Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" - Neale Donald Walsch
It's a bit of a cliche, talking about how life begins at the end of your comfort zone, isn't it? It's up there with "you only live once" and "quit your day job, live your dream" in terms of quotes that are totally overused by millenials.
But the truth is, the reason it's banded around everywhere is because it's a really great piece of advice.
If the past week has taught me anything, it's that life really does begin at the end of your comfort zone. It might sound cheesy and cliche, but it's true. When you're willing to try something that might seem a bit scary or intimidating, your world expands.
As some of you know, I spent the weekend just gone on a press trip with the lovely team at icelolly.com. Anyone who knows me knows that the idea of a free holiday anywhere, let alone somewhere as beautiful as Ibiza, is like a dream come true for me. Yet when the email arrived in my inbox inviting me, my mind immediately filled with reasons why I couldn't go. I convinced myself that I wouldn't be able to get the time off work and that I couldn't afford the spending money. I told myself that the team hosting the trip didn't really want me to go and that I should offer my place up to someone with a bigger and better blog. I even tried to convince myself that I'd have an awful time (which would have been totally impossible by any stretch of the imagination!).
You see, while a free trip to Ibiza sounded totally, incredibly amazing, it also sounded very much out of my comfort zone. For a start, while I'd met the lovely Emma who organised the trip, most of the other bloggers I'd never even spoken to before. And while I'm a sociable person, the thought of going away with total strangers did make me feel quite nervous. And some of the activities on the itinerary (paddle boarding and parasailing for example!) sounded so far removed from anything I'd ever done before that I assumed I would be totally terrible at them.
My little brain was working so hard trying to convince me to stay firmly and squarely inside my comfort zone. It was trying to tell me that I couldn't do it, that I'd be better off if I just stayed put.
But I did it. I went away for a few days with people who I only met at the airport. And we got on brilliantly! We parasailed over the beatiful Ibiza coast together. We shouted words of encouragement to each other while we tried to remain upright on our paddle boards. We partied together and watched the gorgeous sunset and chatted about work and life and plans. I had the most incredible weekend with some very inspiring ladies, and I felt so happy and lucky every time I stopped and remembered where I was.
When I was on the flight home on Tuesday I thought a lot about the excuses I tried to make to keep myself in my comfort zone. How I almost turned down the amazing experiences that I had this weekend. And it got me thinking about how I might have held myself back in the past, how I might have kept my own little world safe and secure, but also small.
And it also got me thinking about what else might be possible if I keep forcing myself out of that comfort zone, if I keep saying yes to those opportunities that are equal parts amazing and terrifying. There is so much wonderful, crazy stuff to experience in this world, and I want to do as much of it as possible. I don't want to be one of those people who just talks about doing it. And so I need to do the things that seem hard or scary or intimidating more often.
So I suppose the whole point of this post is to say, here's to getting uncomfortable and enjoying the rewards that come with that. Because there's alway something to gain, whether it's an experience or a memory or a greater understanding of ourselves.
And it's always worth it.