Crushing Your Comfort Zone

Crushing your comfort zone makes all of the difference!

Some people think I’m confident. People have told me that I’m a natural public speaker. They call me a thought leader and a trend setter.

Those people don’t know how hard I’m shaking right now, writing this… or maybe they do. Those people are just like me, and I’m just like you. This is what crushing your comfort zone means. I’m doing it despite my fears.

The first time I sang solo in front of people I was terrified. I had been in choirs and such for years, but this was different. I let my high school boyfriend talk me into singing “A Whole New World” with him at his sister’s wedding. I thought, “What if I choke? What if I make a total fool of myself? What if all of the worst case scenarios I’m making up in my head right now come true? What if?” Having these fears, and doing it anyway, is what crushing your comfort zone means.

Well, I did choke. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. How could I not choke with those thoughts running through my head. I was so embarrassed that turned beet red in front of the entire wedding. I felt humiliated. Then the wedding went on, and the world didn’t end. Aside from the part where that frog attacked me from the inside, it was fine. Now, more than 20 years later, I doubt anyone remembers it but me.

10498671_512208178879546_4081153760243804397_oI use this as my example because many people have a fear of public speaking. Bearing your soul through song for the first time takes that to another level, and having it be original music that you’ve composed is one of the extremes. I now perform regularly with my Irish band,The Feckin’ Tinkers, at a local pub. Over years of practice it has become like a pair of my favorite shoes, the ones that look great and will never quite be comfortable. I’ve crushed my comfort zone.

Comfort is nice. There is a delicious luxury in having the favorite chair, favorite sweater, favorite tea, and favorite book all at the same time. Nonetheless, the big moments that define us are the ones where we try new things, not just stepping out of our comfort zones, but crushing them; stripping away the boundaries of our prior experience and remaking ourselves with new boundaries. Are you getting a sense of what crushing your comfort zone means?

We are our choices. We are our actions. It is the end of the world as we know it every moment of every day, and we have the power to create ourselves and the world around us with each choice we make. No pressure. The people who think I’m confident don’t need to know that three fingernails have fallen victim to my teeth while writing this article.

Yes, I know it’s just an article. It’s not like singing for you. Right? Honestly, at this point, singing would be easier. Now I’ve done that hundreds of times. I’ve built up all of the mechanisms to deal with the “What if’s.”  What if I choke? I will. It happens. I keep going, and if I’m lucky no one will notice but me. Now you… You are a NEW audience. I have no idea what happens if I screw this up. But, hey, I’m doing it anyway. An article is a little thing. It is a small step, and if I’m shaking while I take it, it means I’m stepping in the right direction. No one will notice unless I tell them, and I just told you. That’s another step. What’s the worst that could happen? I don’t know.

Like Sekou Andrews said at QuickBooks Connect, I am putting myself into a community of strength while feeling weak. I am telling my story in hopes of finding connection with authenticity and passion in hopes that I can inspire you to start crushing your comfort zone. In this, my greatest resource is each of you.

What can you do today to crush your comfort zone and re-make yourself with new experiences? It doesn’t have to be huge. Every journey starts with one step. What’s your next step?

Thank you for being mine.

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