Oh, the irony! I am writing about exiting your comfort zone while ensconced comfortably in my comfort zone (favorite recliner, dog and laptop on my lap, cool drink by my side, something innocuous on the TV).
In defense of my very comfortable self, I have to say that having a comfort zone isn’t bad, the trouble comes when your comfort zone transforms into a comfortable cell that you choose not to leave. A lot of us (myself included) get stuck in the rut of the comfort zone. The deceptive thing is that it is so comfortable that it doesn’t feel like a rut. Many times, it feels like business as usual.
We go to the same restaurants, the same stores, we often even vacation in the same places! Yet, right outside of our comfort zone lies a whole world. It is a world of new experiences, new people, new adventures. So what keeps us in our recliners?
Fear. What lies outside of our comfort zone could be embarrassing, expensive or maybe we plain won’t like it. It is safer to just not take the chance. No harm, no foul. But how much are we missing out on?
Maura Sweeney (www.maura4u.com), knows a bit about exiting a comfort zone. Not only has she done it but she wrote about (keep reading and find out how to get a free copy of her book). At 50 years old, she learned how to dance. It was something she had wanted to do all of her life. Her parents discouraged dance when she was younger. As she got older, she picked up their mantle and began discouraging herself.
Yet Maura’s daughter got her to take a chance. So she took dance lessons. It was hard at first but she kept going and eventually she got to be pretty good. Not only that, but she showed her daughter that she didn’t have to be confined to a comfort zone or someone else’s ideal for her.
I did something similar myself. A few years back, I signed up for salsa lessons. I showed up knowing no one but do you know what? After a few sessions I had friends. After quite a few more sessions, I actually got to be pretty good.
As Maura and I can attest, once you have gone outside of your comfort zone, it becomes easier. After signing up for a dance class, it is that much easier to sign up for a writing class.
A lot of our reticence comes from our misconceptions and our misconceptions come from our fear. I’m too old to dance. I’ll look silly if I try to dance. What will people think? Well, you are never too old, everyone looks silly at first and who cares what people think. Do they have the guts to do what you are doing?
I have four friends I hang with. One lives over an hour away. Another is always busy with her kids. One doesn’t really go out. So, I’m down to one friend to hang with and she has her own life too. One Friday evening, I got home from work and still looked cute in my outfit (no food stains, a rarity) and at the end of the day, I was still having a good hair day (even rarer).
Clearly, this was too much cuteness to waste. I called my friends. They were at home (an hour away), had to attend one of the kids’ games, didn’t feel like going out (per usual) and had other plans. So, I decided to do something I’d done. I would go to a bar by myself.
I chose one in a safe location and set out. I parked. I walked into the bar/restaurant by myself. I found a solo seat at the bar. I ordered my drink. The bartender chatted me up. Then, the couple next to me started a conversation and I ended up talking to several people and having a great time. It beat my normal night in my chair with the dog on my lap and the remote in my hand.
Now, I don’t n fact, I think I’ll do it again this weekend.
Interested in breaking out of your comfort zone. Well, listen to the podcast! You can also order Maura’s free eBook. Just email her at Maura@maura4u.com and put Fun. Feisty. Fabulous! in the subject.