“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” Neale Donald Walsch
This saying really hit me this morning as I was looking to what I want to do in 2013. I also took the time to reflect on 2012 as well as the first month of 2013. I seem to think I play it safe and play by the rules, but every once in awhile I bend those rules and play out of my comfort zone. What I have found is that when I take chances some amazing things happen. I never think of the risk vs. reward, I just do it and never look back. Here are some examples of things that I have done that were outside of my comfort zone.
- Changed careers when I was in my late 30’s. Many people thought I was crazy, but those people were not my friends and deep down I really don’t care what they thought. I am faced with new challenges every day and making decisions by myself on what to focus with my business in 2013. To top it off, I gave up my law license at the end of 2012. People have asked me if it was a hard decision, it really wasn’t. To me it felt like the right decision. Just because I am no longer licensed does not mean that I didn’t go to law school or pass the bar exam. Those were the hard things, not giving up my license. People would often ask….but your dad is a judge what does he think….well guess who one of my biggest supporters is?
- Willing to write and share my heart with the public. I have found that when I write from my heart with tears flowing down my face, it resonates with others and they appreciate it. Some of the comments that I have received this year have been amazing and a true blessing. I am so glad I took that chance and wrote those words. Having my son diagnosed with Crohns has taught me so much about myself and what my character is made of. It has also showed me what compassionate people look like. We are all struggling with something in life, take the time to have a deeper conversation with your friends and family and see, really see, what is going on in their lives. Have discussions with them on their fears and concerns. Because when we all join together and help each other, amazing things can happen.
- Saying no to the volunteering that didn’t make me happy. I think women have the disease to please and I started saying no to volunteering that didn’t make me happy and yes to volunteering and doing the things that did make me happy! I have decided that sometimes writing a check is easier than baking cookies. This surprised me this year as I have really loved to bake and donate items in the past as baking is a strength of mine. We need to find our strength and use that when volunteering or giving back to our community. And just because my strength for the last 15 years was baking, doesn’t mean that my strength can never change.
- Spending time alone. This was hard as I have always been surrounded by people. Maybe it is the fact that I had 3 babies in 5 years and I didn’t know what alone time was anymore. I joke that I have adult onset ADHD, but the fact is I just need to train myself to quiet my mind. I have been doing this by being a regular practitioner of yoga and now trying to go even deeper by meditating on a regular basis. My husband has that switch to turn off his mind, I do not. So I continue to search for it. You may find me in my hammock or taking a bath reading a pleasure book or simply having my eyes closed trying to quiet that busy mind of mine.
- Challenged myself physically. I don’t “exercise” and I have never liked to because if felt like just another to-do on my daily list. I am one of those people who goes to the gym 3-4 times a week, but nothing more. But after seeing a friend challenge herself to working out every day in November, I decided to take the challenge for the month of December. December was a busy month, probably the busiest. But what I showed myself is that if I could exercise every single day when I am really busy, then I could always find time to work out. I have now become that person who looks for the empty time in my day to find time to go to the gym. No longer am I looking for excuses. Because I did this challenge I now know that I can do other hard things, like a triathlon in August….and maybe even a half marathon. Now I just need to tell that voice in my head that I am a runner!
- Learned to listen to my instinct and not my brain. My brain always tells me that I couldn’t do something while my instinct or gut told me I could. I like the positive way that my instinct thinks and I will continue to follow it! My brain told me I couldn’t exercise every single day in December, but my gut told me I could.
- Loved deeper. I have this thing with keeping friends at arms distance and not sharing my true self with them. I have this fear of being let down and disappointed as well as showing them my flaws and scars. Guess what, sometimes I will be disappointed but sometimes I will be amazed at the love and compassion that can be shown to me. And once I started being open and honest about my flaws and scars, only then could I finally start to heal. Because what I learned is that in order to find joy, sometimes we need to first be vulnerable. If you want to see what vulnerable looks like, here is a great TED talk discussing the topic in a very real way http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html This will make you take a new look at being vulnerable.
- Learned when to walk away. I have this affliction in my heart that tries to help fix people. I want everyone to live an amazing life and I feel like I can help show them. But what I learned is not everyone is ready and that they need to figure it out on their own, without my help. And who do I think I am thinking I can fix them? I will continue to be there as a friend but I will no longer try to fix them because maybe, just maybe, they aren’t broken.
So as January 2013 comes to an end, start thinking about what you can do for the rest of 2013 that takes you past your comfort zone. Because if life begins at the end of your comfort zone, don’t you want to see what you are missing? What if we all decided to do something out of the box and out of our comfort zone for 2013? Because when we challenge ourselves and really live in the moment outside of our comfort zone, amazing things begin to happen.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.mssimplicity.com/
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