Stepping out of one’s safe zone
Today I had a training session with one of my bosses. This amiable Australian woman is a public relations consultant and has an office in Central with a very pretty view overlooking the Government House and the Peak beyond, and it just makes me dizzy thinking that I am having this training session for free while the CEOs from international business firms actually pay for the professional advice of my boss, who has been in the field for 20 years now.
Would anyone ever think of me as a speaker? Even I dare not think such an outrageous thing. Speaking makes me nervous. It makes me feel that I am giving away myself, which is mostly unflattering, and hearing my own voice is hideous. And if I keep silent, and represent myself only with written words, I would awe others with the partial image of myself as a fine writer while keeping the imperfect part of me away from others’ scrutiny. I have drawn myself a chalk circle and stayed within rather comfortably. As time goes by people begin to take it for granted that I do not speak, and I am planted even more firmly into my safe zone.
There were some changes after I became a hotungnian. As a freshman I was compelled to shout, cheer and sing before people. As a member of the Students’ Association I was required to stand before people and address people in an official manner. As a Senior I was entitled to lecture and patronize. But still I have one foot within the safe zone and I would not hazard anything more than is necessary. Well, at least I could shout a cheer out loud before people, which was already a very big leap forward.
I thought I was doing fine, and I never thought I would want to be someone who can speak comfortably with almost any person and give excellent talks on stage before crowds of people. I did not know, when they offered me this job, they were actually looking forward to a day when I would become a very presentable representative, knowledgable as well as sociable, who would be an important contributor to the Prize instead of just an ordinary clerk taking care of petty affairs. They are trying to lift me entirely out of my safe zone and transform me.
There is always reluctance to leave one’s safe zone – but then what have I to lose? Perhaps some embarassments and unpleasantness along the way – but when my transformation is complete, I shall feel comfortable doing what I refrain from doing now. I realize I did not refrain from speaking because I did not like to, but because I was afraid I would not speak well. This self-fulfilling prophecy only makes the matter worse: nothing is impossible if one stops denying any possibility. This is the one thing I did not overcome among all the achievements at LHT, and I am ready to admit my cowardliness, step out of my safe zone and face the challenge. I am sure I will become stronger.
PS Been writing this whole passage amid terrible pain in the eye…… Why is there no cure to the pain?