Comfort Zone or Danger Zone?

By all accounts I am an introvert. In a small gathering of friends I’m fine but put me in the middle of a large party and I don’t know what to do. It’s very uncomfortable. I’m a writer. My comfort zone is in front of a computer or notepad, alone with my thoughts.

My home has always been my comfort zone, not a big surprise. I think it is for most people. Even though I’ve grown personally in the last few years, I still have to push myself out the door six days a week (I am home all day on Mondays). Retreating into my cocoon is inviting, desirable and hard to resist. But resist I must. The draw is strong but spending your life in your comfort zone is not only a waste of your talents but it becomes a real loss for people around you whose lives you could potentially impact in a positive way.

One of my biggest challenges as a writer has always been promoting my books. Putting myself out there. It is difficult and frightening, not comfortable at all. I know of writers who love to write and are good at it but the fear involved in self promotion prevents them from being read.

This year I have decided to dramatically reduce my comfort zone time and push myself to step outside my shell. This means talking to more strangers, being more open and less self-aware. Being overly self-aware prevents you from taking risks out of fear of failure or worse, of looking foolish. I was always afraid that people might see that I don’t have it altogether, that I’m vulnerable and completely imperfect.

Here is  an undisputed fact – you cannot grow while in your comfort zone. You cannot stretch or unfold your wings. That’s not to say that there isn’t a recognizable need for the comfort zone. I retreat into it to recharge, regroup and prepare myself to step out and fly. But learn, grow, discover? With the possible exception of self-reflection, I cannot achieve anything within the confines of this limited space.

The lure to go there is real and understandable and that’s okay. Just be disciplined enough to pull yourself away so that your life has balance. Don’t deny yourself the chance to see how far you can go or how much you can grow.  Argue for your limitations and sure enough they’re yours.  Richard Bach

As I see it, spending most of your time in your comfort zone equates to playing it safe, choosing a smaller version of yourself. Get out into the world, start with training wheels if you have to, but learn and grow and discover – just how amazing you are!  God bless.

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