This blog goes hand-in-hand with a technical topic yours truly presented on the net. I was a little hesitant to present it because, it’s not really a technical topic so much as a personal growth topic that can involve ham radio. In fact, it most definitely *should* involve ham radio. I originally thought this topic was tailored to women because I’m sorry to say that I think as women, we suffer more from confidence issues than men do. But as I got further into it, I realized… it applies to everyone. Men and women alike get snuggly and warm in our little comfort-zone cocoon. Sometimes the cocoon gets a little suffocating.
Have you ever noticed we are naturally drawn to things we are good at and comfortable doing? It’s a natural evolution, I guess. You find you have a gift for something, and you follow it down the golden path, succeeding at every turn because you were born to do a particular thing and it’s as natural to you as eating, sleeping or breathing. Because these things are so easy for us, we tend to discount their worthiness. We assume because it’s easy for us, everyone else can do these things, too. Natural talents provide and easy-to-travel road.
The magic happens when we gravitate to things we are *not* good at and do them anyway. Challenges are where the growth happens. If you’re not uncomfortable every now and then, you’re not growing and what’s more, you’re limiting yourself. Obstacles in our path are there to teach us many things, but above and beyond that, they are an opportunity to prove ourselves to ourselves.
Now, you’re wondering what all this psycho-babble has to do with ham radio, right? Well, lem’me tell you. When I became a ham, I became aware very quickly how deep the water was and how far in over my head I had actually ventured.
There have been *many* opportunities to challenge myself, trust me. Getting on the air, trying net control, starting a new net, plus lots of other public speaking situations that I typically avoid at all costs. There is too much involved in ham radio for it to come naturally to anyone.
As for me, I’ve learned to let the fear guide me. These days, I actually seek out what I’m afraid of. As a reward, I’ve done things I *never* thought I could do because I was too busy telling myself I couldn’t. My reward for pushing passed the fear has been a huge burst of self-confidence and the pride that comes from knowing I have the courage to do what needs to be done, even when I’m scared.
Try it. The benefits are numerous, but here’s a few:
YOU MOVE PAST PERFECTIONISM
This is a big one for me. In the past, if I wasn’t going to be immediately successful at something, I avoided it like the plague. The minute I started embracing challenges, my life changed. Success is so much sweeter when there is a greater risk of failure. (“With great risk comes great reward.”)
YOU INSPIRE OTHERS
People notice what you do more than what you say. If you challenge yourself, you become a role model for others. Taking risks and believing in yourself allows others to do the same.
YOU HAVE NO REGRETS
Personally, I don’t want to get to the end of my life and think, “Gee, I wish I’d had the courage to do ______.” I’d rather just ante up, do it now and feel the pride that comes from trying. If I fall, I will get up, dust off, and get back to it. I cannot fail if I do not quit.
YOU TRULY DEFINE YOURSELF
If you push out of your comfort zone and explore the things you naturally shy away from, you truly and authentically define who you are. You break free of the self-imposed limitations. You may even find out that you excel at things you once feared.
YOU GAIN CONTROL
Okay, I know pushing yourself outside the zone doesn’t sound like being in control. It’s walking the tightrope without a net. But if *YOU* are the one who forces yourself outside the comfort zone, then *YOU* are the one in control. You control your destiny. You set the terms of how to live your own life. How cool is that?
YOU LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST
Leaving your comfort zone can create a tremendous feeling of euphoria and self-respect. You will learn what you are truly capable of. I promise, it’s far greater and more expansive than you could have ever imagined.
Let’s apply this to ham radio. Look around at all the different parts of ham and ask yourself, “What is it that I instinctively shy away from?” As uncomfortable as this suggestion sounds, find what makes you hesitate, then double-down and go for it. Take it slow or fast, but push yourself in a not-so-comfortable direction and see what happens.
Here’s a few things the Elmer and I came up with while brainstorming. (Thanks KB0DBJ) Try a few and see if they expand your ham world.
1.) Take a person who asks you about your “CB” and get them licensed.
2.) Upgrade your license.
3.) Tell all your girlfriends you’re a ham and see if you can get them licensed.
4.) Learn CW.
5.) Learn to work around the mic fright.
6.) Try mobile storm spotting.
7.) Learn to work the math formulas.
8.) Teach a subject to someone else.
9.) Try a new band.
10.) Investigate APRS and digipeating.
11.) Elmer someone.
12.) Start a new club, revive an old one.
13.) Try contesting.
14.) Try soldering.
15.) Design your own storm antenna.
16.) Climb a tower.
17.) Visit a new (to you) ham club.
18.) Plan a radioactive camping expedition. (Google it.)
19.) Organize a fox hunt.
20.) Try your hand at net control.
21.) Work a special event.