Small Steps To Big Leaps – Getting Outside Our Comfort Zones

comfort zone

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney

I consider myself to be fairly athletic.  I can hold my own on the basketball court, the football field, the baseball diamond, and the bowling alley.  I even do well in the swimming pool.  I can post up a player or block a shot in a basketball game thanks to my height.  I love running a fade pattern to the corner of the end zone while playing a game of pickup football.  I can hit a line drive up the middle for a single.  And with a little practice, I’m pretty sure I could bowl over 200 again.

Despite my athletic abilities, I am terrible when it comes to board sports.  I can’t skate board.  I’m fairly shaky on snow skis and water skis.  And ice skating and roller skating are just as bad.  Part of it has to do with my high center of gravity.  When I fall, it’s a long way down and a painful landing.

Needless to say, I’m more than a little timid when it comes to trying any kind of new board sports.

Have you ever been scared to try something new?

Maybe your past experiences have left you feeling hesitant to cross the boundaries of your comfort zone.  Your fears and anxieties may be preventing you from having the time of your life.

I went to Ocean City, Maryland this weekend with my family to relax and spend time with some good friends.  The weekend included many memorable moments.

My friend, John, has a paddle board, and he was insistent that I give it a try.

A paddle board looks like a long, wide surfboard.  Riders stand on the board and use a long paddle to maneuver the board through the water.  Balance is essential to successfully staying on the board.

I watched him try it first.  Then I encouraged my younger and more agile daughter to give it a try, and she did a great job navigating the calm waters of the lagoon behind John’s house.

Next, it was my turn.  I voiced my concern about trying this new thing.  The sight of jellyfish in the lagoon did not do a lot to comfort me as I considered the strong possibility of me joining them in the water below the paddle board.  Nonetheless, I had to give it a try.

I found my way from the dock to the board, and I quickly started to tip the board.  I sat back down on the dock for a moment to reconsider my decision.  I decided to give it another try, and I stood back up on the board.  I gently pushed away from the dock, and I felt my legs shaking as I tried to stay on the right side of the paddle board.  I made a small circle, and tried to come back to the dock, but John wouldn’t let me.  I looped around again, and I went a little further out into the lagoon.  Before I knew it, I was standing up a little straighter, and I was beginning to lift my head up so I could enjoy the view.  I stayed out in the lagoon for ten or fifteen minutes (maybe it was only five minutes), but I did it!

I could have said “No” when John asked me to give it a try, but I’m glad I said “Yes.”

It’s natural to be afraid of trying new things like this.  We all have boundaries in which we feel comfortable.  Sometimes though, it’s necessary to get outside of our comfort zone.  Taking an adventure on a paddle board is something that will help me overcome my hesitations when I face a bigger fear in the future.  The paddle board experience is really just practice for getting outside my comfort zone.

I don’t know what fears and anxieties you face today.  I don’t know where the boundaries are on your comfort zone, but I’d like to challenge you today to take one small step to push the boundaries on your comfort zone.

Get off the dock and onto the paddle board.  Take a leap of faith and try something outside your comfort zone TODAY!

When was the last time you pushed the limits of your comfort zone?  What is your next step in getting outside your comfort zone?  Tell me about it in the comments.