We all have those places we retreat to or that we like to snuggle up in that are familiar, comfortable, and where everything is as expected. We have comfort zones in our lives where we can operate on auto-pilot, and get along.
Of course, often these comfort zones, while comfortable, are unsatisfactory. You can be in that relationship that does not thrill you, work that job that pays the bills but does not stimulate your mind, stay in that city you’ve lived in for the past ten years but bores you, etc.
Sometimes it’s easier to just go with it. But if you desire to make a change or do something different from what you are currently doing, that’s a whole other matter.
For example, if I am going to grow as a writer, and if I want to someday be a bestselling author, so long as I choose to self-publish I also have to self-promote.
There are aspects of self-promotion that come easily to me. I can write press releases and emails and tweets and post to Facebook and LinkedIn until the cows come home.
However, when it comes time to make a call to a venue, to put myself really truly out there, I am forced out of my comfort zone. Crap, now I have to email a very specific person and sell myself. Or worse, I have got to call them then or pay them a visit in person.
The nature of an ambivert
Anybody who has met me might find this rather funny. I mean, I have been known to talk a whole bunch. Lots and lots. I am a verbose person, and I do not seem all that shy. And I am not that shy…if you know me, and more importantly, if I know you.
Deep down, I am almost painfully shy. No, really, it’s true. Over twenty-five years in the SCA, and time on stage both in High School and College helped me to create an extrovert. And, what do you know, this broke me out of my comfort zone.
But the truth is that I am still an introvert. Or, more specifically, an ambivert. This, if you are not familiar with the term, is one who is neither introvert nor extrovert, but somewhere in-between.
Part of my concern remains about the impression I am going to make. This is where I need to be much more diligent about recalling The Four Agreements. The second is “Don’t take anything personally.” While I need to sell myself to some degree, rejections and anything beyond that are not actually a personal affront. They are not judging ME, they are reflecting on my request to promote my work.
This has been an interesting comfort zone issue I have had for a while. I used to say that I could, at will, sell a drowning man a glass of water. In certain circumstances, this has proven to be mostly true. BUT, when it comes to the cold call or the blind email, and when it is more personal, I want to curl up under the blankets and not deal.
Stepping outside the comfort zone
I don’t know when I became so shy about calls, and when I got so uncomfortable sending out unsolicited emails. It might be, in part, from semi-successful sales gigs over the years, and in part, it might be from the two or three dozen rejections I have received from agents before I decided to self-publish.
I am pretty certain that every single self-help and holistic book I have read or listened to, be it The Secret, You are a Badass, The Map or anything by Tony Robbins or Paulo Coelho makes it very clear that to manifest the things desired, it’s necessary to step out of your comfort zone. Period. As Neale Donald Walsch says:
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
What does this mean? This means that in order to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and really live life on your own terms, you HAVE to step away from your comfort zones. Otherwise, you will continue to live in mediocrity and wonder why you are not accomplishing goals.
It is called a comfort zone because it is comfortable. A huge part of what we want in life, a part of what we deem as happiness, is in fact comfort. Society says that we need to have x, y, and z. For many that’s sufficient. But for anyone that desires more, that wants to break from the norm like I want to do, then x, y, and z don’t satisfy. Despite being in a comfort zone, I have to step away.
As much as people desire to find comfort, it is necessary to experience discomfort. If you were always comfortable where you were you wouldn’t grow, change, or evolve.
What do I have to do to get out of my comfort zone?
This is a matter of mindfulness. To put it simply, I must act. I have to take intentional action in order to get where I desire to go, to promote my work further, and to get myself out there so as to generate more sales and become the bestselling author I believe I can be.
I am continuing to explore the necessary steps I need to take and to act on them. This can be fairly nerve-wracking, and uncomfortable. But the end result that I seek, a life that is of my own devising, that is a worthwhile goal to me.
There is nothing wrong with my life currently. I have a lot of amazing things and people in my life for which I am deeply grateful. But I desire something else, something more, and I can see what I have to do in order to get to that place.
I’ve been uncomfortable before. A little discomfort is a small price to pay to create the life I desire to live. Consciousness creates reality. This is all part of practicing mindfulness and using awareness of my thoughts, feelings, and actions to get from here to there. Further, by being mindful and aware of the now, to experience incredible things on that path.
I have done this before, and without a doubt can do it again. One more step across the bridge between the life I have now, and the life I want to have now. Forwards is the only viable direction.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, as does stepping outside our comfort zones.