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Get out of your comfort zone, conquering my fears in a pig hollering contest

It isn’t easy to get out of your comfort zone, but confronting that fear is a way to grow and move forward.

how doing something scary can help you crush your fears
how doing something scary can help you crush your fears

It’s not easy stepping outside your comfort zone, but it’s sometimes necessary for personal development and growth. But how do you get out of your comfort zone? You could face your fears and do something that scares you or try something new. Here’s how entering a hollering contest helped me face my fears. Read on.

getting out of your comfort zone by screaming like a pig

“The First Place Winner Is Annie Andre,” said the master of ceremonies.

“Yee-haw, 25 dolla makes you holla; I just won myself 25 bucks for screaming like a pig in a hollering contest!”

Get out of your comfort zone: one holler at a time

stepping out of your comfort zone by screaming like a pig

In case you didn’t know, hollering is a lost art. 

Before the advent of modern-day communication like cell phones and email, people would HOLLER to communicate. They didn’t scream at each other but rather hollered to call people and animals far away in the distance.

Nowadays, this pastime can mainly be seen as a sideshow contest and at festivals in rural areas performed by local townsfolk. 

If you think that hollering contests are limited to the US and Canada, you would be wrong. Every year on a Sunday in August, there is an annual pig Festival and French pig squealing championships in the remote French farming village, Trie-sur-Baisen located in the foothills of the Pyrenees. People from far and wide come to this unusual event. 

That time I decided to join a pig-hollering contest

Bottles of spicy hot sauce at the General store in Floyd Virginia

In the summer of 2016, my husband, three children, and I flew from France to visit my husband’s brother, who lives in Floyd, Virginia. 

Floyd is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and is mainly known for its Appalachian mountain culture and FloydFest. Floyd fest is an annual music and arts festival that usually takes place over four days in late July or early August. The festival features a diverse music lineup, including old-time music, bluegrass, rock, reggae, and world music. People literally pour out onto the streets playing music on their fiddles,  banjos and guitars on their front porches.

In addition to music, the festival also includes workshops, a variety of vendors selling food, crafts, and other goods, and outdoor activities. 

One of those activities was a hollering contest. 

Let the pig-hollering contest begin.

get out of your comfort zone by screaming like a pig

Despite the hot sticky summer weather and annoying mosquitoes, everyone gathered around the outdoor stage was smiling. The air was filled with cheerful anticipation for the start of the hollering contest.

Then, the master of ceremonies asked for volunteers. For some strange reason, I entered the hollering contest, which was entirely out of my comfort zone. 

The contest had three categories, a kids hollering category, a traditional hollering category and a freestyle hollering category.

I joined the freestyle category.

All the children let out an eardrum-bursting, blood-curdling scream that any self-respecting horror actress would be proud of.


In the traditional hollering category, a man did an actual pig call, which I imagine must be how farmers long ago called their pigs home from the fields after a long day of grazing.

In the freestyle hollering category, each contestant was asked to explain the purpose of their call. 

 One man yodelled. It was a very good yodel which made me think of Julie Andrews in the sound of music and that little Swiss guy on the Ricola commercials.

“Yodel-AY-ee OOOOOO, Yodel-ay-eeee, Yodel-ay-eEEEEEEE”

get out of your comfort zone by screaming like a pig

Then it was my turn to holler

I would probably have screamed with embarrassment if this wasn’t already a hollering contest.

“Why in the hell am I doing this,” I thought.

I gulped and smiled stoically as I walked towards the stage, feeling like a shrinking violet.

“OMG, OMG, it’s not too late to turn back,” I said. But another voice said, “keep walking, you SISSY; it’s only a silly screaming contest.”

Then before I knew it, I was front and center stage in front of an audience of strangers, my three children, my husband, and my brother-in-law. 

I didn’t want to scream like I was in an axe murderer film like the little kids, and I didn’t want to Holler as if I was calling a farm animal either. This was the freestyle category, and I could holler any way I wanted. 

I jokingly explained to the crowd, “This is how I call my husband Blake.”

Then, I took a deep breath, cupped my hands around my mouth and hollered as loud as possible.


I looked down at the crowd gathered around the stage. Everyone was laughing and smiling, and I think I even heard a few “Woo HOOOO’s.” This wasn’t so bad,” I thought to myself.

In that moment, I felt a little like Leonardo DiCaprio in the Titanic movie when he said, “I’m the king of the world!”. 

stepping out of your comfort zone can make you feel like the king of the world

As I stood there, I had a brief flashback to my childhood that saddened me. I missed out on so much as a child because of one thing… the fear of stepping outside my comfort zone.

Why stepping outside of your comfort zone can be challenging but worth it

to get out of your comfort zone, do one thing everyday that scares you

As a child, I wasn’t afraid of anything concrete,  like falling off my bike, riding a scary roller coaster or crashing my dirt bike. I feared what others would think of me, being humiliated or looking silly.

I was a  super shy kid as a result. You can read more here; Why Am I So Boring? 10 signs you bore the hell out of everyone +becoming more interesting.

Don’t get me wrong. Fear is a natural emotion that has helped humans survive through evolution. Our modern brains are wired to seek safety and security, so we often prefer to stay within our comfort zones where things feel familiar, safe, and predictable.

But in the past, fear kept our hunting and gathering ancestors safe by warning them of possible dangers and threats in their surroundings. 

However, in modern times, our fears are usually related to social or psychological risks, not physical ones.

These psychological risks can include the following:

  • The fear of failure
  • fear of rejection
  • fear of humiliation
  • fear of making a mistake
  • fear of the unknown.

While these fears may not pose a direct threat to your physical safety, they’re still intimidating and can have the power to hold you back from taking risks and trying new things.

It’s important to recognize that fear doesn’t really disappear. And while fear of getting out of your comfort zone can be a helpful emotion, it can be gratifying to push past your fears and explore new experiences, which can lead to personal growth, improved confidence, and self-discovery.

How to get out of your comfort zone?

Eleanor Roosevelt is usually credited with saying, “Do something every day that scares you.” 

Doing scary things has a compound effect.

Once you do something that scares you, it gives you the courage to do it again and again and again. With each new scary thing you do comes a bit of confidence which has the ability to create a snowball effect. 

1-Pick something new you want to do or try.

It doesn’t have to be crazy wild. Just anything small that you are scared to do. Or the next time someone asks you to do something, instead of saying no, say “YES.” It could be as simple as dancing, singing Karaoke, or talking to a stranger.

2- Don’t back down or chicken out. Just do it.

Then, watch what happens and how it makes you feel. 

But be careful because stepping too far outside your comfort zone can have the opposite effect. The best way to leave your comfort zone is to gradually expand it and find the level of risk that leaves you feeling good. 

An Adventurous You = Fulfilled Life.

[YOU * (Novelty + Courage = Adventurous)] = [Life * (Success + Happiness + excitement= Fulfilment) ]

What will you do to crush your fears?

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Annie André

Annie André

About the author

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog annieandre.com for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.

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