“Ask not what you’re walking away from but what you’re walking towards”
A friend once told me she thought I was amazing and as well as being embarrassed it took me by surprise, so I reflected on where her comments had come from. I have strengths (as we all do) and I have weaknesses (as we all do) and I guess we all have a bit of amazing too. It’s just that it remains buried in so many of us, the difference between amazing and ‘the norm’ is courage, those who dare to give it a go and face the fear of failure to follow their dreams and the ability is in all of us.When I look back on what started me on this journey it seems to make logical sense; I quit a job I didn’t enjoy, I left a relationship I’d outgrown and spent time doing what I love with people who liked the same things, now to me this is common sense, I struggled to see what was inspirational in stopping doing things that made you unhappy. So why did it take me 5 years to put those thoughts into action and what stopped me doing it from day 1 if it made so much sense. The short answer is fear; fear I won’t have enough (money, security, approval), fear I won’t be enough (good enough) and fear of the unknown, leaving what I know and getting outside my comfort zone. Since being on that journey I have realised these feelings are not unique to me, there are so many people stuck where they are for fear of heading towards where they’d rather be.I’ve travelled the world and done many amazing things and people say I’m courageous, a go getter but in reality the majority of things I’ve done have scared me witless and I’ve been so close to not doing them so often due to fear. I’d wake up in the mornings and think, maybe they’ll be a flood and I won’t have to go but once I’d felt my fear and got on with it, I loved it and was so glad I did it. I spent many years scared to leave my job but since I found the courage to do that and follow my passion I’ve never looked back, the same with travelling to foreign countries alone, volunteering to teach English in Thailand, doing a skydive and swimming with a whale shark.Once on the edge of doing something amazing you leave your comfort zone and it feels scary, it makes you cling to the edge like your life depends on it and so many of us give up at this point but if you take that leap of the edge you’ll feel great. You’ll have amazing experiences and you’ll inspire others to follow their dreams too, what’s more once you’ve proven you can do it your comfort zone expands and next time it won’t be so scary. You have to get outside your comfort zone to experience these things and that will always cause fear, fear of the unknown, but it’s not a sign to put the brakes on, it’s a sign you’re growing and taking steps forward as a person. Don’t let fear put you off, expect it, embrace it and do it anyway.So what’s our comfort zone and how does it work? It’s called that because it feels nice, safe and comfortable and that’s why it’s so easy to stay there, it takes courage to step outside of our comfort zone and do things that are different and unfamiliar. The good news is that if we put ourselves out and move outside of our comfort zone it expands and gets bigger and as our comfort zone becomes bigger we learn more and things become easier as there are less things outside of our comfort zone and therefore less that scares us.Think of public speaking, a thing that sits outside of most people’s comfort zone, it makes many of us nervous, me included. But once we’ve done one, we can do another and by the time we’ve done 30 our comfort zone has expanded and now includes public speaking so it no longer feels so nerve racking and our confidence improves. The bad news is that you have to make that first step outside of your comfort zone and feel the fear and do it anyway to get to this space.Getting outside of our comfort zone helps us grow and become the people we’re capable of being but we must accept it will not be easy and the path will be fraught with challenges along the way, that’s why it helps us grow because we overcome them and evolve. There will always be fear, challenge and uncomfortable feelings when we move outside our comfort zone but unless we do we’ll never grow to become the people we’re capable of being, stepping outside of your comfort zone is the way to learn, grow and achieve.It’s a bit like a bird in a cage, like a prison but the door is open, the bird is scared about what’s on the outside but can see freedom through the open door. A bit shaky at first the bird takes flight and realises that the whole sky is hers, she spreads her wings and flies, experiencing the adventure and is free.
To get somewhere you’ve never been, you have to do something you’ve never done.