do with the web, at least they would remember me. Some of them I am in contact with now on regular basis via emails, Facebook and Twitter.
Ways to step out of your comfort zone
If you’re like me shy, but want to do something different, below are some of the things that I have found helped me step out for my comfort zone, and it’s been more of a self development
Do not worry about others
One of the main fear factors is thinking what others will say about us, what they will think if we do this. First most get it out of your mind that anyone cares what you do, to others you are just another person, they may find you amusing or charming, or a pain, but who cares, you have not lost anything. On the other hand, some people may like you; they may find you exciting and want to hang around with you. So do not worry what others may think, you should just do what you wish to do.
Fight your fears
We all have fears about certain things, whether it may be heights, darkness, creepy crawlers, whatever it maybe, sometimes we have to fight them. For Example if we need to travel somewhere abroad, we are scared of heights, and the only easiest way to get there would be by air.
We then would have to face our fear and just carry out the journey. Same way if we really wanted to achieve something, we will have to face our fear factors, and not to be scared. Business is scary at times, sometimes you are alone and do not know exactly what to expect, but we will be the one at loss if we hold back.
Take Some Risks
To come out of your comfort zone, take some risks, and get excited about taking risks, not knowing what to expect. The risks that you take are for yourself, and will benefit you and your company, not anyone else. If you do not take the risks, someone else would, leaving you behind. Get comfortable with taking risks, and not worrying too much about it.
Change your day-to-day routine, most of the times we get comfortable with the way things are going, and every day is more or less the same, as we know what is going to happen. Change your routine to come out of your comfort zone, for example if you drive to work, try taking the bus or walking, as you will meet more people on your journey. Sometimes changing your routine may also mean you have to change your surroundings, you may be too comfortable in your job, hence you are not progressing further, try getting another job, or applying for different posts, so that you can progress your career. What you do on a day-to-day basis try to do something different.
If you are shy and you tend not to go out a lot and network with others, then volunteering in local community events, fairs, and other programs in the area is a great icebreaker. It will get you to meet others in your local area and a chance to share some words, but it is also something that you can get quite comfortable with, as when you are out volunteering you are just doing a job, and you will not worry about others around you. Great way to step outside.
You do not have to volunteer in charity events, you can ask local business and other programs in your area to see if they need a helping hand, look through the newspaper or local magazine to see any upcoming events that you could attend.
Do something that you usually would not doWhat is one thing that you are shy about, or you generally would not do.. When I was in collage doing my Health & Nutrition business, I needed to hand out leaflets to as many people as I possibly could. I could do this by going door to door, but it was time consuming. My mentor told me to stand in town and hand out the leaflets. I was like no way not possible, but later I understood, if wanted to move forward and get more exposure than I needed to do this. So I did, I stood in the middle of town and gave out leaflets. First day I had my jacket hood on so no one would see me, but as days went by I got used to it, and I met lot of people, and sold many products doing so.
Stepping outside your comfort zone only takes one or two attempts and you have cracked the ice. The first time it may feel awkward or seem weird, but if you do it for couple of times it will become a second nature, and you will notice it will start to build up your self-confidence and also help your business as your out in front of more people, making those extra contacts that you did not before.
What do you do to step out of your comfort zone, share your tips below in the comments?