Tag Archives: Comfort Zone

Little “A” Moments

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.

During one of our team meetings at work, a colleague asked us to share a great adventure we’ve had. She explained that it could be a little “A” adventure instead of a big “A” adventure. This icebreaker inspired me to participate in Jess Lawlor’s second Get Gutsy essay content.

What I’ve realized after a year of reflection is that getting gutsy or stepping outside of your comfort zone comes in many forms, some grand obstacles that you overcome (like running my first 5K last year) or smaller, more personal moments. For me, all of them can be described as adventures.

All of these adventures happened towards the end of my 2014. It was like the universe knew I’d need material for this essay contest! But regardless of the contest, I hope you’ll see your own meaningful moments that push you outside of your comfort zone and can happen in the most ordinary of circumstances. These are my moments, adventures that defined getting gutsy.

  • Leading someone more senior than me at work – So this is probably fairly common. I was given a responsibility to train and mentor people at work who have more experience than me. At first, I was a bit intimidated, but I realized that I was more experienced in the subject so it made logical sense for me to train them. Also, these individuals were so open to it, which really helped me. How this is my getting gutsy: I overcame initial intimidation to achieve a team goal.
  • rock wallClimbing a rock wall – For almost a year now, I’ve been saying I was going to climb this particular rock wall. This past November happened to be the time I chose to do it. My first attempt was a train wreck: I only got half way up before I started panicking, shaking and eventually giving up. My co-workers were at the bottom trying to cheer me on, but that just increased my anxiety level. I ended up yelling at them (no bueno) and walking away. I changed my strategy for the second round and had only one person, who was coaching me at the bottom. I rang the bell (proof to the left!) and was SO ecstatic that I did it. How this is my getting gutsy: I overcame my anxiety and fear of failure to complete a personal goal.
  • Going to church where they only speak Spanish: While visiting my friend in California this November, I attended church with her and her family. I think of this as a privilege so I tried really hard to not show that I was nervous. First off, this type of church was completely different from anything I had ever experienced. Second, the entire 90 minutes was in Spanish. Now, I can understand some Spanish and can kind of speak it (on a good day). But I always get really nervous of messing up, especially when with native Spanish speakers. I managed to gleam a couple of provoking thoughts from the mass and by the end, I really enjoyed myself. How this is my getting gutsy: I embraced a completely different setting despite being nervous and ended up learning a lot.
  • Watching a loved one get sick – In the last month, I’ve watched someone very close to me get very sick very quickly. It’s sad, scary, painful and paralyzing all at the same time. But, I go, I visit, I read and pray. Some days, I feed or make jokes or sing songs. I do anything to make this person smile. Most days, I dread walking into the room, wondering if this time is the last. But, this is bigger than me, than any of us. How this is my getting gutsy: Being selfless and sacrificing is the best way to be pulled out of your comfort zone.

I walked into 2014 eyes wide open, excited at all of the possibilities this year that to offer. The possibilities and lessons were endless and certainly caused me to grow up. The biggest lesson of them all: little “A” moments sometimes teach us the biggest lessons that put us so far outside our comfort zones that we don’t recognize our old selves. I leave you with one of my favorite songs of 2014 that truly captures all of my getting gutsy moments this year.

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Leaps of Faith in 2013

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. I’m participating in Jessica Lawlor’s #GetGutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details.

Jumping fire during my first 5K

Jumping fire during my first 5K

When I think about the last year, two words come to mind: comfort zone. 2013 was an amazing year filled with many successes, a couple of failures and several leaps of faith. I am not one to readily jump out of my comfort zone to try something new. I like things a certain way; routines are a way of life for me. But, what I learned this year was that I can keep my routine while trying new things that provide a different perspective on life.

The biggest leap outside my comfort zone for 2013 had to be running my first 5K. Not only was it a 5K but it was a mud run complete with about 20 obstacles. Go big or go home, right? If you would have asked me a year ago today if I’d run a 5K, I would have laughed in your face. I said I never liked running without actually giving it a try. Now, while I am not an avid runner, I do enjoy running to clear my head and relax. I ran two 5K races in 2013; the goal for 2014 is to run three including Mudderella.

My next leap of faith was taken in New York City when I decided to go after a permanent job at the company I had be contracting for during the last year. When I started this job in November of 2012, I was unsure of what the future would hold. After contracting for nine months, the specific job I wanted posted on our company’s internal website. I applied instantly, knowing that this job was right for me. The job itself is outside of my comfort zone; it is not what I had planned nor it is a strictly communications job. But right now, it challenges me daily and allows me to build a variety of skill sets. The professional move outside of my career comfort zone has paid off tenfold.

Getting gutsy and making decisions outside of my comfort zone does not mean my routine or life has to be drastically altered. I was so scared of the unknown but found it can be an eye-opening experience. The last 365 have been packed with new experiences, memories and goals. My plan for 2014 is to keep pushing myself to the outer limits of my comfort zone while growing and learning during the process. This blog will see a complete overhaul in the coming weeks and I plan to travel to Europe in the early spring. These goals and others will help me stay gutsy in 2014.

What have you done recently that was outside your comfort zone? How was that experience? Please feel free to share with me!

Motivation Mondays: Brave

From a young age, I was a talker, always sharing my opinion and chiming into the conversation. Much hasn’t changed since I’ve grown up. However, it wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school when I began to understand how powerful words and the English language could be. I remember sitting in my English class listening to my teacher talk and convey a vivid description of Jay Gasby from the book we were reading at the time, “The Great Gasby.” Every word he used was intentional and he painted the perfect picture of Gasby so that it almost seemed like he was standing in front of me. From that moment on, I became fascinated with words and with writing.

I owe a lot to that English teacher and still think about all he taught me during the school year of 2005. That was when I really began writing and falling in love with words. Since then, I’ve seen how words can be used to generate new ideas, even to spark a movement; how the words you write can be so powerful people are moved to tears or called to action. Whether written or spoken, words and language can impact people in so many ways. This is the message I found in Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave.”

Bareilles uses her song, her words as a call to action for people. She asks them to be brave, to use their words to articulate what they truly want and for their words to have meaning. In a recent interview, she commented on the song, saying it was a reminder for herself too, to always stay true to herself and speak up for what she believes in. The music video features all types of people standing up in crowded areas, dancing and being proud of who they are.

Sara’s call to action communicated through her song “Brave” is a concept all of us need to be reminded of occasionally. It’s hard sometimes to be honest and direct with people when we might be hurting or angry. Today, we should use our words to say what we want to say, to be bold and to use these powerful tools for good. Whatever conversation you were putting off, go have it. If you need to tell someone something, do it. It’s time to move out of our comfort zones and be brave.

Motivation Mondays: My First 5K

I hated running with an unbelievable passion. I was the kid who faked illness to get out of running the mile in gym class. During softball practice, I was the last one to finish laps. Running was not on my to-do list this year until suddenly it was.

One of my best friends, Trish asked me to participate in a run to raise money for her friend’s scholarship fund. Her friend, Clay passed away last summer in a car accident. It was tragic and painful to watch my friend go through that. So, if running the 5K for Clay was one small thing I could for the both of them, I was in. I had no clue what I was up against; a Rugged Maniac course that was 3.1 miles with 20 obstacles. Go big or go home, right?!

I started training for your standard 5K in March and surprisingly wasn’t nervous before starting the obstacle course on Saturday morning. Realistically, nothing would have prepared me for what I encountered on the course. Walls, tunnels, mud crawls under barbed wire and much more. I am still amazed at what I accomplished. I am wearing several battle wounds proudly today and learned three important lessons after my first 5K.

Our before and after picture

Our before and after picture

I knew I ran this race because of Trish and because of Clay. Last summer, I remember feeling so helpless, that there was no way to comfort my friend, whose life changed forever that day. Saturday was one way to help her and to honor an amazing guy who lit up the room with his presence. I could not imagine losing one of my best friends and having my world change so instantly. Trish and all of her friends are remarkable and turned such a sad day into a celebration of Clay’s life. I admire them for that. A lesson we’ve learned so many times was reinforced Saturday: that life truly is too short.

I never would have dreamed of running a 5K a year ago, let alone complete a mud run with obstacles. I physically, mentally and emotionally blew myself out of my comfort zone. To be honest, it feels (and felt) great! Crossing that finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life and I will never forget how it felt to accomplish something I never thought I could do. Impossible is a relative term because if you want to accomplish something, you will. I tried something that scared me, succeeded and now want to continue to get better.

During the last four months, running has taught me a lot about myself. It has become a form of therapy and the best way to manage my anxiety. When I get that pang in my chest and feel anxious, I go for a run instead of freaking out or screaming or eating. It has worked every single time with a variety of emotions including anger, sadness and nervousness. It has made me healthier, helped to manage stress and forced me to eat right. Amazing to think saying yes to one race led to all of this.

Saturday was amazing and I would totally do it again. I encourage you to jump out of your comfort zone,

5K For Clay team afterwards

5K For Clay team afterwards

with arms wide open. It is terrifying but the payoff is tenfold. If you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll have friends and family pushing you every step of the way. Friends like Trish and her brother Andy who were there each time I wanted to quit during the race. Friends like my co-worker Alicia who literally forced me to run certain days and supplied constant virtual support during the last couple of months. I am so grateful for their support as well as the support of others because you can’t do it alone.

Next time an opportunity to do something new, something that scares you arises, DO IT! I promise it will be a life-changing experience.

If it scares you, it probably is exactly what you need. 

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