Kiss Your Comfort Zone Goodbye and Start Growing With This Simple Tip
So recently, I did a thing.
I signed up for my very first USAPL powerlifting meet, agreeing to squat, bench, and deadlift my heart out amongst a bunch of other 63kg ladies of Virginia.
I should mention that by NO means am I a powerlifter; in fact, I had an interest in bodybuilding but thanks to positive peer pressure and a realization that I’m about to discuss, I impulsively found myself registering for this meet and paying $120 of the paycheck I just received to jump into something I was super unfamiliar with.
And that, my friends, is called stepping outside of your comfort zone.
My mission as a human being and student on this earth is to consistently challenge myself and grow physically, mentally, intellectually, and spiritually. I live by the words, “progress, not perfection” and am even more uncomfortable with stagnation than with wearing a singlet and squatting 200+ pounds for a crowd. I think it’s our duty as people to become the best versions of ourselves that we can be, and that can’t happen by resting in familiarity 100% of the time.
For these reasons, I decided to get the heck over myself, stop thinking so much, and just do the damn thing. As a result, I had a choice: rise to the occasion or sink back into the negative thoughts hiding in the back of my mind. You know, the ones that scream with impostor syndrome, tell me I’m bound to fail, and, in a way, keep me safe.
Your negative mind, the one that always says no and tells you that you can’t or you shouldn’t, serves a very important purpose: it does keep you safe. It’s the one that keeps you from adopting 100 puppies at a time or doing whatever incredibly irresponsible thing is calling your name at any given moment.
Yet on the other side of the coin, your negative mind keeps you small and holds you back from so much of what is possible for you. When you constantly say no, you miss out on a lot of opportunities that could have made you a better person or taught you something incredible. Sure, you may not get hurt or embarrass yourself or fail at whatever thing it may be, but what have you really done other than keep yourself in a warm bubble of familiarity?
You’re not doing yourself any favors by saying no to things you could grow from.
Nine times out of ten, we are more thankful for taking the risk than remaining on the safe side. Think of the last time you were feeling “eh” about something but decided to do it anyways; you probably felt pretty dang happy you decided to go for it rather than allowing your negative mind to win that time. Right? This can apply to anything: maybe your friends were trying to convince you to go to this super-fun thing but your mind was telling you, “Nah, Netflix seems a lot cooler than that” but your friends were really convincing and you decided to put some real clothes on and leave the house. It was probably worth it and way cooler than watching The Office for the bazillionth time.
If you’re not challenging your beliefs or stepping outside of what is comfortable to you, you will remain exactly the same person you are today. I’m not saying that you need to go skydiving or buy a yacht to become more whole as a person, I’m just saying that maybe you should ask that guy or girl out or pick up a new hobby or register for a seminar that you could benefit from. It’s the little things, you know.
There is no easier way to kickstart growth in your life than simply stepping outside of what you believe is possible for yourself. The things that scare you the most are probably the ones worth doing. Those things that have the ability to make you feel something deep must have some gravity and relevance in your life or otherwise it wouldn’t be so difficult to get started. If you’ve been wanting to do something for months or years yet always find an excuse for not doing it, get real with yourself. Stop making excuses, stop thinking of everything that could go wrong, and just do it! (Insert Shia Labeouf video right here). You’ll thank yourself later and you’ll be more thankful that you decided to get over your fears rather than let them control you.
Here’s a tip: think of the worst possible scenario, and picture it pretty vividly. Come up with details of what’s really scaring you, feel it in your body, then let it go. The absolute worst thing that could happen is never as bad as your mind makes it out to be and if you know what you’re afraid of, you’ll be able to face it a little bit easier. Nine times out of ten, the bad thing won’t happen but if it does, you’ll already have accepted it and be more equipped to deal with it. Another tip: if you own your embarrassment or failure, nobody can hold it against you. Work it, girl.
When you attach specifics to something (such as signing up for a powerlifting meet three months in advance, oh jeez), have an end date or goal to work towards, and are kept accountable by others, you are more likely to actually step up to whatever it is. Otherwise, you’ll probably just dilly-dally along and continue to make excuses for not achieving your goals because you haven’t really sent them out into the world. Choose one thing that you’ve always wanted to do or never thought in a million years was possible for you, and just start. Tell as many people as you can about it (don’t go around bragging, ya know, just make it real), and set an end date. Maybe you want to lose five pounds in three months or maybe you want to make enough money to backpack Europe; nothing is off-limits.
After that, you’ll basically be forced into succeeding, thus fostering your growth and introducing you to a bunch of new people and opportunities related to your goal. Be hellbent on achieving this thing and don’t quit when the going gets tough. Once you reach the goal, pick a new thing to work towards and voila! You’ve made yourself a more fearless, badass, and successful version of yourself.
Note: I’ve been reading Jenn Sincero’s You Are a Badass, and this blog post is heavily inspired by her. In my attempts to live the badass version of myself, I’ve channeled some of her teachings into this-go get ’em!