We all have this safe place. A place where we’re content, satisfied with our efforts & confident in what we are currently doing. That feeling tends to bring us peace. But what do we do when it’s time to make a decision between being comfortable by staying in our safe place or taking on something new that could take us beyond our comfort zone?
In January 2015, it was placed on my heart to go out on a whim and take a chance. The whole year was spent making several decisions with my mind set on growing out of my safe place. I joined a business fraternity that I knew would force me to do many things I wasn’t comfortable with. Through the experience, I gained confidence and saw tons of progress in areas of myself that I knew could use some improvement. I began to see my growth happen right before my eyes.
Last year, I also took a new job (that ended up not being a good fit for me) and learned a bit more about myself. Even though the job was stressful and mentally trying, I grew from the experience and can say I tried. I took a speech class and realized that I do actually like speaking. I found out that with practice, I can actually become a profound speaker. I never would have known that without allowing myself that exposure. I took a leadership position within my fraternity and although passivity is a weakness of mine, the role has allowed me to come out my shell and develop leadership skills. I have never felt comfortable giving orders to others or having them look to me for solutions. However, I do know that if I want any respect, I have to speak up for myself and demand it. I’m working towards a degree of balance between assertiveness, confidence and relatability. Even something as simple as following up with my boss about letters of recommendation made me feel uneasy, but these are things that need to be done so I have no choice but to take those steps. The more I force myself to do what needs to be done, the more comfortable I become in performing these tasks.
Think about where you were at this time last year. Are you still in the same place waiting for a change to come upon you? Well when the opportunity does present itself, you must be willing to say yes. Sometimes it will be scary, but sometimes we have to ask ourselves what we have to lose. Think about where you want to be. What have you always dreamed of doing? Don’t settle for less out of fear. Have faith in your dream. Have you always held an secretarial position but you have a passion for art? Try taking a small step first. Finally submit that beautiful portrait you painted into the towns art competition. Even if you do not win, you can say you tried. You put yourself out there and at the end of it all you never know what may come out of it. Maybe you will suddenly have it in your heart to try again next year. Perhaps you will have a revelation about where to go from there.
These steps out of the comfort zone will grow and develop skills within ourselves that will be useful in all aspects of our life. Whether we need to take on a new position, negotiate a wage with our boss, stand up to a friend or family member, or whatever the case may be, we may be uncomfortable. Don’t turn back out of fear. Instead embrace that nervousness and use it to fuel your confidence. I know it is easier said than done, but you can only benefit from stepping out and expanding your comfort zone