Someone just suggested you to do something new, exhilarating and different, like something you’ve never done before. The stepping outside your comfort zone suggestion.
Uh oh. All the red flags go up and your initial thought is “NO”, not only no, but heck no. No way no! What part of NO don’t you understand? The “N”, the “O” or the space in between?
OK. Now we have that out of the way and the brain behinds to unfreeze and starts to think a little more clearly.
A Bucket List Event
I recently went on an amazing vacation to the Galapagos Islands, a MAJOR bucket list item.
One of our activities was snorkeling.
Now I hadn’t been snorkeling in over 30 years and I had a number of very good reasons why not.
I didn’t want to be seen in public in my bathing suit. After all everyone would be staring at me and I’m not a size 2.
I was afraid my contact lens would be washed out of my eyes and I wouldn’t be able to see.
I didn’t want to use a rented snorkel that someone else had used. I’m a closet germaphobe.
I know there where a number of other equally good reasons to not step out of my comfort zone.
We were going to have to wear a wet suit, so that added several other “excuses”: there wouldn’t be one that would fit me. (Do you think I might have body issues?). It would be claustrophobic, etc., etc., etc.
Stepping outside the Zone
Of course, this was all fear and stepping outside my comfort zone.
So I decided, what if I just tried this, one step at a time, not caring what other people thought and just doing the next indicated thing.
Novel approach, I know; but, let’s give it a whirl.
I showed up in my swim suit and decided I didn’t care what other people thought – they had their own issues and were probably not looking at me. They probably didn’t even notice the cut or color of my suit!
Then came the flippers: I just tried on a pair and with a small adjustment, they fit perfectly!
Next, the wet suit. I had to take off the flippers to try-on the wet suit, so I just did it.
A very kind knowledgeable, cute guide handed me a suit and said “here, try this on”.
And guess what? It fit perfectly.
It wasn’t too tight, and it came just above my knees, so I didn’t feel closed in or claustrophobic.
Annnnd, I didn’t look at the size!
Oh yes, I wasn’t wearing my contacts, I decided I’d just wing it and see what I could see, which would be good enough.
Then I was handed the mask. No problem.
Finally, the snorkel. The crew told me they clean them thoroughly after every use and I chose to believe them. No more excuses.
Next I sat and patiently waited, suited up and ready to go, while the rest of the group got fitted and in the boat.
We were off!
Now, out of the boat and into the water….Easy pesy!
It was amazing, so freeing. Here I was, just paddling in the water, floating suspended and watching the beautiful colored fish swim by. The water temperature was perfect in the wet suit.
IT WAS GLORIOUS! And my fear would have stopped me, if I had let it!
Not Stopped by Fear
I would have missed it, if I had let my fear of stepping outside my comfort zone stop me.
Our comfort zone is an old primordial carryover, when our flight or fight reflexes vs. rest or relax instincts kick-in.
From the days we didn’t venture too far away from our cave, and others of our kind. Otherwise, we might get picked off by the wild animals!!
But we don’t live in that environment today. However, when we are introduced to something new and different, our ancient instincts still kick-in.
Sometimes, we step outside the zone, face the fear and get snapped back into that same old place.
But you know what? You are still changed. You still remember the feeling of trying something new, of seeing new adventures.
That experience stretched you. You are different at some level.
If you have a bucket list, or if you have desires to see or do something different than you are doing now, you will have to step outside your comfort zone.
And when you do that, not only does the experience stretch you, but your comfort zone is stretched and expanded.
Stepping out seasons us and expands our horizons.
Pursuing our dreams almost always means we have to screw up our courage and take the first step – to try on the flipper, to show up in your bathing suit.
And then to take the next step – to show up and try on the wet suit, until we are finally floating free in the water.
Or doing what is on your bucket list.
Pursuing our dreams takes courage; but you only need to do the scary stuff one step at a time.
Take a Partner with You, Outside the Zone
You don’t need to do it alone. Take a friend and/or, you can also take your God or Higher Power or Higher Self (your source of faith) with you.
And then you have the memories to share, and laugh about and wonder why were you so afraid to take that first step outside that comfort zone?!
Come on in – the snorkeling is wonderful!!
If you want to talk about strategies for taking those first steps, book a strategy call with me here, and then go enrich and expand your life!