Leading by Example – Here is an example of how I stepped out of my comfort zone in a practical way

Life begins1

If you read my last blog you know it was about “stepping outside of your comfort zone”.  When we refer to taking that “big step” we conjure up the idea of it being something significant – like a career change or leaving our employment to further our education.  It also applies to our day-to-day activities and so I’d like to share with you one of my recent experiences as a way of affirming the message in my previous blog.

You may already know that I am a motorcyclist and have been for the past five years.  With each passing year it plays a bigger part of my life and translates into miles and miles of enjoyment.  Last year I treated myself to a pre-retirement gift and purchased a new Harley Davidson Electra Glide Classic.  I had intended on buying it after I retire from my role as an Executive Director in government, which is still about a year away, but a colleague when hearing about my plans asked a valid question.   “Why wait for retirement?”  She suggested I should be asking “why not now?”  She was right.  My new motorcycle has heightened my riding experience and I have no regrets in having made the investment earlier.

Of course, with it comes the responsibility of regular maintenance which is essential to its continued performance and for retaining its value.  If you are familiar with the Harley Davidson motorcycle there are three oils that need to be changed.  Yes, three of them!  And with my increased mileage the oils need to be changed frequently.  I wondered to myself what it might take for me to be able to do this on my own.  After all, I did work in a service station when I was a teenager.  Admittedly, that was a very long time ago and if I’m honest, the thought made my heart pound!  This was clearly outside of my comfort zone.  It’s an expensive machine and if I was going to do it, I had to get it right.

I thought about my recent blog and the question of all questions came to mind:  Who was I to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone if I wasn’t prepared to do the same?

As I mentioned, I certainly felt like this was out of my comfort zone.  In fact, it was way outside of it.  So, I did what any sensible person would do…I Googled it – an initial step in my research.  I started by watching a few YouTube videos and came across one that was clear and easy to follow.  It was detailed and covered the entire process step-by-step.  As well, I asked questions of folks who serviced their own motorcycles.  In other words, I spoke with people who were experienced.  As well, I sent the video to a friend whose opinion I value a great deal.  He agreed, the video was good and in his estimation this was something I was capable of doing.

From there, I did a cost/benefit analysis and itemized what I would need to do the job.  Besides the oil and filter, there were things like an oil filter wrench, a torque wrench for the derby cover to prevent stripping the bolts, a pan to catch the used oil and a funnel for adding the new.  The initial outlay was about the same as I would pay for an oil change at the dealer.  When I started to look around I found a torque wrench on sale.  It was a big ticket item and as a result increasing my return on investment.  In the mid to long-term, there were definite savings to be realized by me servicing my own motorcycle.

Before attempting this undertaking (yes my heart was still pounding), I arranged to have one of my trusted motorcycle friends come over and coach me through the processes.  I wanted to make sure that if I had questions there would be someone experienced on hand.  That morning I also watched the video again to make sure I had a clear picture of what I was going to be doing, minimizing the risk.  I went through the entire process methodically, arranging the tools, keeping my work space organized, and double checking each step thoroughly.

I’ve pleased to say that it went very well and it felt great!  I was proud of myself for having taken it on and for completing it successfully.  By stepping outside of my comfort zone in a small but meaningful way I accomplished something that was of value to me; and by sharing it here with you and on Facebook with other riders, especially women riders who might want to do the same, my experience may be benefiting others on a number of different fronts.

The message I want to reiterate here is that if you get clear on what it is that you want to do, regardless of its size or scope – providing it’s within your control – by taking a few simple steps to research it thoroughly, speak with those who have experience or knowledge in the field, undertake a cost/benefit analysis while managing the risks, along with being supported by a trustworthy mentor and coach, the probability of a successful outcome is high!  What’s also of importance is getting out there and leading by example.  It takes courage and builds healthy leadership muscle – perhaps the subject of another blog 🙂

I encourage you to give it a try and put the process to the test – take on something that moves you beyond your comfort zone even if it’s in a small way.  I heard it said that’s where life beings – feel the fear and do it anyway!

I’m interested in hearing back from you – post a comment to let me know how it goes.

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Bonnie St Julien

Bonnie St Julien provides personal development and professional leadership coaching and mentoring, to support individuals who aspire to make a positive and meaningful difference in who they are, in what they do and how they do it. Bonnie is an accredited certified Coach and a certified Professional Behaviours (DISC) and Driving Forces (Motivators) Analyst, with over 25 years of public sector management experience, including as an Executive Director. In addition to her professional experience, Bonnie has overcome a number of personal challenges, providing her the determination and inner strength needed to get though whatever life hands her. Bonnie is also an avid motorcyclist who embraces life and lives it fully! Calling on Bonnie's extensive professional and life experience, individuals who work with Bonnie are transformed through the coaching process by gaining self-awareness and by taking incremental concrete action steps to achieve their desired goal and create meaningful and sustainable results in their lives, their work, their organizations, and their world! If you are looking to transform your life, Bonnie is the coach for you!

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