All the greatest experiences, all the greatest moments I’ve ever had, have happened thanks to leaving my comfort zone.
As a child and early teen, the idea of standing up in front of a crowd and speaking or performing in any way, gave me such strong anxiety I would feel like my head might explode. Fast forward to 17 and I sang live on This Morning to an audience of a million. There were obviously a few steps between, but the crux was that I was terrified the first time I performed (to few people, thankfully), but once I’d ripped off the plaster, I had never felt so free. Now, with many years of performing live under my belt, and many many hours of teaching cookery and yoga, I absolutely love getting up in front of a crowd. In fact, I’d say it’s one of my biggest strengths and the thing I get the most satisfaction from.
Likewise for my health, getting out of my comfort zone has been transformational. When I say I hated exercising as a child, I really can’t stress how much. Any home video of a sports day and there I am, tottering in last every time. I had no appreciation for my body, no idea how strong it could be and how much I could love moving it. Fast forward to now and I’m a certified yoga teacher, demonstrating things I could barely have contemplated being able to do a few years ago, all while talking. I started yoga with a few Youtube videos, and decided quickly I needed to go deeper. I packed myself off for a month’s yoga retreat in Thailand (because that was the first affordable retreat option that came up when I searched ‘yoga retreat’) and the rest is history.
My business partner and I have both moved to different countries at various times in our lives, not knowing what to expect, and our life experience and perspectives are so much broader because of it.
Whatever you’re scared of doing, do it.Neil Gaiman
So what are you afraid of? I’m willing to bet that it’s paradoxically, deep down what you most want to do. When we know something can change our identity and how we view ourselves for good, our ego pumps the brakes in order to protect us. It’s survivalism, but it’s also fear we need to move past.
You can apply this to anything in your life. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Ask out that person you keep noticing on your commute. Try that new sport. Speak up more in your meetings. Pitch your slightly crazy idea. Apply for that new role. The only thing that’s between you and the other side of that invisible line, that comfort zone, is you.
When we all collectively step outside our comfort zone, magic happens. That’s one of the (many) reasons my company do yoga and meditate in our workshops. We set the tone of stepping outside our comfort zone in a completely safe way straight away, and the beauty is we’re all in the same boat.
If this rings true, figure out what small way you can get outside your comfort zone today and go do it.