Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
I thought I knew what that meant but it has come to my realization that I have been living in my comfort zone my whole life. I thought that just because I was doing things that others wouldn’t dare do (like live in Cape Town away from my family for a year) I was living up to that statement; but I wasn’t.
The reality is my comfort zone is in doing the amazing, moving around constantly, and going on adventures that some would only dream of going on. I have been moving and going on adventures all of my life; that is the way I was raised. My parents have always pushed me to be independent and make my own path in this world. So I have actually been living and breathing the life I was raised to have. That doesn’t sound too much out of my comfort zone now does it?
It wasn’t until recently when I received some difficult constructive criticism that I realized it was time for me to truly step out of this zone I have been in since I arrived in Cape Town. Honestly, I had gotten so into the routine of waking up and going to work everyday that I didn’t realize I haven’t been challenging myself to do the uncomfortable. What is uncomfortable to me is what normal working adults do everyday.
I HATE making phone calls! It isn’t the just sitting and chatting with friends on the phone, phone calls that make me cringe. It is the call up a company or organization and book something or get sponsorship, etc. that makes me want to run to the hills and hide. I don’t know where my anxiety in that comes from but when I tell you that I will avoid making a phone call at all costs, I’m not joking.
But you know that God has a big sense of humor and he has sent me to a country that if you don’t call, you wont receive. Yes I can get away with sending some companies emails and they will respond in a timely manner. But the majority of people need that extra nudge of a phone call to get anything out of them. As you can probably gather, I have been doing a horrible job at this and my managers decided it was time to steer me into the right direction.
At first it was easy for me to get in a huff about it and feel defeated but then the voices of my parents came into my head and I knew what I had to do. This week I am proud to say that I have been a lean, mean calling machine. Yes I have sent emails out, but they were follow up emails to calls I had already made. Sitting here typing this brings me a great sense of accomplishment just thinking about it. I still get a bit nervous making calls (Rome wasn’t built in one day) but I have defiantly gotten better in the confidence department.
Sometimes you need a little constructive criticism to get mad about and then change (or at least I do). There were definitely other things they said I can work on and you bes’ believe I have been working to be better in those areas as well. The last thing I would want to do is be a burden as an intern rather than an asset. Moving forward, I feel like I can be more effective as an intern knowing what I can improve on!
When looking for an internship or volunteering program abroad, it is so important to look for an organization that will take the time with you to help you see improvement in areas you may not see yourself. African Impact sits down with volunteer half-way through their stay to get their feedback on how things are going. This not only helps African Impact improve their daily operations through volunteer feedback but it also allows volunteers to ask questions and be an active participant in the organization. To me, this is one of the most important things you can do as a volunteer organization.
Since I wrote my last blog so late, it encompassed most of the excitement of the past few weeks. Reaching two fundraising goals was a huge accomplishment and it drives me to want to do more. I may not seem outwardly excited about everything, all of the time (that’s not me) but I love the feeling of accomplishment when finishing a goal and that’s what drives me. When I see the kids on the next GAPA field trip and the children play street cricket, I will feel overwhelming bliss.
Until next time... Here are some (much needed) pictures!