So Far Out of My Comfort Zone

It’s Wednesday lunch time in the middle of summer, I’m sat here in my winter clothes, drinking hot chocolate and contemplating whether to put the central heating on for a bit!  It’s freezing, pouring with rain and feels like a November day.

I’m beginning to wonder if we may have had our summer this year after April and May were so warm, dry and sunny.  We do need this rain but after a few days of rain it’s starting to get a little bit depressing!

I’ve had something on my mind for the past two days because I feel really uncomfortable about this thing I’ve done and it’s got me thinking a lot, mostly because I’ve had to talk myself down, be brave, stop cringing and man up!!

I’ve felt well out of my comfort zone lately, this is something I thought I’d learned to managed well, embraced over the years and learned to see as more challenges than things I’m not confident about or afraid to do. 

Being a farmer, for many reasons I’m pushed out of my comfort zone sometimes on a daily basis, there are always things I have no choice but to do and just have to get on with it.  Sometimes I’m really proud of myself for rising to the challenge and getting it done, sometimes it’s an experience I never want to repeat again (but then sometimes I have too with utter dread)!

Getting through things when your on your own can also be so difficult and has sometimes pushed me so far it’s driven me to tears, these are the only times I really feel alone, lonely and wish I had someone for support.

There have been really, really difficult things I’ve had to cope with over the past few years that are so far out of probably anyone’s comfort zone it’s not funny.  They were really hard to get through but I did it and lived to tell the tale.  After going through that “stuff” I honestly thought nothing would bother me again.

In honesty those experiences are what pushed me to be brave enough to start The Woman That Farms – something I wouldn’t even have contemplated just two or three years ago.

You see I’m actually a very private person.  For a long time I was embarrassed and ashamed of my past.  I was petrified that people would find out where I’d come from and know about my journey.  I felt like a fraud and like I didn’t deserve to be where I am today.  It’s been made worse over the years as I slowly bettered myself the people close to me who I would have relied on for support, instead constantly tried to drag me back. 

I was scarred for a long time after my business failed in 2008 and I almost lost everything, by those people telling me I was never meant to succeed and may be now I’d learned my lesson, get back in my box and stop trying to be something I wasn’t.  They almost got into my head, I almost believed I was never meant to be anything than what I’d been born in to.  It took a lot of courage to come back from that and to fight off the nay sayer’s but, I did it and carried on. 

Now I am proud of my story, what I’ve achieved and don’t have a problem talking about it.  I’ve only in the past six months learned how to use social media, which was a little out of my comfort zone and I did feel exposed after staying hidden all these years but I enjoy posting about my little farm the good and the bad.

You’d think with all those experiences I’d be able to tackle anything effortlessly, with confidence and laugh in the face of fear! 

However, where I don’t mind talking about my past and my journey and posting about general things going on, I don’t have social media for personal use and would never put personal posts on and I don’t talk about personal things on my farm pages.  But this week I did.

I posted something personal that happened on Monday about my ex and his ridiculous demands for settlement of the farm and the stress I felt in that moment.  I don’t know why I did it.  Where I might post I’ve had a stressful day without elaborating on why, this day I just couldn’t hold it in, and again in the moment through sheer frustration and anger I just blurted it out!

First, I felt relief to get it out because I was angry!  I wanted to shout about it, and I guess metaphorically I did, you can’t get much louder than blasting your business on Facebook!

When I’d calmed down a few hours later I felt mortified for airing my dirty laundry in public and wanted to pull the post.  I now found myself so far out of my comfort zone I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

With that said, I left the post for two beautiful reasons that have made my heart just swell.  The kindness, well wishes and support I have received from my followers, complete strangers - publicly and privately has absolutely humbled me.  I am so grateful to feel surrounded by so many kind and loving people and to know that I’m not alone has felt very comforting.

The second reason I left the post is because of the messages I received from people who are going through a similar thing and how the post gave them comfort and made them feel less alone.    

I am still embarrassed and uncomfortable to have posted my business and certainly won’t be making a habit out of it, but on the other hand I feel like I’ve grown again through stepping so far out.

Over the past few months I’ve been working on a project I’m really passionate about and proud of. Part of it really tested me and completing parts of it made me feel very uncomfortable.  My Dog Skills for Humans course has been a work in progress for months, I initially started filming myself training the Scottie clan so I could record our progress and I posted some clips on social media.  As the interest in what I was doing grew and more people contacted me for help with their dog my workload tripled, and I soon found myself spending more time helping people with their dogs than anything else!  I got so many requests for help I had to turn people away.  So, I decided to package everything I know into a course which would help many people at once which would also help me with the added income from course sales, win, win.

But!  This meant I’d have to do videos with me in them and I struggle with having my photo taken!  I’m very camera shy and hate being on film I always have.  The thought of public speaking terrifies me (not that I ever plan on doing it – but then who knows!) Dog skills for humans was something I really wanted to do so had to again step way out of my comfort zone and get used to the idea that I would have to be seen!

 

My youngest daughter Molly who’s very experienced with filming, editing etc was keen to get involved and volunteered to help but bless her, her patience was tested with my constant stammering and a video that should have taken ten minutes to film ended up taking three hours!

We got there in the end and despite the fact I cringed at every video with me in I am so very proud of the result and myself because it really did take a lot for me to get over that fear.

I thought I’d finished growing, I didn’t think I could push myself any further to get on in life but there is always more to strive for, always new levels to reach. 

More importantly to me than anything else, Molly was so proud of me when we’d finished filming. She’d watched me struggle the whole way through, but I didn’t give up because I believe in what we were doing.

Comfort zones are an illusion we blow up in our mind to be something they really aren’t.  Nine times out of ten once we’ve overcome what ever was worrying us we wonder why we were worried in the first place!

Much love.  Stay safe, strong and positive

Erica x

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