Stepping outside your comfort zone

Personal finance can be as intimidating as walking into a dance class. But getting past your inhibitions can really pay off, just follow Bruce Sellery’s lead.

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by Bruce Sellery
February 22nd, 2012

Online only.

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Question

I know I need to get more involved in my finances, but I’m having a really hard time getting going. Any advice?

Answer

I was thinking about your question at my Zumba class last night in Vancouver. Janet, the instructor, was fun, friendly and totally rocked the routine. As did most of the exuberant, Lululemon-clad women busting out their best moves to a playlist of pop, salsa and disco.

And then there was me: The only dude in room.

If it had been a wedding reception and I was fueled by an open bar, old friends, and 80s music, I could have totally kept up. But instead it was my first time at a Zumba class and I was, without a doubt, the worst one there.

I had been thinking about going to a class like this for months, but was “having a really hard time getting going.” Sound familiar?

Why was it so hard for me? Fear. Fear of looking stupid and not getting it right.

Fear is at the root of procrastination, and my hunch is that’s what is going on with you. But rather than try to process your fear, hide it, or overcome it, I would recommend you acknowledge that you are likely going to be fearful as you move outside of your comfort zone. ’Twas ever thus. That way, you won’t sit there waiting for the fear to dissipate. It probably won’t anyway, so don’t waste your time.

Pushing outside of your comfort zone is really valuable in life. If you don’t get anywhere near the edge of it you stagnate and learn nothing. If you go too far outside it you run the risk of over-extending yourself and shutting down (which, by the way, is what happened to me when I tried a hip hop class once a few years ago). But if you push to the edge of your comfort zone, you’ll be where the most learning occurs.

I have been leading personal finance workshops for years and I find many of the attendees have to stretch outside of their comfort zone to show up. You’re heading in the right direction by surfing MoneySense.ca. I’d also recommend picking up a money book to give you some more structure. Buy or borrow one and set a deadline to finish reading it. Here are some suggestions:

Zumba was totally outside my comfort zone. But I registered, got myself into that room, and in the end, was glad I did.

Getting more involved in your finances is outside your comfort zone. Buy yourself a book, commit to a deadline and in the end, you’ll be glad you did.

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Please send your money questions to Bruce Sellery at ask@moneysense.ca.

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