I went traveling to Mexico in August. Besides the fear of a language barrier – the best I can do is “Un hamburguesa, por favor y cerveza.” – I was sure the whole trip would be fraught with disaster.
I’ve you’ve ever visited a foreign country, you’ll know that the first time you go there can be a daunting experience – especially if you’re on your own. They’ll have different currency. They’ll most likely speak a different language and not everyone will understand English. They may drive on the other side of the road. Their laws, customs and outlook on life will be different as well. You’ll have to quickly learn what to expect and what’s expected of you. You’ll be outside of your comfort zone, big time!
Just like when you’re visiting a foreign country, you’ll find the unfamiliar territory outside your comfort zone easier to navigate when you have a map and a phrase book.
Another good name for a map is a plan. The best way to formulate a plan is to begin at the end and work backwards to the start.
This means your plan is guaranteed to work. Before you do this, you’ve got to do that; before you do that, you’ve got to do something else, and so on. You can also work in a “Plan B” at the same time so if you encounter a “roadblock” you’ll be able to get around it with ease.
You’ll also be able to find out if your plan WON’T work before you even start. Before you do this, you’ve got to do that; before you do that you’ve got to. You know the work I’m talking about.
Knowing where you’re going, being sure of your route there, being able to understand what people are saying and how to make yourself understood can all help to ensure the time outside of your comfort zone is as stress-free as possible.