A quick Google search offers some pretty good definitions for the term “comfort zone.” It’s most often described as a place or situation that makes us feel secure, safe, at ease, stress free, comfortable, and confident. Sounds like a great place to be, right?
Or is it?
The same Google search gives results that tell us by leaving our comfort zones — the area where we feel snug as a bug in a rug emotionally and mentally speaking, of course — we can tap into creativity, personal growth, and even find “the magic.” (I wish I had a way to make the perfect sound effect happen when you read that word magic; I’m counting on your brain to provide it for me.)
Maybe you’re happy with how things are going in your life — you have a great job, a great family, and a great home. If things are perfect and you can’t really imagine wanting to improve something, then that’s great. Do a happy dance, thank God for the blessings you have, and go on with your day. You don’t need to read the rest of this blog post.
But, if you’re like me, there are some tiny areas that you’d like to change. Some chances that you’ve always dreamed of taking. Some places you want to see. Some ways you want to grow. [Please don’t hear me saying that I am not grateful for my life!! I do have a great job, a great family, and a great home, and I thank God for those blessings every day.] But, there are things that I’ve always wanted to do — that I still really, really want to do — but that make me feel kind of sick to my stomach when I think about actually having to do them.
This blog is one of those things.
Writing is one of those things.
Putting my writing out there for people to see is one of those things.
But I need to do those things because I believe I’ve been given a gift and I should use it. But they are scary things. I’m scared that you won’t like what I write. I’m scared that someone else could have said it better or would have more wisdom to offer. I’m scared that you won’t comment on what I write. Goodness, I’m even scared that you won’t even see what I write. So many fears, so little time.
But I want to tell you three reasons I’ve chosen to leave my comfort zone and maybe you’ll say, “Yeah, me, too! I feel that way.” Your comfort zone departure may not be in the world of writing. Maybe you’re an artist or a photographer or a dancer or a builder or a gardener or a traveler — or someone who’s always wanted to be one of those things but just hasn’t gotten started yet.
So, why, WHY am I pushing through the fear and leaving my safe, little comfort zone?
1. I feel like there’s something more I should be doing.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Like, for my whole life. From putting together a family magazine Camp Us Life [Not terribly inventive, but Camp was my maiden name!] at age 9 to hiding in my room with the new typewriter I got for Christmas when I was a teenager, writing was my love. My house is full of journals whose pages are covered with my messy handwriting. As a grown up, writing became something I did mainly at my job, and I had let MY writing die down. 2015 was the year I vowed to change that. I believe that when God calls us to a task, He also equips us for it. He offers His strength and His presence, but we have to show up and be a willing vessel. I am convinced that God has given me the desire and ability to write because He has something He wants me to say. I need to get busy doing it.
2. I need to prove to MYSELF that I can.
Actually, this is the same reason I have gone back to school to earn two advanced degrees: because I wanted to see if I could. Because I wasn’t at all sure that I could. My friends sometimes laugh at me when I say that, but it’s the truth. I really didn’t know if I could do it — I thought maybe I had it in me, but I needed to prove to myself that I could hack it, that I could tough it out. Have you ever felt that way? Or is it just me? It’s probably just me… [Quiet, fears! I’m not quite finished.]
3. I owe myself the chance to grow.
Leaving my comfort zone forces me to grow. It’s like training for a race or becoming a skilled athlete [so I’ve heard!]. You push yourself to go farther or faster or to be stronger. You can’t grow without the work. I’m ready to do the work. In fact, in addition to The Pink Typewriter Project, I’ve taken on a personal writing challenge for 2016. I want to keep allowing myself the chance to grow.
So, those are three of many, many reasons why I’ve chosen to climb out of my comfort zone into the big scary unknown. What about you? Is there something you’ve always dreamed of doing or wanted to try? Do you have something you want to prove to yourself? In what ways can you picture yourself growing in 2016? December is the perfect time to begin making plans for the new year. Check out Dana’s post on Planning to Be Happy in 2016 for additional inspiration. And let us know how you might try to stretch your comfort zone by leaving a comment below.