Comfort zones

Earlier this week I was traveling around Monterey with my daughter. She’s a lot of fun, and very energetic, but she firmly believes that I should not get stuck in my comfort zone. She’s always trying to nudge me out of it, whether by pushing me to hike longer than I might have, or encouraging me gently to climb a fence. I’ll catch you mom! (I should note that we were climbing the fence because we realized we were on private land and were trying to get on to public land.) Or even to talk to people that I might otherwise be intimidated by. So, I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors: When was the last time you got out of your comfort zone? This is what they said:


Last week. I presented three workshops, each ranging from 60-90 minutes, at Sleuthfest 2019. My room was an actual auditorium-style lecture hall–a stage facing semicircular rows of built-in desks. From the stage, I couldn’t even see the faces of anyone sitting in the back row. To my horror, people actually showed up. I was forced to stand in front of an audience and not sound like an idiot or a nervous nellie. Have I mentioned that I hate, hate, hate public speaking? As a strong introvert (INTJ all the way, baby), it’s just not in my nature. I’d much rather write something than say something. I know me well enough to know this about myself. I also know that public speaking is likely to be part of any career I imagine for myself so I’ll need to do it, whether I want to or not.
Long story short, I did okay. No equipment malfunctions, no stage fright, handled the mansplainers and bogarters, even got a few compliments afterwards (and kudos for keeping my cool when handling the bogarter). Topped it off by sitting on an author interview panel and being interviewed for a podcast.Am I ever going to enjoy public speaking? No. Will I ever be comfortable with it? Doubtful. Did I prove to myself that I could do it? Yes.
I’d still rather write than speak.


Awesome story! Well done, you! I know you rocked the house.
Life is always presenting us with opportunities that take us outside our comfort zone. Usually I say yes if only because what I’m most afraid of is being afraid.That said, I have to be steel myself to do anything that involves heights—whether it’s paragliding or flying in a biplane or climbing a ladder. Even standing on my head in yoga class literally gave me panic attacks until I learned to breathe through it. When I was a child my mother would always say to me, “as long as what you’re doing doesn’t hurt anyone, you shouldn’t be afraid to do it.” I took her at her word.  


I second Paula in saying that Alexia, I’m sure you were amazing! Wish I had been there (heckling from the seats you couldn’t see…..)
Way out of my comfort zone would be anything dare devilish – I’m not a thrill seeker. No sky diving. I’m not even much of one for the ocean… including the part near the beach. On the other hand, I’d love to do the road rally across Asia from “Peking to Paris.” So comfort zones are flexible, or perhaps that trip is not at all thrill seeking so not in the same category. Honestly, I’ve had to do so many things that were outside my comfort zone I simply stopped worrying about it. The primary comfort zone boundary was anything in front of strangers. Then I decided to consider no one a stranger and edged toward solving the psychological part of the problem. Mind over matter, an ongoing battle. 


What’s a comfort zone?
I’m only half-joking. One of the best tidbits of advice I ever got was from a mountain bike racer, Julie Furtado. She said the key skill to master in mountain biking was getting comfortable on loose surfaces. She meant trail conditions, of course, but the same theory applies to my day job, my writing life, and life, in general. I’ve managed to get so comfortable with ever-shifting events/demands/landscapes that I tend to get itchy when things are status quo for too long. So, I guess my comfort zone is being uncomfortable 🙂 More accurately, I roll with changes. I’m not pushed as much as jumping head first. 


I am writing a speech right now that is definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone. The writing part is fine, the performing/delivery part of it is not what I am accustomed to doing. I like writing in silence and performing songs, but speeches are different. And speaking for forty minutes, as the entertainment, is a different ball game. 

I don’t mean to be flippant, but each morning when I put my feet on the floor I am out of my comfort zone. I never know what the day will bring, doubt whether I can face it, let alone overcome the challenges. Sometimes the day brings a major challenge. More often there are a series of mini-tests. When I climb back into bed at night, I am grateful to have fought the good fight, whatever shape it took.  

Occupational hazard that you and I share, Michele.

How about you? When’s the last time you were pushed out of your comfort zone?

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