Marby Tabungar is an international student from the Philippines, currently completing a Masters of Human Resource Management. She’s passionate about learning and writing. She has co-written the book Destination Facilitation published by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) in the US. She’s also a writer and editor for local publications in the Philippines.


I am from the Philippines, so coming to Australia to study wasn’t easy for me. I had to leave my so-called ‘comfort zone’: my family and friends, my home. But I took on the challenge because, why not?

We sometimes get stuck in our life because of our fear to do things we’ve never done before. Either it’s meeting new people, starting a hobby, or even just improving our study habits. Introducing change can make us feel overwhelmed and threatened and if we don’t overcome it, nothing new will happen to our life and we will be filled with what ifs. And let me tell you, a life that’s full of regret isn’t a fun story to share when your hair is gray. As a Learning and Development professional, it has been my passion to encourage people to develop themselves – not to please or benefit others, but themselves alone.

I, too, have my own share of stories about getting outside my comfort zone. In fact, I have so many that now I sometimes don’t know what my comfort zone really is! I’ve taken on projects that I have no idea how to go about, I’ve shifted to a different career, I’ve opened up a business, and a lot more. Recently, I tried getting into a new hobby – biking. I was never athletic and since I’ve had kids, exercise and fitness have been at the bottom of my priority list (which is not ideal, I know).

One day I thought, ‘I just want to bike to the city,’ and so I did. I live in Jesmond, so going to the city is about 15 kilometres in distance and a lot of it is uphill. I knew I’d be so tired, and might even quit in the middle and just come back home. But I thought it was really worth a try. To cut a long story short, I was able to do it, and I even went to see Nobbys Breakwall! I was so tired, but it was such a beautiful experience. I was able to overcome my hesitations and just did it. A week after that, I went to Glenrock State Reserve where I biked 11 kilometres and hiked for an hour to see another beautiful site in Newcastle. Both of these experiences were new to me and I’m glad and proud that I’ve done it. I learned that my body is capable of so much more than walking to uni, lol.



So the point is, if there’s anything you want to do or have been thinking about for a long time, do it! Do you fear failure? Well, guess what – the most successful people have gone through the worst (some even reached rock bottom) in their lives before they became successful. Have you heard the story of Jack Ma or Steve Jobs? What I’m saying is that we should not allow our apprehensions to stop us from changing. You’re probably thinking, ‘It’s easier said than done!’ Hey, I think that’s true. So let me help you. Since change can be overwhelming, you have to prepare for it. Here are the things that I do to overcome my fear, take on a new challenge, and thrive in it.


1. Know what your heart desires and why

There are other terms for this: passion and purpose. And these can be your inspiration. Simon Sinek is famous for his book and concept of ‘Start with Why’. He talks about starting with a purpose to influence a behavior. So if you want to do something new, ask yourself, ‘Why do I want to do this?’ Whether it’s a small or big change, you have to know why it matters to you to spark change and get you moving.

2. Plan for the change

Do you believe that there’s always an easier and better way to do things? I do! And it has helped me a gazillion times! When planning to implement change in your life, you have to find out what your obstacles are and then create a strategy to get rid of them. Assess yourself and your environment to identify your challenges. If you want to be fit and live a healthier life, for example, know the things that stop you. Is it your eating habits or your busy schedule not allowing you to work out? Then plan to make it work. The goal is to make it conducive for you to implement changes.

3. Get help and support

Remember, ‘no man is an island’. You can’t do it alone. You need to find people who can help you and make sure that you have a strong support group. I am blessed to have a very supportive family who push me to do the things I love or experience something new. And when things don’t work out, they are still there to cheer me up. You can also find mentors or coaches who can help you. If not, find someone in your network who has done the same thing and ask for their help. Most of the time, people are very willing to help. You can also join support groups available through social media.

4. Enjoy

Do you know what the best part of change is? It’s the process of learning as you go through the journey. It is the beauty of getting to know yourself even more, your strengths and even the things you would need to improve to make you a better person. Plus, you can also meet people along the way who can inspire you to achieve your goals. So just do your thing and have fun.

5. Repeat

If you fail, you’re doing it right! Ironic isn’t it? When you feel that you are failing, it means that you’ve started something new, and that’s a great start and the most important thing. It means you are entering a new learning curve. You just need to process the experience, and identify the things you think you’ve done really well and those you could’ve done better. And then try it all over again.

There are heaps of materials that talk about change. It’s a very interesting topic but apparently not everyone embraces it in their own lives. One of the simplest changes I’ve made in my life is keeping my files and documents organized. But to be honest, that change had a huge impact on my productivity because I now know where to find stuff which saves me time and energy. So if you are facing problems now and you think you need to change something, go ahead! It will all be worth it, I promise you.



About Marby

Marby Tabungar is an international student from the Philippines currently taking Masters of Human Resource Management. In her 11 years of professional experience, she has worked with multi-national corporations specialising in Human Resource Management and Learning and Development. She’s passionate about learning and writing. She has co-written the book Destination Facilitation, published by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) in the US. She’s also a writer and editor for local publications in the Philippines.

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