Daily prompt: outside of the comfort zone

Today’s Daily Prompt: Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.

Since two major themes in my life of late have been boldness and practising radical (self-) honesty, I mostly am thinking about the third part of this statement.

The image below sums it up nicely (I originally saw this on an episode of Girls and thought it was brilliant.)


Most of the time when I step outside of my comfort zone, magic does happen….or at least, whatever happens is a valuable experience, even if it ends up seeming less-than-magical.

I think the things that matter are actually the small day-to-day things, or, things that might not seem like a big deal to most.  I’m an introvert, so sometimes just starting or continuing a conversation with a stranger is a big deal for me.  Or sometimes when I have a particularly bold moment in front of friends (friends who know me as quiet), I think it surprises them.  Or having a really chatty day at work, and find something new out about someone.  Or telling someone that I like them and facing the fear of rejection.  Or going out alone.

Some more specific things:

  • When I was 20 I travelled to Europe by myself.  It was supposed to be some spiritual- independent-woman-journey.  I remember almost everyone I told looking a bit shocked, or saying something about me going alone.  Seeing that shock value on  people’s faces was half the fun: how will little quiet nice Renee manage on such a trip?  I think I wanted them to know that I am brave and independent   Really mostly what I did was drink and goof around, but hey, you could say it was a spiritual journey of sorts.
  • During a personal training session in the fall, I started to actually view myself as an exercise-type, a fitness person, which is completely the opposite of how I’ve always thought of myself.  It was strange and awesome (I wrote more about that here).
  • When my old boss was ending his Chairship (chairdom? lol), I rewrote the words to Space Oddity and we did a few silly songs for him at a party at work.  It was the first time I ever really sang on stage.  I am pretty sure we sounded mediocre at best, but in the end it was fun, and my boss really appreciated the work and creativity!  

You don’t have to jump out of a plane to challenge yourself or step outside of your normal zone.  Sometimes all it takes is a small change: a different dialogue, a directional shift, a fresh face, a new view.

How have you been bold lately?


Small changes are the best (most of the time)

Today, the Daily Prompt question is: You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally? 

Oh man, I am definitely NOT the queen of big, fast changes.  Not. At. All.

At least, I think I’m not.  I am constantly craving change at a faster pace than it happens, but then I look back and realize, OK, so my life was pretty different a couple of years ago.  Still, I want more variety!  I’m constantly trying to find ways to fit change into my regular routine.  At least, I’m always trying to take a new course, or do a new activity.

I am the queen of ideas, sometimes making them happen and sometimes not.  Most of the time, I don’t have the time, money, heart or focus to make (bigger) changes happen fast, so they take a while by default.

Take school for instance.  I get free tuition (to an extent) but I also always work full time.   So I am obligated to take one course at a time, thereby taking forever to get the next certificate, diploma or degree.

One thing I’m bad at cold-turkeying (for better or worse– OK, mostly worse) is relationships.  A break-up should really be a straight up split – no talking, no contact, no nothing.  I get too flaky about this kind of thing, and wish I had more discipline.

I think that regular small changes are so important, though.  To use a somewhat trite example, a new hair cut /color can do wonders!  I’m not the queen of dramatic hair changes, but I like to make small ones regularly, and then once every few years do something a little drastic.

I’ve been waiting for that big leap-of-faith change for a while.  I’ve been craving a complete turnaround, wanting to make a move that’s spontaneous and crazy, surprise and inspire myself and everyone.  jump

Not just talk about it, but actually make the move.

Hopefully my capacity for this gets greater as I grow older.  I want to be braver and jump in with both feet more frequently.

But there is something to be said for taking the slower, more cautious route.  Creating the space for new things to come in naturally (rather than forcing fast  changes for the wrong reasons) can be healthy too.

I think that our Western society is much too ‘goal’ oriented: we want things fast, we want things now.  We forget that making one or several small changes leads to – or, is essentially the big change.

Practice doesn’t always make perfect: practice is perfect.  

The big change might just happen quietly, subtly, more slowly and perhaps more naturally than an ‘all or nothing’ change.  It doesn’t need to be too painful or too scary.  The path to the eventual big change might just teach you the importance of space, discipline, patience, consistency, faith.  Baby steps are OK too!

Don’t underestimate the power of small, consistent changes (if you don’t smoke for just today, it matters), or the importance of spontaneity and risk (ask that girl you like out already! do it now!), if the latter is what your heart wants.

A massive change, a clean slate – well, that can be a terrifying and fabulous thing.  But it’s not always the only – or the best – way through.

Being a naturally cautious person (who yearns to be more exciting), a nice balance of this is summed up in one of my favorite sayings: plan to be spontaneous!