"You have such a nice life," an acquaintance said to me recently. "There's always something exciting going on, or you're going here and there or accomplishing all these different things. My life is so boring next to yours!"
There was so much I wanted to say to this person, but the time and circumstances didn't permit me the chance to sit down and have an in-depth conversation. When I look back on the highlighted moments in my life, it all boils down to this: stepping out of the comfort zone and trying new things. And to do that, it meant facing some fears along the way and being willing to try, mess up, and try again. Chad Hymas, a professional speaker who was recently inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame for the National Speakers Association, wrote a brilliant post: Confronting Our Fears.
"If you don’t step out of your comfort zone, you most likely will lead an uneventful life and you sabotage your success," Chad wrote.
It's all too easy to stay in the comfort zone-- it's safe, it's familiar, its... comfortable. The problem with comfortable is that it inhibits our growth. We become caught up in the "same old, same old" pattern and before we know it, a couple of years have gone by and we're left with a bag full of regrets. Then there's that thing called fear, which has a way of making us hold back from trying anything new, different, or challenging. What if I mess up? What if I'm not good enough? What if I can't? What if people make fun of me? What if I fail?
Or the mother of them all:
I'm too darned scared to try.
I often tell my kids, "The only way around fear is to plow right through it." And the only way to plow through it is to step out of the comfort zone, right smack dab into the fear, and do the very thing that is feeding the fear.
The acquaintance who observed my life as one big exciting ball of fun definitely didn't know about the times when fear reared its ugly head and had to be overcome. The times when I broke out in a sweat-- the times I tried and had less-than-optimal outcomes-- the times when I wanted to give up and retreat in the comfort zone.
So the next time you examine your life and declare it uneventful, ask yourself this: are you willing to step out of your comfort zone?