Monday, November 22, 2010

Stepping Outside

We all have a comfort zone.  It's that little area that we rarely step outside of for any number of reasons.  I have many reasons.  Shall I name them all?  Alright, perhaps not all, but I'll give you four of my top reasons for not stepping outside of my comfort zone.

1 - fear of the unknown
2 - too much work
3 - too much to think about
4 - fear of failure

Fear of the unknown is always a tough one!  But if we never push ourselves into the unknown, we would never have have new jobs or even children for that matter.  My biggest issue with childbirth and delivery was fear of the unknown . . .hearing all those crazy childbirth stories that people told you, even months before your first contraction.  Those stories only added fuel to the fire for my fear of the unknown on childbirth. 

Too much work . . . well if I never conquered that one, I would never have had the opportunity to work with such awesome talented people at New England Scrapbook Company.  I am not just talking about the owners and employees (who are incredible individuals), I'm also talking about working with (scrapping with) some extremely talented customers as well!

To much to think about . . . it is true.  My brain is on overdrive 24/7.  When I'm not sleeping, I'm thinking.  It seems that anything outside of my comfort zone just gets my brain churning with possible pitfalls.  Then comes the panic and the sweat.  If I could only turn off my brain.

Fear of failure is a tough one.  There are hundreds of quotes on failure, and one of my favorites is from Benjamin Franklin:  "I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong."  I have spent many years as a parent, girl scout leader, co-worker, or mentor saying that mistakes are good, we learn from them.  But I have a hard time making sure that I, myself, can hear that message. Self-doubt is something that I carry with me all the time.

And how does this apply to scrapbooking.  There have been a number of challenges that I've seen on message boards, blogs, and websites that I have wanted to join, but I've not for all of the reasons above.  I either don't know how to post things electronically.  I find it to be too cumbersome.  I stress about it and think about it.  In the end I convince myself not to do it because I just wouldn't win anything anyway.

This past weekend I decided that I will no longer overlook opportunities within my reach simply because of the four reasons above.  I saw an opportunity to show my work with one of my favorite die cut companies, CottageCutz.  The challenge:  For every project that you upload to their Facebook site featuring the use of a CottageCutz die, you are entered to win a die of your choice.  It can be a new project, or a past one, and you can enter up to three times.  Last night I did just that.  I posted my camping layout using their camping dies.  Check out their wall.  I may have time to post one or two other projects this week (and have one in the works as we speak).

My second challenge did not go as well.  I hit all four of my top reasons!  There were some unknowns (posting onto a message board was a stumbling block), the technical side of things appeared to be too much work (I couldn't re-size the photo and this required some research), I definitely stressed about it, and in the end . . . I FAILED!  By the time I was able to figure out the photo size, I realized I didn't have access to the message board.  I had to apply, and by the time the permissions were granted, deadline over!  But alas . . . there is still next week's challenge.  I hear they do them weekly.

I have one more challenge on my radar . . . for one of my favorite paper/embellishment companies. I will keep you posted on my progress.  To some this might seem small.  For me . . . this is HUGE. 

Step outside of your comfort zone!  No matter what it is, challenge yourselves!

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