How do you feel when you decide to do something new, like learning to dance? Do you feel excited; maybe nervous? Hopefully, not panicky!
Do you find that as soon as you get to a new class, you have these thoughts going through your mind:
- Do I like it?
- What’s going on?
- I want to leave!
- Hallelujah! It’s not too bad!
- Shall I give it another go?
A new experience can be uncomfortable. This is quite understandable as there is so much that is unknown and you’re probably out of your Comfort Zone!
Over the Christmas break I enjoyed being very comfortable. Getting up late, watching DVDs, eating tasty food, staying under the duvet for a whole morning, doing what I wanted when I felt like it . . . . that was very comfortable indeed! The Comfort Zone is where things are familiar, where we feel comfortable, where we don’t have to take any risks. So why come out of our Comfort Zone?
When we want to learn something new or get to know the unknown, we have to leave our Comfort Zone and in doing so we discover the Learning Zone, which lies just outside of our secure environment. In other words, the Comfort Zone is where things are familiar so that is a very comfortable place to be. The Learning Zone is where things are new and unfamiliar so this can feel quite uncomfortable. We need to come out of our Comfort Zone a little in order to grow and learn.
Some people are accustomed to feeling uncomfortable and have learnt to be comfortable about being uncomfortable. Some people are less used to this and can feel anxious and even panic when they venture into the Learning Zone.
Being in the Learning Zone will bring new experiences, with so much that is unknown. You may have several questions such as . . . . will I keep up, will I look foolish, what will everyone be wearing, what do I need to be able to do before joining in . . .. the list goes on.
One of the best ways to feel comfortable about something you don’t know about is to get some information. Make a list of questions that can stop you from trying a new dance class and contact the organiser for information. We get new members joining us at Lindy Jazz every week and I love answering their questions. So instead of imagining or speculating about something you as yet, have no experience of, just look up the contact details of a dance class or dance teacher and ask questions.
Well, here’s the other bit of good news. After trying a new class for the first time, you’re no longer new. The next time you come along to the same class, it’s no longer your first time and you will find that you will be so much more relaxed as things would now be more familiar.
As I am writing this in the lovely quiet period between Christmas and New Year and thinking of a couple of new things I want to check out, I want to share with you a few easy steps to trying a new class.
- Step 1: Shop around – Pay a one-off visit to a couple of classes.
- Step 2: Stay for a while – Find a class that suits you and stay the course; whether it’s a drop in class or a 6-week course, decide how long you want to commit and stay the course.
- Step 3: Review – Tried this for a few weeks, stayed for a course and found that it’s not for you? Then try a different class and start exploring again. Love it? Then stick with it.
- Step 4: Persevere – I believe that the secret of success is ‘stickability’. Once you’ve identified your favourite class, persevere with it. Don’t let one single experience among the natural ups and downs of your feelings from week to week dictate your decision to stay or go. If you want to learn a fantastic skill, go for it!
Happy New Year! And Happy Dancing!