In the Comfort Zone? Try Stepping Out!
In my recent blog Healthier Happier Smarter, I offered a few strategies for healthier living. Now I would like to switch gears and talk about personal growth.
Is there one thing you would like to do or get done in the months ahead that will serve to energize and inspire? What might be holding you back from taking that action?
Often it is fear of failure or lack of confidence that holds us back. So we stick with what we know and hang back in the ‘comfort zone.’ Ask yourself: are you experiencing enough ‘AHA’ in your day? Are your inner fires being stoked?
I believe that pushing our limits is innate, but often suppressed. Just think about how infants and young children are always pushing their own boundaries – whether taking their first steps, or pleading with mom to remove the training wheels from their bike. For kids, getting out of the comfort zone is standard operating procedure! Is there something stopping you from stepping out and looking to see what is hidden from view, just around the bend of your daily routine?
Let me share a defining moment in my life. I struggled with my weight in high school and lacked confidence about my appearance, but felt accepted because I had the ability to make people laugh. I was fascinated with the art of stand-up comedy and would often head down to the local comedy club, ‘Punchlines’, and sit in the back watching the veterans of the craft work their material on stage. My friends would tell me: “Meg, get up there! You can do this!” But I couldn’t do it. The idea of stepping on stage was beyond intimidating.
Fast forward a few years. I was in nursing school. I took a buddy and gathered once again at Punchlines for amateur night, only this time I signed up for a spot on the bill. I was a bit of a wreck. I had rehearsed in the mirror for hours on end, pretending my hairbrush was a microphone. As I waited for my name to be called, my reptilian brain took hold, and all my well-rehearsed lines seemed to evaporate! Then I heard the MC’s call: “Please welcome Meg Soper!” and I took to the stage, took hold of the real mic and then stared out into the silent, smokey glare. I had felt nerves before, but this was another stratosphere by comparison. My saliva glands went on hiatus, and as I attempted to form that first crucial syllable, I felt like I was going to expel dried bread crumbs.
The first 3 ½ minutes on stage was spent stuttering my way through my routine to dead air. I was bombing and soon, mercifully, my time would be up. I could hear the audience breathing but that is it. By now I knew I had no further to fall, so I said something off the cuff, unrehearsed… I only wish I could remember – and there it was – my first laugh! My god! I cannot put into words how that made me feel. All of the terror and self-doubt that took hold in those interminable few minutes suddenly lifted, and a rush of energy hit me. In that moment a new world opened up!
It was a moment that changed my life and propelled me on a path that finds me – more than 30 years later – making a living doing what I love.
I suppose the point of my sharing this story is to say there is little to lose – and much to gain – when you step outside your comfort zone.
For us to grow, we need to be confident enough to take that first important step, to scare yourself, to put something on the line and go for it! Whether it is acquiring a new skill, joining a book club, community service, or training for an upcoming 5km race… life is less about the things we accumulate along the way – the clothes or big screen TV – and more about the experiences and memories that we accumulate each day.
The only thing to lose is the opportunity not taken. So make a plan, seize the opportunity, and say ‘Bring it on!’ as you step outside of your comfort zone!
Meg Soper is a motivational speaker and stand-up comedian who inspires her audiences and helps them learn to laugh along the way of life! Get in touch with Meg today!
More posts? Bring it on!