This year I’m determined to do more things that scare the shit out of myself. Why? Allow me to explain….
I’m a Virgo. If you follow astrological signs at all, you’ll know that means I like my plans. I crave organization and it’s hard to be “spontaneous” unless I arrange for it ahead of time (I know, I know, then it’s not spontaneous). I am creative, though, and that sometimes clashes with my analytical, everything-in-it’s-place thinking. Being an organized type, many times I find myself falling into the drudgery of repetition, of habits I create unconsciously simply because I have found a system that is comfortable.
Some part of me notices this repetition and half-heartedly rebels against it. The end result is me getting annoyed at myself and noticing that I should stop that behavior, and then telling myself I’ll get around to it eventually.
Comfortable. We get comfortable and we tend to avoid anything that might take that feeling away, even at expense to ourselves.
As one of my resolutions this year, I decided to do more things that scare me. I’m not talking sky diving or bungee jumping (SO not there yet), but about doing things that push me out of my comfort zone, big time.
So, why do something that makes me uncomfortable? Simply put: I know that I am capable of more.
I know that if I push myself, I can accomplish bigger things in my business, I can make a bigger impact on this world. I can be a better friend, daughter, partner, step-mom. I can be better. It’s all on the other side of complacency. You see, I was not made for playing small. YOU were not made for it either. I was put on this earth to be a big, shiny ball of awesome and that’s exactly what I intend to be. My hope is that by doing more things that scare the shit out of me, I can inspire you to break out of your comfort zone, too. Who knows what awaits us on the other side?
This spring, I took myself to my very first solo spring training game. I am an avid baseball fan and my favorite team happens to play spring ball in Arizona. We usually make at least one game per week during the short spring training season. Unfortunately this year, with Brian’s job taking him out of the state so often, we hadn’t gotten the chance at all.
I’ll admit, it was a nerve-wracking drive to the field. I couldn’t put my finger on why I was so nervous to go alone. Once I got there, I walked around a few times, bought myself a beer and a pretzel, and stood in the sunshine in an attempt to enjoy myself. Were people looking at me weird? Was I being judged? Did people think maybe I didn’t have any friends because I was standing there alone? In all honesty, those thoughts and more went through my mind.
Are any of those thoughts rational? Nope. And if someone WAS looking at me, wondering why I was standing there alone, does that even matter? What someone else thinks of me is none of my business, really. Stepping out of your comfort zone is hard. I wouldn’t say that I have social anxiety, but I do get nervous by myself sometimes or in big groups. Why? I couldn’t really tell you. I am not a fan of crowds, I feel uneasy and exposed. I have a personal bubble and I get very uncomfortable when a lot of strangers come into it. Why? Again, I really couldn’t tell you. Fear is irrational that way, isn’t it? I go shopping by myself all the time, I run errands solo constantly. That’s easy because I have a motive and a plan. A baseball game is about three hours long, and with no real plan but to watch, you can see where the day could get a bit awkward going alone.
Going to that baseball game by myself was weird at first. I had to allow myself to be uncomfortable in the crowd. I took deep breaths and watched a game I love. I even chatted with a few people, including Merle who has been working the games for years and offered to take a picture for me. I worked my way through the awkward and the uncomfortable and came out fine on the other side. In the words of Chow from The Hangover: “But did you die?”
Does this mean I wouldn’t be nervous if I went to another game solo? No, it would probably be just as hard. But it was a great reminder that I can intentionally put myself into awkward and uncomfortable situations and be just fine. Moving forward through the year, I am determined to do more of this.
I think being uncomfortable is a great way to understand who you really are. In the moments in between looking around and focusing on your own path, you can really feel what your motivations are, where your habits tend to lead you, the core of what matters to you. You also really learn to breath, slow down, realize it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s a peek into a different world. One where I’m a little more comfortable, a little more able to express myself, a little less judgey of those around me.
What do you think? Would you ever force yourself to be uncomfortable?
Look for more parts of this series coming as I tackle the awkward and the self-conscious.
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