This is an excerpt from the chapter on “Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone” from my upcoming book “Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve”. Taking risks, trying new things – it can be scary, but when we don’t open ourselves up to new experiences we’re often left with a lot of regret. I’ve heard it said that life begins outside your comfort zone. All I know is it takes you one step closer to making your dreams a reality. Would love to hear your thoughts! ♥ ~ Sandra
“The Comfort Zone” is a cool song from the 1980s by Vanessa Williams, and it’s where most of us live without any problem. (That’s why it’s called the comfort zone, right?) I used to quite like my comfort zone, but as I continued along my journey, I came to realize that taking up permanent residency in the comfort zone wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go. They say if you continue to do things the way you’ve always done them you’ll continue to get the same results, and I had proven that to be true. Playing it safe and being predictable meant I always knew what I was getting, but the problem was that I wasn’t happy or satisfied with the outcome anymore. It’s a frustrating place to be, when you want more for your life but you feel stuck and unsure about how to make those things happen. You want to do so many things but there are so many perceived obstacles: What will the family think? Is there enough money? What happens if it all goes to hell and you have nothing to show for it? There are so many thoughts running through your head, so many reasons why you should just try to be satisfied and grateful for the life you have, but there’s something telling you that you deserve more. There was a part of me that knew that I had to do things differently, do things I hadn’t done before. I needed to step outside of my comfort zone, and that knowledge really freaked me out!
Even as a child I wasn’t very adventurous or keen on taking risks. Staying out of trouble was always my number one goal. If I wanted to do something and I knew there was the possibility of getting into trouble for it, there had to be some pretty awesome reward for me to consider doing it. For the most part, I did what I was told with minimal rebellion and drama. Fear of negative consequences controlled my actions and, as far as I could tell, those who rocked the boat weren’t always celebrated by those in authority, so I was doing what I could to make sure the boat stayed steady. I was all about maintaining the status quo and that became a hard habit to break. I was so used to doing what was expected of me that when it became clear that my usual way of doing things wasn’t providing my life with the fulfillment I desired, I didn’t know what to do with myself! I started to really fear the consequences of trying something new. What were people going to think about me changing my career in my mid-thirties? What would happen if I tried a new career at this point in my life and I failed? What if I really didn’t have anything to offer anyone and no one would pay for my services?
In A Course in Miracles it says that our actions come from one of two places, a place of love or a place of fear. I had been living my life from a place of fear for a very long time. It had complete control over my life. I was afraid I wasn’t lovable. I was afraid that I’d never have enough money. I was afraid of being a failure. I was afraid of being a disappointment. How was I ever going to achieve anything meaningful in my life if I wasn’t going to be able take back the power I had given all my fears? I had to come to the understanding that failing at something didn’t mean I was a failure and that there were lessons to be learned even if things didn’t work out. I needed to figure out how to come from a place of love instead of making fear the place that I was comfortable living in. Making fear my home wasn’t serving me in any way, shape or form. It had left me with a lot of unfulfilled goals and regrets and I knew that this wasn’t the way life was meant to be lived. I had to learn how to experience fear and question it instead of taking it on as my reality. This was a big challenge for me. It meant a shift in my mindset, which is still a work in progress for me, but I’m committed to the process because I know that the real magic happens when we venture outside of our comfort zones.