Stepping outside your comfort zone

Your life can be lived within a comfort zone – what you know, what’s expected of you, what will please others, and what feels stable, secure, and familiar.

Most probably though, your deepest dreams are on the other edge of this zone. They are a little wild, scary, unpredictable, unfamiliar, and adventurous.

Most of us resist crossing this edge because we are comfortable with what we know. Tweet it.

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Ever feel like your desires are in conflict with the way things are right now? Like you want to travel the world for six months but you love the comfort of your own bed. Or you know it’s time to leave a relationship but you’re scared of being alone or not finding someone better. Or deep down you really want to start your own biz but you feel stable and secure where you are.

There’s a familiarity with the way things are. So much so, that even though you have bigger dreams, you’re not really sure you want to go for it because you don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. You can’t see it. There’s no guarantees.

If, however, you could see the future of wild adoring love, a million dollars in the bank, trips to Bali & Brazil, and dancing under the moonlight, you’d sign right up.

Ever notice how we really love life to be comfortable, secure, predictable? We always want reassurance of our safety, not just physical safety, but egoic safety. Think about it, how often do you walk up to a gorgeous guy or gal, forwardly flirt with them, and tell them you think they are the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? Not very often, because the outcome is unpredictable.

I get it.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been noticing how much I love about where I live right now. I love the space I’ve created in my house – it’s like my own little ashram. I love knowing where to go for fresh squeezed orange juice, or even better, fresh coconut water. I know which days to buy the fresh German bread with seeds galore. I know a local Mexican lady who’s happy to clean my house for 25 bucks and an old Mayan guy who delivers my local honey, propolis, and bee pollen. I know where to take my pitbull Diesel on the beach so he can run wild without a leash and dig holes in the sand with wild abandon. I know my favorite restaurants with my favorite people.

In a way, I feel attached to the way things are.

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And yet, I know it’s time to go. The deepest part of me knows it’s time to move on. The deepest parts of me even knows that what’s coming is EVEN BETTER than it is now. Yet, every day I have fearful thoughts about leaving the way things are right now.

I’m comfortable.

It’s what I know.

I recently realized that this is not an unfamiliar feeling for me. So I asked myself when I felt this way before.

I remembered feeling like this four years ago as I got laid off from my job. My sole desire at that moment was to travel for at least six months – to see the world and find myself along the way. And so it was. After an initial month at an ashram in the Bahamas, I got the courage to sublet my NYC apartment and bought my ticket to Thailand.

As the days approached before my departure halfway around the world I started to feel this hesitancy. I realized that life was about to change BIG TIME, and I wasn’t sure anymore. I started to back peddle. I mean, my life wasn’t amazingly thrilling, but it was okay. I had a nice apartment, a comfortable bed, my family and friends nearby, good coffee in the morning, a wardrobe of my favorite clothes, internet access, and a bathtub. (The little things people!) I had NO IDEA what life was about to become – well, I had an idea, and as the date approached I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the leap.

What about the language, the food, and being alone? How would I communicate? What would I eat? With whom would I talk to? Would I be safe?

I pushed through that fear four years ago and traveling the world is, BY FAR, the best thing I’ve ever done.

Up until then though, up until I was 29 years old, I lived within the fear that held me back. I lived with what I knew, and ONLY what I knew. I lived my life fulfilling external expectations. I created a very successful, however predictable, risk-less life. I lived in the comfort zone.

What I learned from those four years of being a nomadic gypsy traveler is this: The unknown is where the magic lives. The unknown is where you feel ALIVE. The unknown is where you create a new you. You no longer live within the generational expectations of your family and society – You live your soul’s destiny.

What I feared was more amazing than I could’ve even imagined. {Click here to tweet this}

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I soon found out that many Thai people speak English, to my surprise. That authentic Thai food is AMAZING. I met friends from the moment I stepped on the shuttle bus to the airport from my NYC apartment, on the airplane, when I arrived at my guesthouse, at the massage school, at the yoga studio. It flowed so well that I didn’t just travel and live abroad for 6 months, I continued for four years. I saw and experienced most of the world.

Thailand took me to Vietnam. Vietnam back to Thailand. Thailand to Bali. Bali to India. India to Australia. Australia to New Zealand. New Zealand back to Australia. Australia to visit home in Connecticut. Connecticut to Italy. Italy to Spain. Spain to Greece. Greece back to Thailand, back to India, to Nepal, to Germany, Amsterdam, Morocco, and on and on, and now I’m currently living in Mexico.

Moving into the unknown is definitely more comfortable for me now than four years ago, but the fearful thoughts still come. Here’s how to move through them:

  1. With awareness notice the fears. See the fears as just thoughts and old belief patterns. They are separate from the essence of you.

  2. Acknowledge them. Say, it’s ok fear, I got this.

  3. Replace the fearful thought with a positive affirmation. For example, replace the fearful thought: “What if I don’t find…..(something better – new home, relationship, career.)” to: “I trust that the Universe has something even better in store for me. I fully release the fear and step into the unknown, now.”

The Universe has amazing things in store for you. These amazing things are beyond your wildest imaginations. The only way to experience them is to step through the fear.

And you must step. You can’t sit in your comfort zone and hope and pray the Universe will come and save you and bring you that something better. You have to take the step forward. You must signal to the Universal Energy that you are READY for the next level.

Magic and miracles happen outside your comfort zone. Won’t you join me? {Click here to tweet this}

The action happens in the comments. I want to hear from you:

1) Are you holding yourself back from your dreams because you’re comfortable with the way things are now?
2) Can you remember a time when you pushed passed the fear?  How did you feel?
3) What is 1 thing you can do TODAY to start pushing passed your comfort zone?

Tell me. I want to hear about it. Just writing it out, acknowledging it, can be the first step in realizing that the other side is not that scary after all.

Into the unknown,
I send you lots of love,

Tara

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Comments

  1. Love it!!! Amazing syncronicity that I found this blog post! I’ve recently turned down all job offers for the fall and instead I’m going to move from Stockholm to NYC for 3 months, then travel to Argentine and Sri Lanka. What I just read couldn’t have been more well timed, thank you for the inspiration!! 🙂

    • You’re so welcome, Hanna! That sounds like an amazing adventure…and your following your heart. I guarantee you: This will be one of the BEST things you’ve ever done!! Sending you lots of love, T

  2. Your blog is truly inspirational and gave me a lot of insight on something I have been stuck with.. I am getting married to this guy in a week.. He is perfect and I know I will live comfortably with him as we are very compatible.. But the hitch is.. am in love with someone else and he wants to be with me too.. Being the perfect daughter and thinking about societal presure I made the “practical” decision of going with the marriage.. Also I didn’t want to hurt so many people involved.. But am not happy.. Coz am not following my heart and consoling myself thinking of the comfortable life I would have… Please help.. Should I call off the wedding?? Do I have that much strength and belief?

    • Hi Sam, Thank you for writing. I can’t tell you what to do, but I would say that you must listen to your HEART. It is the only way to live. I send you lots of love!! Tara

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