Work Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Image: Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), Miramax.com

My July 2017 Resolution Stats

(See my original resolutionsJanuaryFebruaryMarchApril, May, and June stats here)

  • Averaged 210+ minutes of exercise per week (v. good, above goal)
  • 2 recipes tried this month (v. good, at goal)
  • 8,000+ written words for the month (v. good, above my 5,000+ goal for all writing projects combined but still not quite at goal for my top secret writing project.)

Go Where You Are Appreciated

One of the highlights in Bridget Jones’s Diary takes place when our heroine quits her job — and her lying, cheating boss (never have an affair at the office!) — to start down another career path. It takes courage to let go and start over. That’s why her resignation speech resonates with us all, women and men alike.

PERPETUA (the trusty co-worker): I want to listen to this because if she gives one inch I’m going to fire her tiny little bottom anyway for being totally spineless.

DANIEL (the manipulative boss): Well, I think you should know there are lots of prospects here for a talented person … lots of prospects for a person who, you know, perhaps for personal reasons, has been slightly overlooked professionally.

BRIDGET (our feisty friend): Thank you, Daniel. That is good to know, but if staying here means working within 10 yards of you, frankly, I’d rather have a job wiping Saddam Hussein’s ass.

If only we could have all addressed an unpleasant boss or two like that in our time. The same goes for any toxic relationship. Tell those users and abusers to go where the sun doesn’t shine.

Some of you may have done just that. Good for you!

Speaking Up for Yourself

Speaking up for ourselves is not always easy. Sometimes we sit back because we think we would get in trouble or that we are failing to live up to expectations. Worse, we think we are not worth more or that we cannot do better.

It’s time to let that sort of thinking go.

One of the great things about Bridget throwing her middle finger up to Daniel Cleaver is the sheer symbolism of it. In that moment, she transitions her career from written media to television. She is literally going to speak out and speak up. She finally has a voice.

In the spirit of Bridget, I have tried my hand at vlogging on Facebook Live these past few months. Okay, to be honest, a friend mentioned the idea to me first, thinking it might be a good way for me to spread my wings. I admit I was hesitant at first, but it has been quite the learning experience.

Don’t get me wrong. Writing is the medium for me, and that’s why my videos are all about the craft of writing. Writing is where I feel free to delve deep into my own thoughts and develop new ideas, where I learn the most about myself. The written word gives me a voice, but sometimes it is nice to pull out a bullhorn to make sure people are listening.

We all deserve to be heard.

Work Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Watching myself on screen is bizarre. People tell me I do “great”, that I look natural and comfortable, but to me, I look about as awkward as awkward can be. My heart races at the speed of light during these videos, and I lose track of my talking points at least once or twice. Toss in a garbled word or two and a few quirky mannerisms, and it may even look like I am drunk.

I can assure you, I drink at most 5-6 drinks a year.

It’s funny because I do plenty of public speaking  — if you are near Windham, New Hampshire on October 4, feel free to check out my free Medicare seminar at the Nesmith Library — and I thrive in front of a crowd. I feed off the energy of people and how they respond to my words. Truth be told, I usually try to rile them up a bit with an interesting factoid. I want them to be as passionate about what I am saying as I am. I want them to take home something new.

For me, there is something magical about a live audience — the eye contact and the reactions. Maybe vlogging is emotionally harder for me, more intimidating, because I cannot see how people are responding to me in the moment. Not knowing if I am hitting or missing makes me anxious. Loss of control and I do not really go hand in hand.

Vlogging is not going to make me a super star, but it continues to push me outside of my comfort zone. It is helping me to grow in new and exciting ways, building my confidence and new skill sets. I may have a lot of room to go but like Bridget, at least I am speaking out.

Will you join me?