A friend emailed me this morning. “You’re so brave,” she wrote. I thought about it for a minute before I replied, “No I’m not. I’m just trying to walk my talk – ‘feeling half scared to death but saddling up anyway’ as John Wayne once described courage.”
As you probably know, my new book Stop Playing Safe is coming out next week. Needless to say it’s an exciting time. Media interviews. Speaking events. Book signings. Magazine reviews.
It’s also a tad scary. Not scary as in I’m afraid something bad will happen. But scary in terms of feeling vulnerable. What if people think my book sucks? What if I mess up a TV interview… live on air, with so many people watching… thinking thoughts that aren’t very nice, if not outright awful. What if I’m uncovered as a fraud, poor writer and not particularly smart, much less very articulate, diary farmers daughter?
What if? What if? What if? The list goes on.
But here’s the thing and why I do what I do and why I wrote this book: The best things in life lay outside our comfort zone and that while stepping outside of our comfort zone isn’t always comfortable (duh), it is always rewarding. Not because we always achieve what we want. But because we am constantly learning – about ourselves, about other people, and about what is possible when we dare to try to do more than we have before.
Now not everyone wants to write a book. Not everyone wants to get up on stage to speak, as I did just yesterday, in front of 500 odd people. But everyone of us has opportunities on a daily basis to step out of our neat, tidy little comfort zone and into what I call the “Courage Zone” where we not only grow and create new opportunities for ourselves, but where we build our confidence at taking risks and our courage to take more in the future.
Having stepped out of my comfort zone so many times since growing up on my parents small farm, is that the more we act with courage, the more courageous we become. While something may initially be terrifying for us to even contemplate, as we try new things, we build our ‘muscles for life’ and equip ourselves with the psychological strength, resilience and self-confidence to take on bigger goals, and engage in braver conversations – with ourself and others – in the future.
I don’t know what’s going on in your life right now, but I will guarantee you this. If you are willing to take a step, however small, outside your comfort zone, you will never look back with regret. Sure things may not always go to plan, but the person you will become by daring to do more and be more than you have until now will make all those nerves worthwhile.