I tend to mostly only do things I’m good at.
I’m not sure if that’s how most people function, but I assume so.
In general, if I’m not very good at something, I don’t do it at all or at least try to avoid it.
For example, I’m not much of a cook. I have burned water and destroyed pots more times than I care to admit. (I mean, I’ll occasionally cook for myself, but luckily my partner is an amazing cook and I am amazing at taking us out to eat!)
Things that come very easily to me: teaching, learning, being in school, reading, Facebook and social media.
So, getting my master’s degree while teaching elementary school at the same time…no biggie.
Learning and then teaching about how to use Facebook to grow your business? That’s my jam.
One thing that does not come easily to me: technical stuff
I find that being good at social media and being tech savvy are often confused as the same thing. They are not.
But then, I was given an amazing opportunity, to go with one of my social media clients to Japan…as her tech support.
I said yes and booked my flight about 3 weeks before the trip, honestly not fully considering the whole having to do tech support work part, more focusing on the fact that:
- I was getting to go to Japan with people that feel like family
- The life-changing classes Kass facilitates all over the world are a joy to be in
- We had hosts with all the classes and translators who were able to show us sides of the country that I would have never seen as just a tourist
- I love Japanese food, at least the Americanized Japanese food
- Once I got there and realized the full extent of the tech stuff I had to do, honestly, it was pretty overwhelming, and a lot of things went wrong.
My tech support job included a few things.
- Making sure we were creating audio recordings both in English and in Japanese
- Filming video when appropriate
- Uploading all of the recording to send out to participants
- Making sure all the mics were working
- Connecting Zoom for the online classes
- And biggest of all, making sure all the translation equipment was working
The classes all had simultaneous translation. This is a super cool (and super fancy) feature where the facilitator speaks in one language (in this case English) into a mic at the front of the room. The translators sit in the back, speaking so softly in a different language (in this case, Japanese) into a little mic that’s connected to tiny translation boxes that each participants wears with headphones so they can hear the English from the front of the class if they prefer and the Japanese in their earpiece just a few seconds later. It makes everything go quite fast, because there’s no real stopping for the translators to catch up.
The tech side of this is super confusing (at least for me), but the reward for participants is amazing. Also, you have to have some kick-ass translators for this to happen effectively.
I won’t bore you with the detail, but I will tell you that almost everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong at some point. The first day of class, I basically spent in complete panic, judging myself for messing everything up.
Thank goodness I had help from Hannes, the main tech support guy who stayed up late into the night from his home in Europe to solve issues (on more than one occasion), and my friend Karen, who was there as part of the team and who, as a professional jazz singer understands sound equipment.
So, here’s the thing, by the end of the experience, I still can’t say I’m good at tech support. (Though the translators did thank me for doing a good job and making things easy on them.)
But I am so grateful I stepped out of my comfort zone. Here’s why:
1. I learned a ton about myself and how I operate. I started judging myself so quickly for not being good enough at this, even though at least 70% of the things that went wrong were actually the fault of the equipment. And 100% of the time, I figured out a solution, even if it took a bit longer than I’d have liked.
While it doesn’t sound like a great thing to learn how much I judge myself, to me, it’s actually kinda awesome because when I realize that I’m doing it and making myself wrong, I also have the choice to stop doing that.
And funny enough, realizing how quickly I make myself wrong with the tech stuff, also led to me realizing how quickly I make myself wrong in so many others areas of my life. So now, I’m working on changing that.
2. This trip was so amazing in so many ways!
I went on an awesome adventure, filled with so many new and fun things!
Japan is such an amazing country filled with some of the sweetest, kindest, most gentle people I have ever met.
I got to learn about the people, the food, and the land in ways I never would have as a tourist.
I ate such delicious food the entire trip. I was gone for 17 days and spent the first part in Tokyo and the 2nd part in Kyoto, where they basically invented tofu. So this tofu-loving vegetarian was immensely happy.
Also, almost every time, I was lucky to have someone with me who spoke Japanese to help me figure out what I could actually eat that was vegetarian.
I left with new friends that I can’t wait to see again somewhere in the world.
I got to travel across the globe with friends who I love, none of whom I get to see in person very often, since they literally live all over the world.
Oh, and how fun is this?! I got to give a little presentation about using Facebook to grow your business, which means I can officially say I’m an international speaker! (In the past, I’ve really only presented at local and online events.)
So, while I was definitely waaaay outside my comfort zone, it was entirely worthwhile.
Have you ever been rewarded for stepping outside your comfort zone? Tell me about it in the comments below or in my Facebook Group HERE.
P.S. Here’s a few fun pics from my time in Japan!