3 Reasons to Leave Your Comfort Zone NOW

      3 Comments on 3 Reasons to Leave Your Comfort Zone NOW

If you want to do something you've never done, then you've got to do something you've never done


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.



3 thoughts on “3 Reasons to Leave Your Comfort Zone NOW

  1. Dana Thompson

    It’s amazing how closely our goals and the reasons we need to get out of our respective comfort zones are completely aligned! I have always wanted to write a book as well. In the 3rd grade, we “published” our own stories and they were given a Dewey decimal number and a real card in the back that the librarian stamped with the due date when they were checked out. I remember going to the library and proudly taking it down from the shelf to see who had read my book. I still have that book.

    I, too, kept journals as a young girl and it has always been my goal to write a novel. Back then I always thought I’d write a horse story for young girls. My ideas have changed for my first book, but I still may write that horse story one day. Someone asked me the other day if I knew the success rate of authors and how many actually get published. But that is of no consequence to my endeavor. As Dawn says, I need to prove to myself that I can.

    I’m looking forward to us supporting each other in our goals this year and when the self doubt creeps in, helping to pull each other out of our comfort zones!

  2. Adrienne

    Hi Dawn,

    When you said, “Maybe you’re happy with how things are going in your life” so we probably don’t need to read any further. Well I’m thrilled with my life in all honesty but I also know there is more out there for me.

    As you recently learned about me, I am scared to death to do webinars. Your fear of people not liking what you wrote, my fear is I’ll stumble all over myself and people will get disgusted and leave. I just never do well in those types of settings although I’m a big people person.

    That’s part of that comfort zone that I need to break out of, to move past, to get over the fear because I think that it will benefit me tremendously and help grow my business even more. It’s a fear I’m working through so I’ve got one behind me that I hosted and one more to go next month.

    There is more that life has to offer me just like there is more out there to offer you. We just have to get out of our own way darn it.

    Thank you for sharing this and I know you’ll do well just like I eventually will. At least we’re willing to take that risk right!

    Have a beautiful afternoon and Happy Holidays!


    1. Dawn Tolbert Post author

      Hey, Adrienne! I completely understand what you mean. I’m pretty sure I would have a stroke if I tried to do a webinar, but that’s part of the fun of stretching outside our comfort zones. We take risks. Sometimes we fall — that’s F-A-L-L, not F-A-I-L — but we can get up and learn from the experience. I love the feeling I get when I can feel myself growing inside and conquering a new fear. I just had a flashback to flying to Denver with my friend to take part in a presentation in graduate school. I hadn’t flown much, and quite frankly was terrified. In fact, the whole trip was a stretch for me, but I remember the feeling of conquering, of being proud of myself for having taken a risk and had it turn out well.

      I love how honest you’ve been about your fear related to the webinar. That’s so wonderfully authentic and honest, and it is a great help to those of us who are scared by the same things. My hope is that that kind of authenticity will show through in my writing. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

      It is a beautiful afternoon here! The sun is peeking out after a morning of rain; it makes me grateful. Merry Christmas! Looking forward to learning more about blogging from you in 2016! Merry Christmas.


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