Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. ~Brian Tracy
I recently returned from a long weekend in Utah where I hiked, rappelled into a slot canyon, and climbed back out again. This is not normal for me. I’m not used to hiking up mountains and standing on the edge of sheer drops where one misstep could lead to a quick drop hundreds of feet down to the ground (yes, my guide smiled and responded when I asked her about liability; she reminded me that I did sign a piece of paper waiving all of my rights should something happen to me!).
It was amazing. The scenery was breathtaking. The adventure fueled me. I came back refreshed and renewed, and vowed I would do things like this more often. It could be because I spent a few days outside – fresh air, amazing views, lots of laughter with great friends (and I didn’t have to worry about fixing dinner for 4 nights!). I’m sure all of that was part of it.
But, I strongly believe that it had a great deal more to do with the fact that I completely stepped outside of my comfort zone, got my adrenaline flowing, dealt with a little bit of fear and nervousness (OK, a lot of fear and nervousness), and did something I had never done before.
There is something about challenging yourself, and doing something a bit different that gives you confidence, an edge, and a sense of accomplishment that does wonders for your personal growth. There is something about overcoming some nerves that builds confidence. Something about trying something new and being really clumsy in the beginning, but soon figuring it out, that makes you proud of yourself. I can’t describe this feeling, but it’s a comfort (more like a strength!) in knowing that you stepped outside of your comfort zone.
Here is my challenge to you: challenge yourself! Do something different. Do something you have never done before that gets your adrenaline flowing just a bit (or a lot). Do something which makes you a tiny bit nervous. For some (crazy!) people, this could be jumping out of an airplane, but it doesn’t have to be that extreme. For others, it might be joining a new club or group where you don’t know anyone. It might be going on a singles trip. It might be trying a new restaurant – alone. It might be taking a road trip to visit an old friend. It might be taking up a new sport (even though you feel your body is going to protest loudly!).
The point is to do something – something different and outside of your normal routine! If something is “easy” or “safe” or your own “status quo,” then that would be a good place to try to switch things up!
Some people hear this message, and just ask, “Why?” Why would I want to do something that makes me nervous? Why would I want to do anything different than my normal routine? Why would I want to upset my apple cart and step outside my comfort zone? Seriously? WHY NOT!?
Life is an adventure. I listen to so many people, especially middle-aged friends, both those who are married or who are divorced and dating, who tell me they are bored of the same-old, same-old. They are often looking for someone else to bring excitement into their dull lives. That’s what I call missed expectations. If you are bored, or your life needs a little bit of excitement, create it yourself. YOU are the one who will grow from these experiences and the growth is pretty cool because it is growth in learning something totally new, experiencing something completely different, and gaining additional confidence as you open more doors.
Ashton Kutcher said it another way: “I’m continually trying to make choices that put me against my own comfort zone. As long as you’re uncomfortable, it means you’re growing.” Comfort is totally overrated! Go be uncomfortable!
What about you? What have you done lately to step outside of your comfort zone? Were you feeling a little nervous or anxious in the beginning? Were you feeling victorious and confident at the end?
Author Monique A. Honaman wrote “The High Road Has Less Traffic: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” in response to a need for a book that provided honest, real, and raw advice about how to survive and thrive through one of life’s toughest journeys.