Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone – A Chain Reaction

I’m going to share my usual “Weekend Inspiration” quote a little early this week because it really ties into what I wanted to write about today – stepping out of your comfort zone.

Comfort Zone Quote

This is something I’ve been finding myself doing over and over again in the past year and a half or so, starting with running and doing my first race right through being back in school and starting my physical therapy observation hours.

I am not typically a big fan of change (I wouldn’t even look at my dad for like a week when he shaved his beard!  No, I wasn’t 5 years old…I think I was in high school), but the more tiny steps I take out of my comfort zone the easier they’re getting.

It can be hard to take those steps though, and sometimes you’ll fall flat on your face.  Sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally.

Today I literally fell flat on my face in yoga trying a new pose, and you know what?  Instead of feeling embarrassed about it I giggled, got up and tried it again!  My teacher even praised me for trying something out of my comfort zone and talked about how falling reminds us that we’re human and as long as we’re strong enough to get back up nothing can stop us.

So I got back up and I tried the pose again, and again, and again until FINALLY after face planting onto my mat about 5 times I got it!  It was only a few seconds before I fell out of it again, but I did it!

(Note:  This is TOTALLY a work in progress, but for those of you who want to see what I was working on this is (a very messy version of) Grasshopper pose!)

Grasshopper Pose Danielle

Honestly not too long ago (especially since the teacher presented it to us as a challenging pose, even admitting that she could not do it), I probably would have sat back and watched the “advanced” students try it.  It’s only in recent months that I’ve begun to explore poses (like arm balances) that I just assumed I couldn’t do.  It’s that first time when you’re expecting to fail and instead you think, “holy s#%$! I’m doing it!”, that makes every face plant (or for the runners – every blister/ ice bath/ sore muscle) worth it.

It’s hard to put into words, but I think that’s what’s been pulling me out of my comfort zone.  That feeling of accomplishment, of setting a goal, working hard and reaching it (aka: the “holy s#%$! I’m doing it” feeling).  Before I went from non-runner to training for and completing a half marathon I can’t remember the last time I had that feeling.

I don’t know about you, but I think sometimes as adults the opportunity to be challenged and work hard to accomplish something you’re truly proud of doesn’t present itself in our day to day lives.  It’s something we need to seek out, we need to step outside of that comfort zone and find that challenge for ourselves.

It may sound crazy, but without the success of training for and running a marathon I don’t think I would have had the courage to leave my job and go back to school for a new career, or to become a certified yoga teacher.  It truly amazes me how something like deciding to take one small step out of my comfort zone and go for a run one day began a chain reaction that has changed my life in so many ways.

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21 thoughts on “Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone – A Chain Reaction

  1. Thanks for sharing. I can relate, I took a friend out surfing this summer (she’s got a fear of water) and I had to remind her that she would fall. It’s part of surfing and part of life. But she just had to get back up again.

    This is very timely read because yesterday I kept falling during my NOFFS (it’s a Navy workout). Every time I started thinking I lost my balance. I had to keep reminding myself to stay completely in the moment.

  2. “It may sound crazy, but without the success of training for and running a marathon I don’t think I would have had the courage to leave my job and go back to school for a new career, or to become a certified yoga teacher. It truly amazes me how something like deciding to take one small step out of my comfort zone and go for a run one day began a chain reaction that has changed my life in so many ways.”

    You do not sound crazy – this is a realization I’ve come to recently, too. I’ve only been consistently running for the past year and a half or so, and it has been a much more personal experience than I ever thought it would. I thought all you did was put on shoes and run and I had NO idea about the mental tenacity it takes.

    Way to stepping outside your comfort zone and continuing to grow as a person!! 🙂

    • Thanks! And congratulations to you too for taking that step! I only wish I had known about the amazing powers of running earlier! Oh well, better late than never, right??

  3. Dani… this is one of the most inspirational (and personally relevant) pieces that I have EVER read!!!! If you think stepping outside of your comfort zone is difficult for young adults, just imagine how it feels for as “senior” adult. But you have inspired me to get that incredible feeling back. As crazy as it may seem… Mt. Kilimanjaro may be “it” for me. I have always wanted to climb it, but just thought that it would be impossible considering my “limitations.” Perhaps those limitations exist in my head….. Watch out “comfort zone”! I think it’s time for me to …. STEP OUT!
    Love everything you have accomplished, and how you are sharing it with us!

    • Thanks Dad! And as far as Mt. Kilimanjaro, go for it! Gotta start crossing off those bucket list items while we can, right?? (P.S. – just so you know I’m still convinced I’m going to get you to do a race one day too!)

  4. Firstly, your dad is so sweet.
    Second, you have inspired me to try the hard stuff in my yoga this afternoon and I thank you for that!
    Lastly, (less superficially) this was an amazing post. I think that after doing a marathon, you really think you can do anything. You have proved to yourself that you have the dedication to make yourself do something that is not pleasant all the time for three or four months to do something you can’t even be sure you are going to like. It is a giant leap of faith. It is an awesome first step to prove to yourself that you can do anything you decide is important to you!
    Keep on truckin’ lady, you’re awesome!

    • Haha, I’ll make sure to pass that on to my dad!

      And I totally agree how running a marathon makes us feel like we can do anything…amazing isn’t it! I think it’s because I always thought it was “impossible” and when I did it I felt like I proved to myself that I can do the impossible!

  5. LOVE this post! Such a good reminder of all the things to keep in mind in athletics…and life. And um that yoga pose is RIDICULOUS! I don’t attend yoga classes regularly (they’re not convenient times at my gym) so I do a lot of living room yoga w/ on demand or my Wii Fit…not ideal, I know. I still struggle with tree and other basics. That is incredible and inspires me to keep at it. I find yoga helps a lot with running and helps me tone up.

    • That’s great that even though you can’t make it to the gym yoga classes you’re practicing at home! It’s amazing how much yoga really does help running.

      And keep working on those poses, you’ll get them! Something one of my yoga teachers says about tree pose – “if you fall out of your tree just climb right back in!”

  6. Wow – such a fantastic post!! I think sometimes we get in our own way too much – and need to accept that not everything is perfect, and sometimes you need to fall on your face.

    And seriously – so impressed with your arm balances!! I am still where you were – watching the advanced students instead of trying, next time – even if it means falling on my face – I think I might follow your lead.

    • Thanks Emily! Definitely go for it and give some of those harder poses a shot! What the worst that can happen, right?? P.S. – if your yoga studio has blankets it helps to put one where your face may just in case : )

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  8. This post is so true! There are so many life experiences missed if we don’t try something new. There are so many things that I was scared to do, and looking back, they lead to some of the favorite moments of my life…I wouldn’t have met Doug if not for leaving my comfort zone!

    And congrats on nailing the Yoga pose! That is some very impressive stuff!

    Also, you’re dad is awesome 🙂

    • Haha, thanks, I’ll pass on the compliment to my dad (he gets a lot of them on the blog, it’s so funny!).

      I totally agree that some of the things I was most scared of have been some of the best moments…I just need to remind myself of that every time I’m hesitant to go for something!

  9. Oh! This lesson of stepping out of my comfort job is a reoccurring lesson in my life. It’s in books I read. It’s in conversations I’m having. It’s in my yoga class too! And now it’s on blogs I’m reading. I love the way the universe is so consistent in its message. 😉

    You’re so right on track. “That feeling of accomplishment, of setting a goal, working hard and reaching it (aka: the “holy s#%$! I’m doing it” feeling). ” It’s an amazing feeling, and it’s something I want to feel again and again and again.

    Thanks for the inspiration, and I LOVE your Grasshopper. I’m working on crow, but I’ll get there!

    • Keep working on that crow! That’s another one where you really need to let go of that fear of completely (and literally!) falling on your face, but it’s the first arm balance I learned and I remember the feeling of amazement when I got it – good luck!

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