Deep Thoughts: Tip-Toeing Outside Your Comfort Zone
By Dee Kruzic
How many times have you been told, “Oh come on, live a little! Step outside of your comfort zone!”
And how many times have you quite literally cringed at the thought?
I have – often. It’s so incredibly stress-free to stick to the same ol’ same ol’. You don’t have to worry about potentially disliking something, or failing at something. It’s EASY. A couple years ago a good friend told me to ‘step outside my sandbox’. I’ll be honest with you, I’m aging and for the life of me I can’t remember what I was nervous about doing or trying – OR if I even actually did it! But the words resonated then, and they still do now. Every time I feel I’m on the precipice of conquering something new, I picture myself standing in a little square of sand, and lifting one leg out, past the little wooden sandbox edges, and toe-dipping in the grass. And I imagine just how GOOD that feels.
And then I do whatever it was I was so nervous about.
(Disclaimer: Those are NOT my feet.)
Now, y’all, I’m in no way talking about conquering panic-inducing phobias and locking yourself in a room full of spiders. *Waits for you to stop screaming at the thought.* It’s more about doing something that challenges you, something you actually want to do, but that you didn’t have the guts to tackle before because maybe you were too nervous to do the act itself or you were worried about others’ perceptions of you. Sometimes, it’s even about following a dream.
Here’s an example. In total honesty, writing this blog, at this very second, is Dee completely stepping outside her comfort zone, in a big, giant, humongous way. Sure, I write all the time. I’m an author in the very specific genre of erotic romance (under pen name Madison Night, plug, plug). Writing like that – creating a world, creating people and personalities and situations and plights, and yes THOSE scenes – believe it or not, that for the most part comes easy to me compared to what I’m typing right now! Those stories seem to flow smoothly out of my fingertips, whereas this – blogging – terrifies me.
Tell me you want a 90k word novel and I’ll bang it out (no pun intended, or maybe there was, you’ll never know). Tell me you want a 750+ word blog on anything I feel like writing about and I have a series of mini-seizures. I was sitting in front of my computer in metaphorical tears because I had no idea what to write about. Are people actually going to read my blog? Will they just get through the first two sentences and click away? (Thank you if you’re still reading, by the way!) Will they enjoy it, think it’s boring, or hate it? Will people leave a derogatory comment? I sit here worrying like it’s the newest fad and I feel as if I’m in high school all over again. “Like, oh my God, will they like…like me?”
So, m’yeah. This isn’t me just toe-dipping outside that box. I took a big ‘ol giant leap. Why would I do this to myself, you might wonder? One, because I love to write, and two, because WHY NOT? Why shouldn’t I? Can I succeed at this little challenge I’ve presented myself with? Let’s find out!
One more quick example – and if this one doesn’t prove to you that stepping outside your comfort zone is possible for anyone, I don’t know what else to tell ya. I am probably one of THE shyest people you’ll ever meet. Most people don’t believe me, because my shyness tends to turn to nervousness that makes me babble like a brook of espresso at times. Even so, I wanted to try to get out of the habit of taking on the hue of a tomato anytime someone paid attention to me, so I signed up to perform in a recital. On a stage. In front of 100 or so people. Singing. With just two dudes on guitar accompanying me.
Petrified doesn’t even come close to describing how I felt when I stepped out onto that stage. Outside the wee years of my life, if there was ever a time I needed a diaper on hand, this was it. Let’s be real for a moment: when you’re up on stage with nothing but two acoustic guitars strumming along as you sing, you are leaving yourself highly vulnerable. But I got up there and sang my ass off, anyhow. At one point you could even hear my voice quaking because I internally freaked out when I got a good look at the audience.
When I was done, when the cheering started, when a friend threw a bouquet of flowers onto the stage, I felt such a massive sense of accomplishment. I did it. I stepped outside that dang sandbox and I survived! I was proud I left my comfort zone way behind me and did something that was so wonderfully out of character, something I never in a million years thought I would have the courage to do. It was everything fantastic and so much more. It instilled a sense of pride and confidence in my abilities (merited or not), that it made the next time I stepped outside easier, and easier…
It boils down this this, people. I’ll never be one to say, “Pfft, you can’t do that.” No, I’ll be right there with you knocking down those barriers and helping you to free yourself from that self-defined box. These are just two examples of how I saved myself from a life of same ol’ same ol’ drudgery. I encourage you to do the same. Bouncing out of your comfort zone and taking risks not only helps you grow, but it can enhance your creativity, benefit your health, seriously improve your self-confidence, and it allows you to LIVE, fully. End result is, if you don’t pop your comfort bubble and try new things, you’ll never know what you’re truly capable of. And sometimes, if you never know, you will never, ever forgive yourself. What are you waiting for?
So how about you? What have you done that you’d consider to be stepping out of your cushy little zone of comfort? What do you WANT to do that maybe you’ve been too nervous to even seriously think of doing? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!
~ Dee K.
Dee is a single mom livin’ the life with her son, Connor, and two furry babies, Cassie and Max. Always having loved the written word, Dee is an author of erotic romance under the pen name Madison Night, and has decided to venture out into the world of blogging – mainly because she can’t keep her typing fingers quiet. They always have something to say! Lover of music and food, aspiring traveler, animal lover and more! Have a topic you want Dee to cover in her Off The Cuff column? Send The Scoop a message, and let her know!