By Jordan Haefling, a member of the current SkillCorps team in Kenya
During our orientation in New York, we as a team participated in a comfort zone exercise. We discussed things as simple as “how comfortable do you feel not wearing a seatbelt in a car,” all the way to “how comfortable would you feel if you had worms in your toilet?” (For me, very comfortable on the no seatbelt issue and extremely uncomfortable on the toilet worms). I really thought I was comfortable with most circumstances regarding work, which made me confident going into this trip and walking into the center this morning…and then Pooja handed us staff evaluations.
Now, let me be clear, I am all for evaluations. However, in the past when I have given an evaluation, it has been to a peer. Someone who knew me and who I felt confident enough to observe without feeling awkward. Today I was given an evaluation form for someone I had met only about an hour before. My anxiety level was high, and I was definitely catapulted very far outside of my comfort zone.
Luckily for me, my anxiety was often interrupted by interacting with the kids. It could’ve been something as small as a hand squeeze, or something as big as trying to be dragged into a dance party. The smiles and laughing were infectious and it reminded of me why I decided to apply for SkillCorps. For right now, I am here for this center, this staff, and the kids here but my message is for the centers, the staff, and the kids around the world. I was able to look past the here and now and look at the greater picture.
So, yes, my comfort zone was truly shattered today, but that has given me the learning experience to walk into the center tomorrow with a different outlook and a wider comfort zone.