You probably hear people say to you all the time that you should get out of your comfort zone, right? That you need to try new things and stretch yourself so you can grow. I have learned that as humans we are naturally afraid of the unknown, afraid to try new things, scared to fail, so we stay on the path that is safe. I will be the first to tell you that fear has dominated my life for quite some time, but I learned to act in spite of it, and I am still learning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We have the power to overcome our comfort zones, and we can take command of our destinies and live out the full potential for the lives we want. But we can’t wish ourselves out of our comfort zone; we must act our way out of it.
So how does a trip to Barbados remind me that life begins at the end of our comfort zones? I decided to try something that I have never done before, snorkeling! I can’t swim and the thought of drowning terrified me on a catamaran full strangers. Although everyone on the boat from my girlfriend to the captain was coaching me up and telling me I could do it, my anxiety level was going through the roof. I was scared! One by one people were jumping in and I watch them take the plunge with excitement. They had no reservations about getting into the water, they just went for it. One guy even jumped into the water with no life vest! Great, he’s showing off and I am looking like a punk at this moment. I’m sitting down contemplating if I should do this or not with all my snorkeling gear on looking like I’m ready to go. But it wasn’t until a nice sweet lady by the name of Elisa from Peru said these 8 words to me: ” I will help you, Jimmy, take my hand.” In that moment, I felt like a kid who needed the assistance of their parent; kind of like learning to ride a bike without training wheels while mom or dad held the back of the bike to lend their support. Everything about that situation made me vulnerable but at the same time, I felt empowered because I was surrounded by encouragement. And as the encouragement kept on coming to take the plunge, my confidence to do something new was strengthened. That moment reminded me of this quote by Andre Guide:
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – André Gide
We all have different shores in our lives that keep us from discovering our greatness. That voice in your head that tells you to play it safe, stay in that bad relationship, or stay at that job that is not bringing you the fulfillment that you need. Deep down inside we know intuitively that the excitement of life is not on the shore, it’s in the ocean. I believe that our potential is always ahead of us. We were made to grow and discover new oceans. What is your shore? Mine was staying in the boat that day in Barbados because I was too terrified to get in the water. As Elsa repeated many times “I’ll take your hand” I finally did, splash! I was in the water no longer in my comfort zone. People were cheering me on while others were sharing their tips and reinforcement. I felt an aliveness like I never felt before. Guess who was the last one to get out of the water? Me!
Here are a few things I learned from that experience:
Get yourself a no comfort zone team:
We need a no comfort zone team, which are honest people who are not going to hide the truth from us for the sake of telling us what we want to hear. But those who will challenge you and tell you words like “I will help you” or ” You can do it!” We need people in our lives who are willing to be direct with us because they want us to grow so we can become the best version of ourselves. Get yourself a no comfort zone team.
Turn your comfort zone into a learning zone:
Bravery is connected to discovery. That is what I learned that day on the boat. It was a teachable moment that couldn’t have happened if I wasn’t willing to explore the boundaries of my comfort.
We are always presented with opportunities to learn and grow daily. While I didn’t know at the time that right in the middle of my fear and breaking out of my own comfort that I was going to learn something, that day really confirmed that breaking out of our comfort zone is a self-inflicted choice. Although I had encouragement to get in the water, it all depended on me making a DECISION to do so. You have to feel to the weight of anxiety, the fear, and anything that will dare to keep your potential immobile and act anyway. Your courage and willingness to learn are the passage that opens the door to your greatness.
Every new comfort zone we seek to break requires new courage. It doesn’t get easier, we just get more resilient and courageous, and it’s a cycle that we must repeat on our path to living out our purpose and greatness.
Put Your Comfort Zone In The Enemy Zone:
Your comfort zone knows how powerful you are.That is why your inner critics job, is to keep you from unleashing your inner greatness. When you start viewing and treating your comfort zone as an enemy that has been conspiring to stop you from reaching your destiny, you will begin to see victory in all areas of your life. Label it as the enemy of your dreams, your productivity, your passion and all you desire to accomplish. The next time you’re feeling the apprehension of trying something new, procrastinating on goal or dream, remember your comfort zone is not your friend, it’s the enemy of everything you said you want to be.
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Marianne Williamson
In pursuit of your purpose,