“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.” ~James Bryant
I admit it…I’m someone that loves my comfort zone. I’m a creature of habit and find joy in the familiar rituals of my life. I enjoy taking trips and going on adventures, but I always give a little sigh of relief when I come home and can get back to my routines. Give me my cup of hot tea and the local newspaper in the morning, and I’m a happy camper! Being content with the way things are and loving the life that you have now is a very a good thing.
That being said, I’ve learned that it is also so important to stretch and challenge yourself in different ways. We each have our own comfort zones, like the turtle has it’s shell. But if we aren’t brave like the turtle and step out of those comfort zones from time to time, we would miss a lot that life has to offer. Stretching can be as simple as taking a class (or teaching a class), finding a new hobby, starting your own business, writing a book, travelling to a foreign country, or giving an unfamiliar restaurant a try. It’s okay if it’s something little…it doesn’t have to be big and scary, but it’s good if it makes your heart beat a teeny bit faster.
For me asking the owner of a local coffee shop if I could sell my art prints at his store was getting out of my comfort zone. My heart raced a little as “what if” questions ran through my mind. What if I ask and he says no? What if he says yes and no one buys any of my prints? To calm myself, I always ask myself…what’s the worst that could happen? In this case I answered that if he says no, I can just try another store. If no one buys my prints maybe I can try to sell cards or calendars or another style of prints. But…if he says yes, I will be glad that I took a chance. Luckily the coffee shop said yes to my request, and that gave me the confidence to go to other local stores and also to open my Etsy shop. One small step can help with the next step.
Challenge yourself to take a risk. Make a list of things that you’d like to try and break them down in terms of time. What can you attempt to do today, this week, this month or this year? Take a deep breath, be like the turtle and stick your head out. You may need to break down a big goal into smaller steps first. Do some research, ask for help from friends or family, and know that things don’t have to be perfect before you start. Just have fun with it and trust that it will be alright, even if it doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. You might learn something about yourself along the way.
What are some risks that you’ve taken in the past? Were you successful? If not, did it discourage you or did it make you more determined to succeed? Did you learn any life lessons from it? Did you have fun?
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” ~Soren Kierkegaard
This article was written by Dawn Smith.