“Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone” is a post by Tiva Jones. Tiva owns Creativity Loft, a public relations company that specializes in pr, branding, and marketing for authors, magazines & publishers. (Tiva has closed Creativity Loft and now runs HeyAwesomeGirl.com) Before you start saying ‘old news, I don’t care,’ you might want to think about how a false comfort zone may be holding you back.
The biggest safe zone of all . . .
There are all kinds of comfort zones: a neighborhood, a job, a preferred route to drive or walk, a certain group of friends, there is plenty of time to (fill-in-the-blank). Perhaps the biggest comfort zone of all is “Someday.” Lots of people use “someday” as a safe zone. Someday I’ll write a book. Someday I’ll move to Italy. Someday I’ll forgive xxx for what he/she did.
Even us ‘creative’ types have comfort zones: I’ll query an agent someday, I’ll submit my story someday when I learn how to do this one thing . . . . Yet, someday never seems to come.
A couple of years ago, I participated in a couple of online writing course: How to Revise Your Novel (HTRYN) and How to Think Sideways (HTTS) by Holly Lisle.* In the HTTS course, Holly refers to something she calls Thinking Barriers: Safe, Perfect, Victim, and Feel. I won’t go into detail about these, but learning how to break these thinking barriers is instrumental to Holly’s course. I thought I learned those lessons, perfectly. NOT.
We use barriers, like Holly’s thinking barriers, to protect us from things we fear. Facing the fear is absolutely essential to finding a way past those barriers. Some fears are important to respect in order to maintain physical and emotional safety. Some fears are really big and they cannot be faced head-on in one step. Look at the fear, the barrier, you’ve constructed. If that fear keeps you from moving forward, from achieving what you want to do, you need to face that fear. There are small steps you can take. Maybe the first step is to read a how-to book. It could be for you to respond to one post. Or perhaps it’s to go to a party and say hi to one new person. If you really want to move forward, I’m certain you will find a way to take that first small step. (If you want to read more about how to move from fear to your dream, read Make Room for Fear and Your Dreams.)
Build on small steps
Between the Holly Lisle Novel Writing School courses and Tiva’s post, I realized I am in the false comfort zone, Perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist. Perfect never finishes. If I wait and I work hard to be PERFECT, I won’t meet you, I will never have a blog, I won’t finish this web site, I won’t finish my book, etc., etc. So — I’m stepping out of my comfort zone.
I read up on how to put together a website. How to publish a blog. And now it’s time. The small steps have led me here. I am putting up this website and blog. I’m posting this, relatively unpolished post (Give me a break! A girl can’t change in the course of 700 words). Soon, I will have novellas and novels for sale on this website. Small steps that will take me to my goal: published stories that are read by people like you.
You know what? Tiva is right. There is power in facing your fears. And there is power in taking small steps. Live outside of your comfort zone.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Holly Lisle’s HTTS and HTRYN courses. If you use the buttons on my website, I will get a small cash payment. You do not have to use those buttons. The link in my blogroll to the right will take you directly to the courses listing on her website. Regardless of how you get there, go to Holly’s site. She has many helpful articles and blog posts.
Will you face disappointments in twenty years? Is there a false comfort zone that keeps you from achieving your dreams? What small steps can you take to move out of your false comfort zone, toward your dreams?