It’s been said by Neale Donald Walsch, ‘That life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Whether you agree or disagree with that statement, might you agree that adventure beings at the end of your comfort zone? Now, I can hear some of you inhaling sharply with a deep fear of even thinking the word “adventure” but I challenge you to keep reading and to even embrace it. While others of you are leaning in to the word, salivating over what may happen next. Life, itself, may not begin at the end of your comfort zone but magical adventures certainly await those who dare to even dip their toe in the unknown.
So what is your comfort zone? I think we’d all agree that this is going to be different for each of us. (I have a severe phobia to spiders and they will never be part of my comfort zone) Wikipedia defines ‘comfort zone’ as a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk (White 2009). SOOO, what one finds risky another may find safe and vice versa. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer here – only YOU can define what your comfort zone is. So, how do you get out of your comfort zone where magical, adventure awaits?
Step one – define your comfort zone.
Draw a circle and inside that circle write down all the things that come easy, or naturally, to you. Write down things that steady your heart and your nerves. Write down things that make you feel calm and peaceful. For example – this may be your job, running, reading your favorite subject.
Step two – what scares you a little and a lot.
Now, on the outside of that circle write down things that scare you. Things you’d like to do or see, experiences you’d like to have and foods you want to try, places you want to visit, a life dream that seems too big to reach. This is where the cool, magical stuff happens… even if you start small with one little dip of the toe, you might surprise yourself at how adventurous you want to become if you keep dipping.
Step 3 – stepping outside your comfort zone: this is where the REALLY cool stuff happens!
Start small. Make a fool of yourself. Face your fears. Take a friend with you. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Enjoy the unknown. Try something weird. Make a new acquaintance. Pump yourself up – with a workout or music or whatever it is that gets you jazzed. Educate yourself. Read something new. Take a new class. Care less. Talk to strangers. Road trip without a map. Try public speaking. Say yes more often to the things you put outside the circle. Be imperfect. Dream. Fail. And do it all over again. Most importantly, start small… one thing, one step, one action.
When you say yes, you’ll meet some of the most amazing people! You’ll have magnificent and extra large stories to share around the dinner table and over tasty beverages. You’ll get to experience all the little spicy, silly, wildly romantic, hair-raising adventurous things life has to offer only those who are willing to take that step.
Maybe for you it’s simply reading a non-traditional style book. Or signing up for an adventure challenge like the Warrior Dash, Spartan, a 5K or a 1/2 marathon. Maybe it’s boldly reaching out to that person who gives you butterflies. Making travel plans. Starting your own business. Whatever it is – you only get one chance at THIS life. You can sit back and watch it happen, comfortably in your recliner chair and if that’s you, that’s OK. Option #2 – you can challenge life and skid in to the pearly gates a bit beat up but yelling at the top of your lungs – What a ride!!
So, why write about the comfort zone at all? Because I’ve noticed that when I’m at a table reliving everyones personal experiences the energy level is so incredibly exhilarating. And that’s fun!
Just to be clear – I’m not just talking the talk… I’m in it walking the walk. In the past few months I ran a 200 mile race through the Rocky Mountains, shot a gun for the first time ever and started taking Krav Maga (an Israeli self defense discipline) to name a few. And the truth is, I try to say yes to the unknown as often as possible – it’s the best way to learn and it’s the best way to experience life! My friends – may you be blessed and passionately live your extraordinary life every day!