If we know each other, or if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I deeply believe in the benefits of living life outside of your comfort zone. I can tell you endless stories about why that is the case, but you might not have that much time… So here’s one:
A few years ago I went on a business trip. At the end of a day of meetings we went to a video arcade, where we were divided into teams. The goal was for each one of us to play the same games and at the end of the night, the team with the highest score would win.
Instantly a tornado of emotions and thoughts began to spiral:
- The first one was RAW FEAR, fueled by the historical pain of gym class. I was as “girly” as they came and was great at avoiding pain, sweating, and dirt! So I was frequently one of the last to be chosen for any sport that involved those three elements. (Big ouch!)
- The second was a deep desire to add value to the team, fueled by a fiercely competitive spirit.
- The third was a conscious choice to turn this into an adventure, fueled by my husband’s repeated requests to learn to enjoy some of this world.
When the games began, I sat down behind the wheel of a NASCAR game and felt a battle raging inside.
Instantly one of my teammates whispered into my ear, “Put the pedal down and just steer, whatever you do, don’t let up on that pedal!”
Instantly I felt like I had both a roadmap to success and a team-member that was with me in spirit.
As her advice ran through my head, the voice of fear lost some of its volume. Which allowed me to hear another voice from some recent corporate coaching, “Just focus and have fun!”
…And with that, I clicked off the volume on the voice of fear, put the pedal to the floor, focused, had fun… …And won that game!
By the end of the evening I had competed in multiple games that I had never played before, I won a few more of them, I did not do so well at others. But I had fun, I added value to my team, and I could not wait to get home to go to the arcade with my husband!
I share that story today to emphasize that when I share stories from our expat journey it is not to convince you to be an expat, or to glorify the life we are living, it is to encourage you to look closely at your life and ask yourself, “What is outside of my comfort zone?”
…And then push yourself to do some of those things.
When you do, you will conquer fear, discover more of who you are, experience more joy, more love and make a greater impact on our world!
“I always did something that I was a little not ready to do. I think that, that is how you grow. When there’s a moment of ‘Wow, I’m not so sure that I can do this, and you push through those moments, it’s then that you have a breakthrough. Sometimes that’s a sign that something really great is about to happen. You’re about to grow and learn a lot more about yourself.” Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo
Here’s a small list of things that I know are outside of some people’s comfort zones:
- Volunteering to help special needs adults/veterans/cancer patients/aids patients etc…
- Driving in a big city
- Taking swimming lessons
- Changing a diaper
- Asking someone out
- Starting a business
- Instigating a dialog with someone about a difficult topic
- Asking for help
- Looking for a job
- Really listening to someone you struggle to be around
- Saying, “I love you.”
What have you done to push through your comfort zone? What did you learn? How have you changed?
Additional articles about comfort zones:
- What Special Needs Families Taught Me About My Comfort Zone
- Courage: The Testing Point of Every Virtue
- Accepting The Tension Between The Vision and The Reality
- Turning Unwanted Change Into an Adventure!
- Outside The Comfort Zone: In Hot Pursuit of The Vision
Photo Credits: Susan Poirer