We’ve all been encouraged to step outside our comfort zones. It might be a friend doing the encouragement, or perhaps it’s something we’ve arrived at ourselves through thoughtful prayer and reflection.
Sometimes stepping out of one’s comfort zone can amount to a huge phase shift in life, like taking a new job or starting a relationship. Other times the act can be as simple as forgoing a daily routine to do something new and different like socializing with coworkers after hours or finally taking the step to cook more at home.
Whatever the case may be, stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is usually a healthy and rewarding experience.
The problem arises when we can’t see the potential rewards of such an act because of all the anxiety we might be harboring.
Comfort zones are important and powerful parts of everyday living, but there are times when they can hold us back from our true potential.
Steps Large and Small
Of course there are many ways for us to step outside our comfort zones, and doing so can affect all aspects of our lives large and small.
In my experience what typically pushes people over the edge to try out new things is the overriding urge to resist the predictable and to change for the better.
It’s this desire to resist monotony and try new things—paired with guidance from God—that leads so many people into unknown but fruitful territory. It’s almost as if people who step out of their comfort zone are finally acting on feelings and aspirations they’ve held for quite some time.
For example, someone worried about taking their vacation days for fear of missing work might finally take that road trip they’ve always dreamed of.
Or perhaps someone who doubts their ambition to paint may at long last sign up for the first round of art classes.
The scale of the step doesn’t matter—what matters is that we embrace the chance to step outside of the familiar and experience something new.
Chances are it’s a step in the right direction.
The Steps I Took
I’ll close with a brief anecdote about my own experiences with stepping outside my comfort zone on a grand scale.
For a few years after college I had kept a number of administrative desk jobs, none of which directly related to my aspirations as a writer. But I held the jobs all the same, worrying that if I were to quit and try to achieve my dreams on my own that some unknown calamity would occur and I’d be unable to salvage my life from it.
In other words, I was afraid to take a risk.
Some years passed and suddenly it hit me: I realized that I had to step outside my comfort zone and set out to do what I’d always dreamed of doing.
Within a few short months I had quit my desk job, terminated the lease for my apartment, and sold most of my belongings. With my remaining resources I hit the road to become a travel writer and freelancer.
I took the step—and make no mistake about it, it was a huge step—and tried something without knowing the outcome.
To this day I’m glad I made the decision; it helped shape me into who I am today.
Have you ever stepped outside of your comfort zone?
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