Why it’s important to push your own buttons

As I’m writing this blog post, I’m waiting to attend a SpeakUP event for public speaking. Picture me in the lobby room of Friend’s Meeting House, thoroughly terrified, asking myself why on earth I put myself through things like this.

And that’s when it hit me – why do we do ‘this’ to ourselves? Push our own buttons, go out of our comfort zone, provoke our insecurities.

Many of us don’t even get beyond the first hurdle. We see opportunities and instantly close the door on them. It’s too scary, you’re out of your depth, it’s interesting but ‘not for you’. Is any of this sounding familiar? I touched on this in my processing failure post and it comes back to the comfort of fear. If we don’t push our own buttons, we’ll never know what could be and for some of us that’s safer than having a bad experience.

Part of us is internally analysing every situation and opportunity to decide if the risks outweigh the rewards. If I had to think about the situation I’m in right now, I’d say the rewards outweigh the risks. At worst I could embarrass myself, maybe clam up or make a cringe-worthy social faux pas. At best I could network, learn a new skill and find a new opportunity.

Some people will read that paragraph and say ‘nope‘, because the idea of embarrassing yourself is stronger than anything else. But really, is it that bad? I could go in there right now and make an absolute tit out of myself, but am I going to think about it in five years time? Would anyone ever even remember me? No.

Think about your risk threshold. When does something become too much to handle for you? Even with the greatest reward at stake, what experience would you avoid entirely? It’s time to stretch those boundaries because the only way you’re getting there is by pushing your buttons.

Taking a risk

I’m not saying you should throw yourself in at the deep end, but what could you do to (at the very least) stick your toe in the water?

I appreciate this is a little easier for me to say because after years of totally owning my cringe moments, I’ve build a pretty high barrier. It’s fare to say I’ve had plenty of embarrassing experiences over the years. There was the failed blog event, getting so much abuse that my selfie ended up on the Reddit front page, being sent death threats after posting about palmistry, in fact one time I made a greatest hits compilation post about my top most cringe-worthy moments.

So yes, I’ve sure had my fair share of bad experiences.

Yet here I am sat in a waiting room before attending a public speaking class.

And you could be sat right next to me if you wanted to be. There’s literally nothing stopping you other than your own threshold. All it takes is for you to push your own buttons. We often think it’s a matter of going from 0 – 100, because the first time we see people is when they put themselves in the spotlight but it’s much more gradual than that. The person you look up to – on TV, radio, stage, in magazines – they had to gradually increase their confidence by pushing their own buttons, expanding their horizons and building up the foundations.

It doesn’t have to be public speaking, that’s just my example. Maybe you’re too shy to post a selfie, perhaps you want to share you thoughts online but think no one will read it, what if you have a skill to share with people but you don’t know how to build your platform?

What could you achieve if you start pushing those buttons? In an ideal world, if you could really go for it, what would you be doing?

Now, hold that thought and do something about it. It starts with one step, or should I say one ‘push of a button’.

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21 Comments

  1. Dannii
    April 11, 2018 / 11:29 pm

    I am always trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. You learn so much about yourself by doing it.

  2. April 12, 2018 / 8:13 am

    I haven’t pushed myself as much lately. I really would like to post more personal posts and selfies, it’s just finding the courage. Great post Jess x

  3. April 12, 2018 / 11:55 am

    I learned a long time ago that you have to work and push yourself to get the stuff you want and need. Good luck with your public speaking

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      April 12, 2018 / 3:04 pm

      Thanks Kara!
      I think I’ve still got quite a long way to go but I’m sure I’ll get there.

  4. April 12, 2018 / 2:12 pm

    I have to admit that I am not very confident and have tried to avoid situations which make me uncomfortable as much as possible until recently when I have been pushing myself to get out and join in with a bit more which has certainly made me feel more connected to my community.

  5. April 12, 2018 / 8:59 pm

    I totally agree! I always try to push myself out of my comfort zone, although it’s not always easy.

  6. April 12, 2018 / 11:10 pm

    I think there is definitely something about making sure you try and push yourself out of your comfort zone, to taking a step forward that perhaps scares you a little.

  7. April 13, 2018 / 3:08 am

    Most of us have trouble overcoming issues like this. It’s good to test yourself and take a leap so you know what you’re capable of. That’s how you get to know yourself and what else you can do in life. This is such a good message for everyone.

  8. April 13, 2018 / 7:15 am

    I think it’s really important for personal growth to step outside our comfort zones on a regular basis. I draw the line at public speaking though, lol!

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      April 14, 2018 / 11:50 am

      Ha never say never, Elizabeth!

  9. April 13, 2018 / 4:36 pm

    I love this and totally agree. Last year I pushed myself, and my anxiety, into visiting London alone and I was so glad I did!

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      April 14, 2018 / 11:53 am

      Oh my god that’s a mad achievement! Well done. I get SO overwhelmed when I go to London. Only been once alone and I ended up getting lost and I was so agitated. Good for you gal!

  10. April 14, 2018 / 7:27 am

    I completely agree. This week I have been trying to push myself that little bit more and it is working!

  11. April 14, 2018 / 3:16 pm

    I totally agree, it’s really good to push yourself sometimes and often I surprise myself when I do just that.

  12. April 14, 2018 / 3:35 pm

    I have to agree with the other comments here. We should all step out of our comfort zone to explore and grow.

  13. April 14, 2018 / 5:54 pm

    My mummy hasn’t pushed herself out of her comfort zone for ages and she really should! Learning something new and setting herself targets helps x

  14. April 14, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    I always think that I push myself but then I think how much more that I could be doing and I realise that I’m not x

  15. April 15, 2018 / 9:21 am

    Since going and finishing university I realised its important to push myself out of my comfort zone as I realised everything I wanted was on the other side of fear. Great post

  16. April 15, 2018 / 9:54 am

    You are so right, but public speaking is perhaps the one thing I really really struggle with and have done since I was at school.. in fact it was probably school that made me so terrified of it! lol

  17. Jem
    April 16, 2018 / 10:59 am

    Love this! It’s really important to push yourself out of your comfort zone to grow and learn.

  18. April 17, 2018 / 2:04 am

    I personally push myself to my limits and tend to do better once I reached that goal. It was a challenge at first but I am now comfortable being uncomfortable with my challenges as it makes me a better version of myself.

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