Comfort Zones, Shmumfort Zones

This past fourth of July weekend, I got to thinking about all the things that I did this year that were out of my comfort zone.

Things like …

• Starting a podcast where I interviewed celebrity guests in the entrepreneurial and public speaking spaces.

• Taking on some incredibly challenging cases in the state and federal courts.

• Beginning my journey into acting as a full-time student at one of New Yorks most renowned acting conservatories.

• Running a half-marathon.

I could go on with the list of things that used to be outside my comfort zone that are now a part of my daily routine.

And if I had to guess, I bet you could too.

The more thought I gave to “comfort zone,” the more I realized that everything I’ve accomplished that had deep meaning to me and that gave me a sense of accomplishment at one time lied outside my comfort zone.

From podcasting to acting to running marathons, the list goes on and on.

If you take a moment to think about it, I’m guessing that the same will be true for you – with the only difference being the type of obstacle or adversity that you had to overcome. Struggles are all something that we, as human beings, can identify with because it’s part of the human experience. It’s universal to the species.

I’d love to know whether there was a time in your life when you had to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. As inspiration, my acting instructor likes to use the phrase, “An actor must be as hungry to take the stage as a starving tiger is to devour a piece of raw meat.” And as one of my colleagues once said, “When my back is to the wall, what do I do? I move the wall!”

Perseverance is an incredibly important trait.

For those who find it difficult to isolate a specific time in their life when they went outside their comfort zone, you’re thinking too hard. Don’t overlook the obvious. Because we tend to be our own worst critics, it is easy to discount our achievements as being insignificant.

But consider the following.

How about the first time you went on a date?

How about your trip abroad where you went backpacking through Europe or went on a safari through some of the most dangerous brush?

How about the job interview for the job you really wanted and wound up booking?

And remember how you’re still alive to tell the story? And your confidence is still in tact. And you weren’t so traumatized as to require weekly therapy? On the contrary, your confidence might well have increased. And your perspective might well have expanded.

Just in case you needed a reminder that going outside your comfort zone won’t kill you, here it is. The graphic below is priceless.

Jessica Hagy, a contributor to Forbes, truly captures the essence of the concept that “outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens.”

In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurs take this concept to another level and say, “It’s where everything you want the most lies.”

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