Can I tell you a secret? Just about every day since we started on this trip, Kyle and I have had moments where we felt unsure about something, or even outright scared. That’s just over 1,000 days of consciously leaving our comfort zone and feeling a bit anxious about it along the way. You see the photos of us boarding down a volcano, but you didn’t see me quietly having a panic attack at the top over the realization of how high up we were and that this was going to be steep and fast. You see the photo of our amazing breakfast soup in Asia, but you never saw Kyle’s face the first time he realized it contained pig intestine. These are the sorts of stressful moments you just can’t plan for and we have them all the time.
We’ve been lost. Unable to speak the language. Ended up in the wrong place or unable to find the right one. We’ve often been unsure of where we’re going or where we’ve just been, and even questioned where we are or what we’re doing, as we’re doing it. Many days we’ve had to trust our future to complete strangers, usually with a language barrier thrown in for added fun. And through it all we’ve headed boldly forward, often winging it, trusting in the Universe to show us the right way, whatever way that is.
To be honest, I’m not even really sure where my comfort zone is anymore these days, often only realizing I’ve hit the edge of it when I feel that slight rise in my heart rate as we’re charging forward into whatever today’s great unknown is.
In many ways, this life we have, the one we spent so many years dreaming about and planning for, is all about breaking through our comfort zone, only to rebuild it and then break through it again tomorrow (or later today). That part of our life, this part of our dream, was quite unexpected. But it’s honestly the best thing that has ever happened to me and Kyle. Today, I want to talk about why busting out of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do for your goals and dreams.
Leaving your comfort zone is empowering
Every time we push through the discomfort and leave our zone, it leaves us feeling empowered at the end of the day. We know that we can roll with the punches and be okay because we’ve done just that in the past. Every time we’re lost, or don’t know where to go, or have to ask a stranger for help in a foreign language, we know that we can, simply because we’ve done it before and it has turned out okay.
That feeling of empowerment spills over into other parts of our life as well. I’m getting over my fear of heights, and Kyle is much more willing to talk to strangers, simply because we’ve had to face those fears so many times on this trip. It has taught us that the best way to get over your fears, whether they’re about the future, or just crossing that swing bridge over a rushing river, is to take a step forward, and then another one, and then another one after that. By facing our fears, and pushing through them, we empower ourselves to reach even higher and stretch even further to improve our life and reach new goals.
Having to leave our comfort zone on a regular basis has been the greatest vehicle for growth during our journey. We are stronger, happier, and more fulfilled because of it. And our dreams? Well, they’re bigger too, because we’ve already pushed through and accomplished our original ones.
“With great risk comes great reward” ~Thomas Jefferson
Leaving your comfort zone is always going to come with risks. Some days, we fall flat on our faces. Other days we accomplish great things that we never would have thought were possible. Both scenarios come with their own rewards, from resilience to determination, or wonder to satisfaction. Pushing out of our comfort zone means that we are always learning new things about ourselves and the world around us. Some days we learn what we shouldn’t do. But most days we learn that the rewards are totally worth the risks.
You have to be willing to sacrifice things in order to realize your dreams and sometimes those sacrifices are the risks you have to take along the way. Many times these days, we have to do things that make us feel anxious, or even scared. Would it be easier to just stay in our comfort zone and not do those things? Sure. But then we wouldn’t be where we are today. If we’d taken the easy or expected route, if we stayed in our comfort zone, then our life on the road would still be a dream. Taking the risk of leaving your comfort zone can lead to huge rewards or even a faster path to your dreams.
Leaving your routine is the best way to jump start change.
Breaking your routine can show you new options, ideas, or ways of looking at things that you hadn’t seen before. It can be the perfect opportunity to explore new things and have new experiences. That sort of routine-breaking change can lead to new solutions to old problems or even brand new ideas. It could be just what you need to really get out there and make the necessary moves to make your dreams a reality. For us, travel is the ultimate comfort zone breaker, but you can break out of your zone in so many different ways. Try something new. Do something that frightens you a bit or that you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t. Big changes often come from the accumulation of many small steps. And the most surprising part for us: change can be addictive. We used to dread those moments when we knew we’d have to leave our comfort zone. But nowadays we kinda seek out those moments and look forward to them.
Are you feeling stalled in your life? Or like you want to make a change but for some reason you just aren’t getting anywhere with making it happen? Then now is the perfect time to shake things up. If you want to change your life then you cannot continue to do the same things the same way. You need a new routine and a new mindset, and that can often be scary. But that moment when you start to feel complacent or frightened to move forward is the perfect time for action. That moment is the perfect moment to leave your comfort zone.
The surest way to success and realizing your dreams is to keep moving forward, especially when it starts to get difficult. So take a different route home, sign up for that class you’ve been thinking about, or order something different at your favorite restaurant. Breaking out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be as bold as selling everything you own and leaving the country. But change does require at least one small step to get started. Why not think about taking it today?