Earlier today, I had a 30min phone call with an editor from Business Insider Australia. The conversation went smoothly not only because I was sure of the topics but because of what I did some time back.

Thing is, I’m naturally shy and introverted.

I won’t naturally reach out to people to have a conversation in person or on the phone. I would rather read a book or go for a drive by myself.

And if I have to make a phone call, I sometimes get nervous and anxious, and my palms start getting cold and sweaty.

You see, I wouldn’t have been able to pull off the call with the Business Insider editor if I didn’t have the guts to speak with a journalist who wrote for The Age last year.

And I wouldn’t be bold enough to speak to the journalist if I didn’t summon enough guts to give the former CEO of the Australian Institute of Management a phone call, in a morning about 2 years ago.

And the phone call with the CEO wouldn’t happen if I didn’t heed my dad’s advice, to me when I was much younger, to “stand up and speak up”.

Developing a skill takes time

Nothing great happens overnight.

Cultivating the guts and boldness to speak in front of an audience or having the technical know-how to program an app takes time, effort and patience to develop.

Yes, we know that, yet sometimes we just rush into things hoping that a crash course or a quick fix or a 90-Days-To-A-Better-XYZ would be the silver bullet to make the magic happen.

Not really in real life though.

The worst time to develop a skill is when you really need it

One of the key reasons why I was able to confidently carry out the conversation with the news editor was because I took the effort to build up my conversational skills and self-confidence way in advance, so that when the opportune moment comes, I’m ready for it.

And that’s why when I need to conduct a workshop or presentation in front of an audience, I’m ready for it, because I took the baby step (long ago) to volunteer to give the group’s presentation in high school. You can’t believe how nervous and terrified I was to stand in front of everyone at that time!

You never know when you really need to use a particular skill, until you encounter that moment when you really have to use that skill.

Step out of your comfort zone now!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

Life is so amazing with so many opportunities, if we choose to see and seize them.

You never know who or what you would stumble into!

So start to step out of your comfort zone today and develop yourself as a person, so that when opportunity knocks, you are ready to open the door.

If you’re an entry-level employee, start networking with mid-level managers, so that when the opportunity comes to meet CEOs and high level executives, your self-confidence is good to go.

If you are a student, start becoming more vocal in sharing your thoughts and ideas in class, so that when the opportunity comes for you to shine and stand out in a group interview (for a job), your communication and public speaking skills are good to go.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is so darn good for you because the fears you face and overcome today will set you up for success tomorrow.

Go for it!

What is one area in your life where you need to step out of your comfort zone?

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