On Deck with 3 Bats: How I push beyond my boundaries

The arrival of spring also means the arrival of baseball season in the United States. Watching the players on deck swing 3 bats as they awaited their turn at bat made me think of what I do on a regular basis to push my own boundaries.

One of my favorite quotes, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, says that “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” That has stayed with me over the years and I believe it applies just as much to the boundaries of our comfort zones.

baseball-batsBefore I moved from Northern Virginia to Germany with my family, I had a fairly comfortable, predictable life. I didn’t have to push myself very hard because I had my routine, I had enough clients, we had our circle of friends, and we could have gone on like that forever.

After picking ourselves up and moving our lives to Germany, I had to start to push myself. I had to move out of my comfort zone. I had to find additional clients and learn new skills. I had to start swinging with three bats.

What did I do?

I couldn’t just sit around waiting for clients to come to me. I couldn’t even operate with many of the client-finding methods I had used in the United States. It was a whole new ball game. Here are some of the things I’ve done.

  • I learned a new language so that I could translate for German businesses that want to approach English-speaking clients.
  • I took a webinar to improve my business marketing skills.
  • I learned how to use Canva to create my own graphics to promote my consulting services.
  • I attended local events and meetups to form a network in my new city/country.
  • I signed up to speak at a local event to share my knowledge with an audience of entrepreneurs and startup employees.

What can you do?

What do you do when you want to break out of your comfort zone? How do you push your own boundaries? If you are in need of ideas, use my own experience as a guide for possibilities.

  • Learn a new language. You can do this either outside of your home through library or community resources, or on your own with programs like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone.
  • Take a webinar or online course. If you do a simple search, you’ll find MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) all over the internet. There are other online learning platforms, such as Udemy or Teachable, where you can sign up for free, or fee, courses.
  • Learn how to create your own graphics.  Whether you learn through an online course from a MOOC or online learning platform, or go through the tutorials of sites like Canva, Easel.ly, or Venngage, you can improve the visual components of your website or marketing materials by picking up some basic design skills.
  • Sign up on Meetup.com, and find local meetups relevant to your interests. It’s free to create your own profile, and you can pretty much sign up for as many Meetup Groups as you want. Don’t see your interest among existing groups? Start your own Meetup Group and expand your network.
  • Sign up to speak at a local event. Follow local organization pages on Facebook or Twitter, check out local meetups, and see if there are any groups looking for speakers for events. If you have a presentation on a topic that’s relevant – or that can be MADE to be relevant – pitch yourself to them as a potential speaker.

I’m sure you can think of many other ways to break through your own boundaries. What three bats are you swinging with to push yourself? Share this post on Twitter (see below for the share button) and tag me (@BernadetteGeyer) with your own ideas for getting out of your comfort zone.