I happened to be standing in line at the grocery store this week, and saw the October 2015 issue of O Magazine. On the cover is a picture of Oprah in a 7os inspired outfit and the headline reads Find Your Comfort Zone! Inside the magazine are reader submissions describing when was the last time they stepped outside of their comfort zone. Each one was quite different from letting the gray show to traveling solo. So, then I began to think, ‘When was the last time I stepped outside of my comfort zone?’
Getting Out of My Comfort Zone
I feel like I go through cycles of stepping outside of my comfort zone. I think back to when I was 15 years old and leaving everything I knew in Los Angeles to move to Atlanta with my father and go to a new school and experience a new culture. Now, even though I went dragging my feet, I went and I stayed so I could finish high school. Then, I think back to leaving Atlanta for DC for college and attending Trinity University, after not being accepted into University of Maryland-College Park, and sticking it out and getting good grades and transferring to UMCP in my sophomore year. I went from always traditionally going to very small schools to a university that was more like a city. And, then graduating college and trying to network and get a job even though I am a introvert at heart. None of those things were easy, but grew out of a desire, which then became a necessity.
One of the greatest times when I stepped out of my comfort zone is my first trip traveling solo. I had just graduated with my Master’s in Social Work, and I was on a flight back home to Los Angeles. I got to talking to a man sitting next to me. He told me he was flying to LA for business, and then he would meet up with his wife in Hawaii for pleasure. I thought to myself, I want to go to Hawaii. So, my mother picks me up at LAX, and I proclaim, I’m going to Hawaii! Within the next couple of days, I took my graduation gift money and booked a vacation package to Honolulu. To this day, I still think that was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.
So, I’ve never liked rollercoasters or thrill rides, but on the first morning in Honolulu, I said to myself, I’m going skydiving. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences I’ve ever had. My family had no idea, and I was signing the paperwork that basically read, the company is not responsible if you die. I thought, OMG I’m really doing this! And, yes I was nervous and scared, but I told myself, I’m in Hawaii, why not? So, I did. I went on to go kayaking in the ocean, do the backstroke in the ocean, eat some of the best seafood and have the greatest massage. Going on that trip gave me the courage and confidence to take other solo trips. Trips I would have never imagined going by myself. I went onto travel to Antigua, Paris, and Italy by myself. Those trips taught me so much about myself, and that I don’t have to get permission or have to wait on others to take a trip or basically to do what I want to do.
3 Ways to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Choose something meaningful. Maybe you always wanted to take a yoga or bellydancing class, but never made the time or you felt you would look silly. If taking that class would mean something to you and you know you might get some enjoyment out of it, try it! If you don’t like it, then stop and find something else.
Choose experiences over things. For me, a trip to Hawaii was far more enjoyable and satisfying than going on a shopping spree. I will always have that trip to treasure and it taught me how to really do nice things for myself.
Stop making excuses. Sometimes our fear or anxiety prevents barriers to actually enjoying life. Ask yourself, What’s the worse thing that could happen? Say it or write what could potentially happen and then what would you do. Things don’t always go as planned, but we deal with it. So, deal with that.
Let me know in the Comments, ‘When’s the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone?”
If you’re having trouble getting out of your comfort zone, send me an email at email@example.com.