It surprises people when I tell them that, although I am comfortable in a familiar situation or with familiar people, I am incredibly shy.

Paralyzingly shy.

Most people are unaware of this fact because as soon as I find someone I know or I finally relax, I turn into a chatty-Cathy. I pride myself on a pretty good conversationalist, so once I relax enough to talk to you, you’d never know my initial hesitation to approach you.

Let me give you an example: If I go to a networking happy hour, I spend the first 10-15 minutes standing awkwardly by the bar watching (and envying) groups of people who know each other, or are at least more at ease in these situations, chat and have a great time.

Only after a while do I start to relax or do I finally muster up the courage to talk to someone standing near me. Once I have that person I’m comfortable with, I spend the rest of the evening chatting with everyone, no hesitation present.

Even with my initial shyness (which = dread), I continue to go to these networking happy hours. Not only do they potentially help me in my career, they push me completely out of my comfort zone.

And for some bizarre reason, putting myself into situations that are scary, comfort zone-shattering, and awkward really empowers me.

That probably explains why I went to Spain all by myself. And why I go to these happy hours by myself. And why I move every year.

Beyond the empowering feeling, I’ve been trying to figure out the underlying WHY I do this to myself.  I mean, besides the fact that I’ve been able to meet some incredible people, do amazing things,  see things I’d never imagined I would see, and learn things I would never have learned otherwise.

Why do I not just stay in my comfort zone where it’s safe, protected, and predictable?

It’s safe there. It’s predictable. There’s nothing to fear, and…

It’s boring!

I fear becoming complacent, which might be an issue in and of itself, but I think it’s my true motivator. I want to be a dynamic person. I love being busy and doing lots of different things and if that involves putting myself out there, then so be it.

I’m a huge fan of meetup.com and all the different groups you can join. When I was first single, I went to a bunch of the events planned. I met a lot of people and went and experienced parts of Denver I never knew about before.

I love pushing myself and trying new things. If I were to sit at home and watch tv and movies all day, I would have hardly anything to bring to the table– except for a memorization of the tv guide.

Going new places, trying new things, meeting new people– that seems like the perfect life. If that involves moving to another city/state/country, changing jobs, joining new groups– bring it on!

I have a personal motto that revolves around the idea of never saying no to something new. It has helped immensely in my dating life, because I’ve gotten many a free meal from saying yes to any date. But I’ve also met an array of different people because of that. But it can even be as simple as trying new foods– escargot, anyone?

If you push yourself to do something that scares you, you grow as a person and you also walk away from the situation knowing you did something new. Challenging yourself in ways that you never have before changes you–how could you not want that?

I love change and I love trying new things. If I don’t change, I’ll never know the immense world I’m missing!

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