This week, a post I wrote on getting outside of your comfort zone was published on the blog Tiny Buddha - woo!
This in itself was a significant step outside of my comfort zone. One of the reasons I started this blog in the first place was that I wanted to get better at "putting stuff out there", but felt pretty uncomfortable doing it.
There’s a certain vulnerability that comes with knowing something your ideas, thoughts or writing are available for anyone to see. Every time I publish a post, I notice a slight feeling of discomfort, verging on fear - what if no-one reads it, what if they find it boring, what if I get criticised? I also tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, and have been known to spend hours or even days agonising over whether something is good enough to publish. Sometimes this ends up being at the expense of actually publishing anything at all. This discomfort mostly seems to stem from a fear of being judged by others - and knowing that the more of yourself you make publicly available, the more opportunity to judge you others have.
I’ve come to realise lately that my discomfort here may be mostly unwarranted, and even more - that I’m probably missing out on a lot by holding back in this way. I was pretty hesitant when I first started writing, worrying that noone would be that interested in what I had to say. But I’ve had some overwhelmingly positive responses, which have led to many interesting conversations and interactions I wouldn't have had otherwise. Now every time I post something, although the same discomfort does still arise, I think about what I’m getting out of it: sharing my ideas and connecting with people, and getting more and more comfortable doing so.
I’ve gradually got more comfortable writing for my own blog, for an audience that mostly consists of people I know. The next step in putting stuff out there was then to start trying to reach out elsewhere to larger venues. This carries with it an added layer of discomfort: there’s the possibility of rejection, and an increased chance of getting a negative response. But there’s also a bigger potential upside: the potential to get a wider readership beyond my existing network and so connect with new people, and the potential new opportunities that come with that.
Putting yourself out there can be scary. But it can also be exhilarating, and it can be a great way to prompt conversations and open up new doors. So far none of my worst fears of rejection or criticism have been realised - but even if they were, I'm pretty sure I could learn from that too. I’d be interested in hearing others’ experiences with this - do you think discomfort holds you back from "putting yourself out there" - in terms of sharing things you've written, thought about, or made? What are the best ways to deal with this?