Do you like to try new things and push your limits? I know I do! This wasn’t always the case though. I used to avoid new situations, especially if I was trying them on my own! My comfort zone was well established and I liked it there.
It can be easy to stay in of our comfort zone. After all, they are by definition “a place, situation, or level where someone feels confident and comfortable” We avoid a lot of stress, insecurity and self doubt by staying there. They are where we feel the most self-assured and capable. But while comforting, those feelings can be deceptive.
Your comfort zone can be a reassuring trap. Within that space it can be hard to progress or to improve yourself. If I had stayed within my own comfort zone, I wouldn’t be on here talking to you right now! Starting this blog was WAY outside of my comfort zone. It caused me so much stress, anxiety and downright fear when I first started. Sometimes it still does!
I knew I wanted to start a blog. But it was scary putting myself and my thoughts out there for everyone to see. The feelings of inadequacy and “imposter syndrome” still hit me sometimes, but at over a year of blogging now I am able to push past those more easily. One of the great things about pushing your comfort zone is that it gets easier with practice!
This was true for many of the best experiences of my life, and a few of the hardest. Each time no matter how difficult it felt, pushing through that fear and trying anyways was infinitely better than staying safe in my comfort zone would have been. It may sound cliche, but some of life’s most amazing experiences exist outside of most people’s comfort zones.
One such experience for me was my travel to Peru in my last year of my undergraduate. When I look back at the events led me to the life I now have, it all goes back to this trip. The funny thing is, there are things I would have liked to have done better on that trip. This was not the perfect trip with only wonderful experiences or anything. I was pretty awkward and didn’t make friends easily (still am sometimes!), so I held myself back. I missed out on some events that would have been amazing! But even with those slight regrets, my experiences on that trip and the knowledge I gained about myself have given me the strength to do so many difficult and scary things later on!
That experience, and other similar ones, convinced me that the best thing someone can do is to find new ways to push their comfort zone. Taking a class, going to an event solo, or just talking to someone new, life becomes even more amazing when we push boundaries! And we discover new things about ourselves in the process. I am always seeking new things to try!
Last month I attended my first BBG Meetup (and the first in Iowa)! I drove over 2 hours to exercise with people I didn’t know who follow the same workout program that I do. And what do you know…it was fantastic! In fact, I can’t wait for the next one! I’m still nervous and not entirely comfortable with meeting new people, but the experience will be worth it. Hopefully we can set one up for next month!
Another way I am pushing myself – I attended my first ever blogging conference a couple of weeks ago! I made a goal to introduce myself to 10 new people…well, I hit and surpassed that goal! I met so many wonderful ladies at that conference, many of which I hope to see again.
And the day before the conference I had my first fitness photo shoot! I didn’t feel ready for it and part of me was thinking about how out of shape I still am, but I did it and it was great! I have some great photos for future fitness posts and I had a fun time! (Even if I look super serious in the photos haha! I need to work on smiling in photos!)
So how can you push yourself? Here are some ideas and tips that have worked for me!
Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
- Set goals – Even small goals can help, like the one I set for the blog conference of introducing myself to 10 new people. These can give you something to focus on and a feeling of achievement when you meet them!
- Always be looking for new opportunities – It is amazing how many different things are happening all around us! I’ve been spending time recently looking for new groups to join and ways to meet people locally…something I’m not entirely comfortable with but could be great!
- Aim higher – Don’t let your fears hold you back! That thing that you really want but think could never happen? Well, it has probably happened for others and it could for you too! You just have to put yourself out there. I have something I’m working on right now that is pretty terrifying to me, but definitely falls under “Aiming higher!” (not quite ready to share it yet)
- Say “yes” more than “no” – Ok, I don’t mean in everything with this point. Obviously there are some things you need to say “no” to. But you know those things where that flash of fear or quite tug of the gut results in you saying “no”? Those are the things I’m talking about. That invitation to a conference or an outing, that offer to help with a project…those are the things that you need to say “yes” to more often!
- Ask for “it” – Whatever “it” is, put yourself out there and ask. This kinda falls in line with aiming higher, but takes it a step further. So many times we are held back by our feelings of insecurity and of being “lesser than”. For example: While at the conference I thought of something related to my Etsy store that I wanted advice on from a fashion blogger that was presenting. In the past I wouldn’t have actually asked because I didn’t want to be a bother. This time? I went up and talked to her for a bit and she offered to help me out! A few emails later and I feel so much better about what I am planning on doing! (Sara from SabbyStyles and you should definitely check her out if you are into fashion at all! Her style is amazing!)
What could you do to get yourself outside of your comfort zone? What things have you done that have really pushed your boundaries? I would love to hear about it, so please leave a comment below!