Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

by Cate on January 25, 2010

One of my resolutions last year (generally speaking, not for New Years’) was to continue to step out of my comfort zone a bit more.  We all have a little circle we draw invisibly around ourselves.  Sometimes it’s a very tight circle, leaving very little space between you and your self-imposed boundaries.  Sometimes it’s much wider, allowing for much more movement and latitude.  I think I’m somewhere in the middle.  But I decided that I didn’t want my comfort zone to hold me back from doing anything.  For me, it can be any number of things, both big and small, that might hold me back.  But that’s just it.  I didn’t want anything to hold me back.  And more to the point, I think it’s an important lesson for the kids as well.  That sometimes we might be scared or nervous or just plain uncomfortable about something, but if we take a deep breath and “suck it up,” as I tell Nick a lot, we might even find something we enjoy that we once viewed as being outside of our comfort zone.

For me, the lesson to push myself more is perhaps equally important as I know the kids take their cues from me.  If Mom isn’t comfortable doing something, how can I expect them to be?  And being a single mom, I don’t have a lot of room to fall back on someone else to do something that makes me uncomfortable.  Case in point: since we’ve moved back into this house, I’ve found two dead mice.  Thank goodness they were dead first, but talk about outside of my comfort zone!  Normally, The Husband would have taken care of it, and I wouldn’t have to give it a second thought.  Not so much now.  I swear, when I tried to pick up and dispose of the first mouse, the neighbors surely heard me shrieking.  Nick was really bummed he wasn’t here to see said dead mice, so not only did I summon up enough gumption to get the mice out of the house, I also took a picture of them and sent it to him.

The two kids are very different from each other, and their comfort zone radius’ are just the beginning.  Madeline will stand at the edge of a pool and dive into the water, where it’s four feet deep, without giving it a second thought.  And then go again and again and again.  Nick will ask 20 questions, weigh the pros and the cons and maybe forty-five minutes or so later, will wade in, inch by inch.  While this particular scenario applies to the pool, it definitely extends to how they view things as a whole.  She will seriously dive in, head first, to anything.  He will question.  Worry.  Think.  And may or may not do it.

I don’t want him to be scared.  To worry.  He’s seven!  His list of worries should be very small, if in existence at all.  I definitely push him.  A lot.  To break him out of his comfort zone a bit, to widen the circumference of the circle.  Mostly because I don’t want him to miss out on something he might otherwise enjoy.  As I explain to him, the more he does something, the more comfortable he will be, and he might find out he even likes something new.  And I try to lead by example.   Dead mice and all.

Somewhere, between the two of them, the devil-may-care attitude and the cautiousness, there lies a happy balance.  The trick is finding it.

So how do you step out of your comfort zone?  Baby steps.   You wade in, little by little, until your boundaries reset.  And you get comfortable again.  And you wade out again, little by little.  Pause.  Reflect.  Reset.

Project 365
January 25, 2010, Photo #25

Sky Left

Today, as Madeline and I left the house to go pick up Nick from art class and head to the gym, I looked to the left and saw this gorgeous sky. It was simply breathtaking, and I pointed it out to her, trying to highlight the different colors and shades in the sky. And then I looked to the right and saw this:

Somewhere...

Such a drastic difference from one side of the sky to the other.  Seems rather perfect to end today with a rainbow. The day was dark, gloomy, overcast and it rained torrents from dawn until nearly dusk.  I grabbed the camera and took a quick picture of it, in case it disappeared before I got to Nick. There is something so wonderfully restorative about rainbows. The proof that a little magic really does exist.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen January 26, 2010 at 12:37 am

That is something hard for me. Much like Nick, I like to ask questions and make sure I know the options before I leap. Once I do my research, I generally go for it – whatever it is – but like to have my info first. This post was great motivation to take more chances.

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Jess January 26, 2010 at 6:09 am

Great post. I ask millions of questions, then take baby steps. I do not like being out of my comfort zone.

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Joanne January 26, 2010 at 7:13 am

I try to push myself out of my comfort zone all the time. Like going to the middle of Vermont with my friends where there would be no internet, little to no phone service, and apparently no running water. I just had to deal with the situation. I just try to put myself in situations where I have to face my fears I guess. Nick will get there and so will you. Just give it time.

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Sarah Caron January 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

Such a great message. I think most people could use a little stepping outside their comfort zone in their lives.

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Patsy January 26, 2010 at 9:41 am

I need to push myself more as well… I try to push both of my boys to do things they aren’t sure of at first, and when it works they both find that they have found new things they love as a result. Keep pushing… it’s hard, but we all have to do it otherwise we get “stuck” in our little circles.

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Ramona January 26, 2010 at 10:29 am

Your a smart mom Cate. Your children will grow up with a lot of knowledge to face their own lives.

Love the pictures. I think ya’ll must be sending the rain on down here to MS. It’s suppose to set in Weds. and Thurs.

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Casey January 26, 2010 at 10:51 am

Pause. Reflect. Reset. I like that. Well said!

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Claire January 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I’m definitely more like Nick…weigh the options, check out how things are, ask other people about their experiences, etc. But you are right, kids follow by example, which scares me for when I have kids. Makes me see how much I have to work on between now and then!

That rainbow is just beautiful. One of my mom’s favorite stories is from when I was 5 waiting to go to school. We were on our way and I saw a rainbow. I got all excited and said “Look, Mama, God’s promise!” She says every time she sees a rainbow, now, she things of that.

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Rebekah Williams January 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I tend to leap before I look. Sometimes it gets me into trouble.

My daughter dives into the deep, but my son is an inch-by-inch kiddo. Nudging him to keep trying new things is a challenge.

I’m glad God made us all unique. The deep end of the pool would be mighty full if we were all the same!

Have a great day, and I hope you don’t find any more dead mice!

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saramariesue January 26, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I love your post! very similar to how I’ve been rethinking things as I’ve started my new year.

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mandy January 27, 2010 at 11:10 pm

I’m always the responsible, play it safe one. The rational one. The one who weighs all the options good and bad. I’ve been pushing myself to DO more, but one of these days, I’m just going to have to leap without looking, find my wings on the way down.

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