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Step (or Polar Bear Swim) Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Perhaps you, like me, have got to the end of a week or month and think, “what just happened? Where did the week go?” Time, as they say, flies and our lives can often seem incredibly short. There’s a commercial for a travel company, where a man asks if at the end of life we will regret the things we didn’t buy, or rather the places we didn’t go. I’d also add to the places we didn’t go, the things we didn’t do. Enter my foray into polar bear swimming.

I’ve had a few people see on social media that I did a polar bear swim at noon on January 1, 2023 (my 4th such swim) and either want to join next year, think I’m nuts, or applaud my polar bear swimming efforts, while also thinking I’m nuts. This polar bear swim started a few years ago with a good friend of mine, Dawn, who was able to round up a few brave and daring friends to start the new year off with a little bit of a shock to the system and a dip in our frigid North Thompson river. We all need friends like Dawn to take the lead to do these kind of zany things sometimes! I like taking the polar plunge because it’s the reset I need to remember to push myself a bit in life. It’s something to look forward to, something to do that’s out of the ordinary, and something to look back at with a sense of accomplishment (as soon as my fingers and toes warmed up again).

What can you do this upcoming year that is outside of your comfort zone? I have five suggestions:

  1. Join a Board: look for a Board of Directors for a non-profit organization doing work you’re passionate about and apply to join with the skill sets you bring. You’ll not only be helping to build capacity with your talents, but you’re certain to learn a lot.

  2. Volunteer: volunteer for an event you know little to nothing about. By signing up and participating, you’re bound to learn something new and meet a whole group of new people outside of your current networks.

  3. Publish a blog post: or write an article about what you know or how you feel about a topic. I’m always surprised at the number of people who have such good stories to tell, yet they feel no one will be interested.

  4. Donate blood: I hate having blood tests, so giving blood was terrifying for me. But I did it, and it was an amazing experience and life saving for someone in the future. If you need motivation, do it in honour or in memory of someone special who has needed blood.

  5. Mentor someone: it may be as simple as connecting with a local university or school and their mentorship program, or you can connect with Futurpreneur as they’re always looking for businesspeople to help guide others through learned experience and their expertise.

Don’t let 2023 pass you by without doing something outside your comfort zone as it will give you something to look forward to, something new to try, and something to look back at proudly.

And if you want to kick off 2024 in the best way, come polar bear swimming with me!


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