When they say that anything worth doing is outside your comfort zone, they’re right.
It’s human nature to cling to the familiar, to fear the unknown. It’s why so many of us fear death. It’s why prejudice exists. It’s the reason our first instinct is to fight when someone challenges our beliefs.
The unknown can be dangerous. That’s certainly true, but that doesn’t mean it always is. In fact, I’d wager that most of the time, it’s not.
Growth is what happens when we push our limits — it’s what happens when we press into the unknown even a little bit. And the great thing about it, is that whether or not we fail, growth still happens. We still expanded our boundaries, we still shed light on what was once hidden in darkness, and that can’t be undone.
The times in my life where I was truly proud of myself, where I felt I truly grew as a person, were the times I did things that terrified me. They were the times that every instinct in me screamed for me to run, to stop, and yet I didn’t.
I despise public speaking. In the tenth grade I literally ran away from a class presentation and hid in a bathroom stall so long they had to get a guidance counselor to get me out and have a chat with me.
Yet I took a job that demanded public speaking, that put me through an intense, 10 day training class that literally graded, and then posted, your public speaking performance. They flunked someone out of the program every day, and I thought it would be me.
And I graduated. I actually improved, tangibly, despite itching to quit, and gained the confidence of the top auctioneer present, who personally mentored me.
I even did the job, working on a cruise ship with absolutely no time to myself, interacting with thousands of strangers and successfully selling them art on a daily basis, for three and a half months, despite every bone in my body dreading it. I excelled at it. My auctioneer, another top auctioneer in the company, wanted to fast-track me to promotion and treated me as his right-hand man.
I didn’t enjoy it. It didn’t “cure” me of my introversion. I didn’t do a 180 and start to love public speaking. But it gave me something invaluable. It gave me confidence in myself — it gave me resilience.
Every new opportunity I get is still terrifying. It is strange and unknown and there are no guarantees. But the times I succeeded anyway in the past, the times I grew, even when I failed (which I did at many points along the way, especially during those first few attempts at public speaking) taught me that I could land on my feet and bounce back. From anything.
From everything that had ever terrified me.
If you don’t do the things that scare you, you can never fail. And if you never fail, you can never grow.
The fear will always be there, just beyond the limits of the known. That never changes.
Your own limits will always be on the other side of that fear.
And as long as you keep stepping over that fear, you’ll never reach them.
You’ll be limitless.
Originally posted on Medium.com