The Big 150: 3, Self - When was the last time you left your comfort zone - how did you grow?
Ah, the good ol’ comfort zone. I feel like I do a lot of things that push me outside that fuzzy little bugger. I take on various rowing challenges throughout the year with my Concept2, train and run marathons, perform improvised musical comedy where everything is made up, constantly audition, and ya know, not to brag, I also deal with *a lot* of rejection (woo-hoo acting and voiceover work).
At this point in my life, I’ve done all the above and have started to think back to see when my comfort zone was first expanded. I was engaging in public speaking in middle school by giving speeches as Student Council President and Vice President, to choosing boarding school for myself and moving away from home at the age of 14. I joined various clubs and a sorority in college, took on some really cool and challenging internships where I didn’t know anyone, traveled alone to foreign countries in my 20s, moved to Los Angeles alone at 24, did a solo cross-country road trip with Archygirl at 28, and moved to Dublin, Ireland at 29 - once again, not knowing anyone. (But please don’t think I didn’t have support - I may have physically done this stuff on my own, but my friends and family were always there when I needed a listening ear or a warm cuppa tea. And I have also made incredible friends from every chapter of my life so far who I love so much.)
There are, honestly, very few things at this point that scare me when it comes to my comfort zone. Losing people I love is a fear I have, but I wouldn’t say that really has anything to do with my ability to push or challenge myself. I can’t control what happens to other people, I can only enjoy whatever time we have together.
I think the last time I left my comfort zone - and something that continues to challenge my comfort zone - was probably committing to my current longterm relationship. If looking back at my track record has anything to reveal to me, it’s probably a tendency towards wanting independence. But being committed to someone, living with someone, planning a future, having challenging conversations, compromising - these things mean sacrificing some of that long-held independence.
But the small amount of independence I’ve had to give up is grains of sand compared to everything I’ve gained from the vast beaches of a happy partnership. (Did that metaphor work? I don’t know if that metaphor worked. Meh, c’est la vie.) But I think that’s the way comfort zones work. If there’s anything I’ve learned from trying to constantly push myself to learn and try new things, it’s that everything is figure out-able. There’s no secret sauce or magic formula to pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. You simply make the choice and then what you’ll (likely) find out is that there wasn’t really all that much to fear in the first place.
So is there a lesson for today? I’m sure there’s one in there somewhere. So let’s go with this — what do you have to lose by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone? At best, you succeed! Yay, you! You are a superstar! And at worst, you fail. But, hey, even if you fail or you fall flat on your face, you tried (wow, there were a lot of F words in there and not a single one was bleep-worthy. Let's hear it for personal growth, y'all!).
There are literally SO many people who won’t try because something holds them back. The great philosopher Yoda once said, “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” I think what Master Yoda was really getting at, though, is that trying actually is doing, ya know? You literally can’t do something without trying to do it. So keep on trying and eventually you'll be doing. Man, that Yoda, what a tricky dude. Jedi Master? More like Riddle Master, amiright. (This has been Star Wars philosophy with Jedi Johny).
Whatever challenge you're thinking about giving yourself, just try and then do. And trust me, you don't need to wait until January 1st to start. You've got this.
To plotting your own course and using the Force,
ICYMI: The Big 150