Gemma McCaw on stepping out of your comfort zone

You can do anything! Step up, be confident and play to your strengths.

Former Black Sticks captain Gemma McCaw has made a career out of being fit and healthy, so she knows a thing or two about wellness. Each week Gemma shares her tips on how to live healthier, from getting started on your fitness to how to increase your water intake. This week she gives her advice on how to improve your confidence.

When I finished up with the Black Sticks, naturally I had some fleeting worries about what might come along next.

I’d played hockey for so long that it was hard to imagine a life without it and I didn’t want to cut myself off entirely from something I love so much.

When I was approached about fronting the recent hockey on Sky TV, it meant stepping out of my comfort zone. I was excited, but doing live TV wasn’t something I’d done much before!

I loved every minute of it and learnt a lot throughout the tournament. It was a great reminder to be brave and open yourself up to new experiences. And when one chapter closes, you have to be excited by what’s ahead rather than look back at what you’re missing.

Know your strengths

There are ways to increase your confidence. Instead of focusing on any shortcomings, remind yourself about all the things you’re good at. It won’t be easy at first, but start focusing on what is right with you, rather than what is wrong.

Research suggests those who know and use their strengths are much more likely to flourish in life. You’ll be amazed how many great strengths you have and before long, you’ll have far more self-belief!

Be open to change

It’s tempting to say no to change, but make sure you give every opportunity or offer that comes your way plenty of thought. Yes, trying new things isn’t always easy and taking big steps can be daunting, but

it’s good to remember that others have backed you, so why not back yourself? Have a can-do attitude rather than an “I don’t think I can” one.

Support others along the way

Remember to look out for others around you who might also need help – we should be supporting each other to be the absolute best every step of the way.

A small compliment or piece of constructive feedback can go a long way. If you notice someone doing well, tell them. And as Nana says, walk a mile in someone’s footsteps before you judge others – we never know what someone else is going through.

Gemma with Bernadine Oliver-Kerby

Choose your mentor

Whether it’s a new job or even just a new hobby, there are always others to learn from and usually people are very happy to help if you go to them for advice. Sitting next to Bernadine Oliver-Kerby at Sky was fantastic – she’s a broadcasting guru so I made sure I watched, listened and soaked it all up.

Send any questions you have for gemma to [email protected] or Woman’s Day, Private Bag 92512, Wellesley Street, Auckland.

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