Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone

Saturday, May 27, 2017
I'm so glad you're here reading this. There are plenty of people who took one look at the title of this post and decided it wasn't for them. Understandably so when you look at the definition of a comfort zone:

a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.

Pretty sure if we are honest with ourselves, given the chance to stay in a safe and stress free situation or wander into something potentially stressful and unsafe, we would choose that comfort zone. And yet...when reflecting on our lives, our writing, our careers, etc... the most amazing victories are those that began with that unsafe feeling. Moving out of your comfort zone is uncomfortable, but it is also where change and growth takes place.

I recently interviewed an author friend who admitted she disliked reading and writing flash fiction. She decided to take a chance and enter the WOW! Flash Fiction contest and she placed. She had that uneasy feeling in the beginning, but in hindsight the stepping out of her comfort zone helped her realize some talents and it has propelled her forward with her writing career. Without taking a risk, I wonder how many authors would still be writing in notebooks with their works laying unpublished and unread? Isn't that a very sad thought?

So, you're not a writer. Maybe you're a reader. Plenty of readers will tell you they surprised themselves by agreeing to read something out of their comfort zone. They tried something new and learned something about themselves in the process. I never really liked memoirs, until I fell in love with Judy Mandel's "Replacement Child" which I read as part of a WOW! Women on Writing Book Blog Tour. After that, I opened myself to memoir as a genre and have come to love memoirs by oh so many authors (including Donald Dempsey, Linda Appleman Shapiro, and Madeline Sharples). I've found that by learning about others, I learn something about myself as well. What a special gift. I wouldn't have received such a gift had I stayed in my comfort zone.

And what if you aren't a writer or a reader? How can stepping out of your comfort zone be a positive experience for you? Could you sign up for a wine and canvas event near you instead of staying home saying "I'm not artistic"? Could you stop at a different coffee shop and strike up a conversation with someone new instead of chatting with the barista you've come to know and love? Getting out of that comfort zone allows us to meet new people, try new things, and learn a little something new about ourselves.

A little bit of stress is good for our bodies, so next time you're faced with a choice regarding personal comfort, take the road less traveled and see where it leads. Hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Now, as you know, we love hearing from you. So the questions are:

When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? 
Was it a positive experience? 
Tell us about the situation and what you learned from it?

Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 10, Andre 8, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby Eudora due this fall), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade! 


Angela Mackintosh said...

I think stepping out of our comfort zones are so important for our growth as writers and readers! I've been experimenting with epistolary as a way to break through some blocks. I find it helps me let go of mechanics and focus on the meaning of what I want to create on a deeper level. Kind of like a sketch. Thanks for the post, Crystal!

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