how-to-embarrass-your-way-to-social-freedomIn April 2015 I started doing Till Gross’s Comfort Zone Crusher Challenges: a series of events where you intentionally put yourself in embarrassing, awkward or uncomfortable situations. The challenges range from howling like a wolf in public, to lying down in a busy public space, to dancing in public, to doing push ups in public, and more. I’ll leave a link below to my You Tube channel so you can see me doing these challenges.

I can hear you asking the question, “Why would anyone in their right mind do these challenges? I would be too embarrassed to do that.” And that, my friend, is exactly why you need to do these challenges: so you embarrass your way to social freedom.

Too many of us live within our comfort zones because we’re afraid of the ‘what ifs.’ What if I approach that pretty girl and she rejects me? I want to quit my job and start my own business, but what if it fails? What if I give a presentation at work and freeze up and forget everything? It’s just too damn risky, right? The last thing you want to do is look like a fool, heaven forbid. But here’s the thing and you’ve heard this before: life begins outside of the comfort zone. And as Susan Jeffers says in her book “Feel The Fear…And Do It Anyway” you can handle it.

Each of the comfort zone challenges is designed to help understand that you can handle anything that comes your way. By stepping out of your comfort zone and intentionally embarrassing yourself you begin to stop being so self-conscious and caring what people think. Further, each challenge helps you better manage your fears, shyness and anxieties by building up your ‘do’ muscle. Whereas you once hesitated or made excuses not to do something you now take action. You learn how turn fear into fuel and move towards what scares you.

Before doing these challenges I used to get embarrassed easily and worried people would think less of me or laugh at me if I did something ‘out of the ordinary,’ like going out by myself, or spilling my coffee in a busy mall. I used to procrastinate…a lot. I reckon I was the biggest procrastinator in the world. Of course, that was just my perfectionist mentality. Everything had to be perfect before I’d even think about doing it. These challenges helped me overcome all of that. I now subscribe to the mantra:”better done now than perfect.” If you visit my You Tube channel you’ll see what I mean. It’s not that I’m sloppy or don’t take pride in my work. It’s quite the opposite. But rather than wait until I get the right equipment and whatnot I work with what I got.

I built up the confidence to start going to bars and clubs by myself from doing the challenges. The first few times I was slightly nervous, but the more I did it the easier it got. I now go out by myself most of the time. It’s not that I don’t have anyone to go with its just something I enjoy doing these days. Besides, I can go where I want, when I want and I get to meet new and interesting people. If you’re wanting to revamp your social skills I definitely recommend going out by yourself.

Even though I had overcome the fear of going to bars and clubs by myself I still had a hard time eating solo in a busy restaurant or travelling interstate and overseas by myself. I tried it a few times but became so overwhelmed with panic and anxiety. “What the hell is going on?” I’d asked myself. “Why am I struggling with this?” I also experienced the same panic and anxiety talking to a group of beautiful women or giving a speech in front of a large audience. “This is ridiculous. I approach beautiful women all the time. I give presentations at work and I’m a Toastmaster ( a member of an international public speaking group). This doesn’t make sense at all.”

And then it dawned to me. These social situations are ‘next level.’ That is, they are a degree above my experience level and what I had become comfortable with. Just like an assistant manager stepping up to a more senior role I needed more training and experience in these areas. So, I created Next Level Comfort Zone Challenges. These challenges take you to your edge, but don’t push you over it. Some of the challenges involve wearing an outrageous wig in public and starting a conversation with a stranger, wearing a mask in public and saying hi to people walking by, and recording yourself walking down a busy street having an argument with yourself about how much you love yourself!

By doing these challenges I have become comfortable eating solo in a busy restaurant, approaching a group of beautiful women, giving speeches in front of a large audience, and travelling by myself. I am no longer held back from doing anything. I wanted others to experience the same so I created a Facebook group called ‘Change Through Action.’ This is a small group of incredibly brave people committed to embarrassing their way to social freedom.

Michael Riley,

Daily Zen.

Author Bio – Michael Riley is the founder of IamMichaelRiley, a blog that helps men become better with women and relationships and everyone become their best version in all areas of life. If you’re curious about ‘Next Level Comfort Zone Challenges’ why not join the Change Through Action Facebook group. You can also check out Michael doing Comfort Zone Challenges on his You Tube channel.