Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone
A few winters ago I tried something new: snowshoeing. Though I had asked for snowshoes for Christmas, once I had them in my possession I was not really sure I wanted them at all. Lacking conviction, I began asking myself all sorts of questions. What if I miss the glide of my cross-country skis? What if this is more work than fun? Surely downhill snowshoeing wouldn’t be as thrilling as when on skis. Should I try this at all?
In spite of my questioning, I set my reservations aside and decided to pursue this new winter activity. The day I chose for my first outing happened to be a mild January day in Maine and much of the snow had melted. I convinced my husband that it was a good day for snowshoeing in spite of this and off we went. Much to our surprise, our new adventure lasted two hours! We took a nice trail with enough snow for us to move along at a good pace. I was able to take some wonderful photos of geese and other winter scenes. It ended up being a great time.
“What if” questions invite uncertainty, doubt, and fear into our minds—powerful inhibitors that can hold us back. What if I had let all of those pre snowshoe-outing questions discourage me from trying the sport? If I’d chosen to stay in my comfort zone, that neutral sweet spot where I feel the least amount of stress or doubt, I would have missed out on two really wonderful hours with my husband and the start of a whole new hobby. It’s important we view change not as an end of what we’ve known to be good in the past, but as the beginning of what might be pleasurable or positive or even great in the future. Moving out of our comfort zone is not always easy, yet accepting (even inviting) change makes way for endless possibility in both our personal and professional lives. Whether the change you are facing is minor and one you can easily influence (such as my decision to liven thing up with my new hobby), or a major change that is forced upon you and over which you feel you have no control (as with a corporate restructuring or a relationship ending), allowing yourself to move beyond what feels comfortable means you’ve opened yourself to growth and upped the odds that there’s more in store for you than you may have thought possible. Why miss it? It can be as simple as taking that first step outside the comfort zone.