A few years ago, OK maybe 10, I started focusing on doing things that scared me to expand my comfort zone. If you search for “fear” and “expand comfort zone” you will find about 5 million (no exaggeration) articles, mostly business/personal development focused. Here are four from the first page of search results:
- Why Getting Comfortable With Discomfort Is Crucial To Success
- How to Expand Your Comfort Zone
- 6 Reasons You Should Love Stretching Your Comfort Zone
- The Benefits of Doing Something Uncomfortable
- How to Break Out of Your Social Comfort Zone (new October 2016)
These are not the be all, end all articles on this topic but as good a start as any. I believe that stepping out of one’s comfort zone is truly the only path to growth, to interestingness, to excellence – personal and professional. This weekend I did two things that filled me with trepidation: (1) professional hair, makeup, & photo shoot (side note: a big thank you to Jeff Macco for inviting me and Thomas Toth for making it easy; and a huge thank you to the ladies from the altitude salon who made me feel simultaneously fierce and pretty while essentially still being me) and (2) off to the gun range solo, became a member, fired my pistol without coaching, backup, or help. And yes, these are random and at very different ends of a spectrum. And yes, my heart pounded beyond reason and I felt sweat bead and run down my belly for both situations.
And fear, not being a rational thing, is hard to predict, overcome, interpret, or….rationalize. Some stuff scares me. To my bones. For no reason that I understand or can explain well to others. And while 90% of the time it seems possible to get through every day situations without running head on into one of those fears, I know they are out there. For years, the only photos you could find of me (ask my mom – she took this one back in 1989 or so) were of my back!
And so these days, when the fears arise, it almost feels like a duty to run head on into them. And perhaps the best thing is I am writing about it now. At least for me fears shared are lessened, ridiculous even, when a bright light is shone onto them. I can’t see a reason that I will need professional hair, makeup or photography again, but it would be OK, albeit strange. And, as a new member of my local shooting range, I will just go and practice every week or two until it is a habit, comfortable. Until I wonder why I put it off for more than 6 months after getting my concealed carry permit?! Fear is a strange mistress.
Act as if….I first wrote of this back in 2006. My comfort zone has grown since then, but like so many things, it’s a work in progress. What scares you?