> Family > Heart of Matter

My Year of Going Out of My Comfort Zone

June 12, 2018 | by Giti Fredman

I chose to tackle the challenge of public speaking. God had other plans.

Last year I participated in a 75-mile charity bike ride. It was the climax of my self-proclaimed "Year of Self Expression." During the ride I realized that it was the first time in seven years that I had tried something totally new. And I promised myself I wouldn’t wait another seven years to try something new again. Right then and there, covered in sweat, short of breath and full of adrenaline and endorphins, I chose my new challenge: public speaking.

On the flight back to Minnesota I wrote up a talk. Within a week I had a gig. I practiced on anyone who would listen. Thank God it was well received. Here comes my year of going out of my comfort zone, I thought to myself. I started emailing everyone I knew. Hey! It’s Giti. I know we haven’t connected in a while, I have this great talk; consider bringing me out.

I went way out of my comfort zone putting myself out there. Months went by. There were no takers. Then, finally, there was a tug on the fishing line. An offer, and for my asking price. Plans were made - and then there was a blizzard that shut down the airport. I couldn’t make it in time. My inner skeptic began to wonder if I should’ve called it "My Year of Rejection." The more positive voice pondered "My Year of Resilience."

My inner skeptic began to wonder if I should’ve called it "My Year of Rejection."

My therapist husband said, "This is great! Kids need to see their parents taking risks, daring, failing big and bouncing back."

Months passed and I wasn’t achieving my goal for the year. Spring rolled around and it was the time to start training for the charity bike ride again, the thing that started this whole insatiable quest for newness and challenge. But this year brought different challenges that I didn’t ask for, as well as opportunities, like an intense fellowship for my husband to get licensed as a marriage and family therapist. This was new and exhilarating for him, and put me in the supporting role. Full disclosure and vulnerability alert: this is not a role that comes naturally to me.

So who would support me while I trained for the ride? Last year, my husband was a huge emotional, practical and logistical support. There simply weren’t enough hours in the day for him to do that for me again.

So not only was my dream of public speaking not being actualized, riding in the charity ride didn’t look promising either.

A friend suggested that I consider participating in the charity ride as a volunteer or support person. I listened politely and thought to myself, How lame. I’m not flying out east to volunteer at a ride that my loser self couldn’t get her act together to train for this year.

The choices were swirling in my brain: try to train even though I don’t think it’s the right thing for my family this year, go as a volunteer, or don’t go at all. I confided in another friend about my indecisiveness.

She pointed out how integral those volunteer "cheerleaders" were. They weren’t just for show. I remembered how their encouragement helped us as we neared the rest stops exhausted and overheated. They lifted our bikes onto those racks and placed an icy cold towel on our necks to bring down our body temperatures. They refilled our water bottles and asked us what flavor Gatorade we wanted. They danced to “I Believe in Miracles” because the whole thing was a little miraculous. By helping others reach their goals, even though they weren't in the limelight, they were doing something incredibly important and worthwhile.

Excelling as a support person would also force me to get out of my comfort zone and learn that it does not always have to be about me.

It wasn’t lame and it wasn’t second class. They were finding deep meaning and transformation by enabling others to find their inner greatness and achieve their goals. It dawned on me that this is what my year was all about. This was the new thing I needed to learn to embrace. It was my turn to be the cheerleader for my husband. There’s meaning, growth, self-expression and even an exhilarating challenge right here and right now. And excelling as a support person would also force me to get out of my comfort zone and learn that it does not always have to be about me.

I'm stilling trying to see if I can swing being a cheerleader on the charity ride, but I may not be able to this year. It turns out that I’ve already got some pretty important VIPs in my life right here to cheer for.

🤯 ⇐ That's you after reading our weekly email.

Our weekly email is chock full of interesting and relevant insights into Jewish history, food, philosophy, current events, holidays and more.
Sign up now. Impress your friends with how much you know.
We will never share your email address and you can unsubscribe in a single click.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram