It occurred to me while I was on my second phone call with a good friend as she said in the calmest voice, “you’re going to be finnneeee. If anyone can do this it is you. You’re a fucking survivor,” that the sensations I was feeling were none other than that all too familiar phase of… leaving my comfort zone.
It was 10 o’clock at night in New York and I had this gnawing feeling of lost, hopelessness, and impending doom that made me reach for my phone to call my friend. She lives in Los Angeles, where the time difference for once work in our favor. I had hit my emotional and physical limit. I was burnt out, sleep deprived, and had made more steps forward than I even gave myself credit. I mean, mega, giant, who-is-this-strong-boss-babe steps forward. One after the other towards goals I had been thinking about for years. I had entered a new realm that I never faced before. A week prior, I made the ultimate and most powerful decision… to stop playing small and start playing in the big leagues.
That part came after a series of conversations with a variety of individuals. Honestly, some of them where complete strangers who I had met one night at a bar, or an event, or passing in the street. Yes, I have many conversations with random people all the time. Welcome to my wild world. Some were life long friends, family, and colleagues. I realized that in order to live the life I have buried deep down inside, I must let go of what I know all too well.
The actual decision part and becoming aware of what’s been playing out for years (ie: settling for sucky relationships, low pay, mediocre living) was easy. Recognizing my potential and a better life was within fingers reach was full of, “heck yes, I got this!” It felt good, invigoration. The days following seemed like I was on cloud nine, nothing and no one can touch me. I am on the pursuit of living my best life, darn it.
Then Came The Crash
That “high” lasted for about a week until the feelings of sheer panic seeped in. I am not sure if you’ve ever taken a big risk before, or made a massive change, or even hit with news that completely rocked your world abruptly, but with any of these things, it is nearly impossible to escape this next phase of development. So if you are feeling and going through what I am about to say next, hang in there, you are about to experience the ride of your life.
Pure dread and utter freak out mode are the best ways to describe the second portion of leaving your comfort zone. It feels horrible. The brain begins to recite the same tapes of, “I am not good enough, I am not talented enough, I am not pretty enough, I am not rich enough, I am not (fill in the blank with other nonsense).” Picking at your core self and imagining all the ways this can end badly is a nightmare to live through. And yet it’s some how part of this magical process. And ladies if you are hormonal, you’re really in for a doozy. Those tapes are blaring when it’s right before or during your period. Just saying.
Don’t be surprised if you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, reaching for things you haven’t reached for in years (candy, alcohol, cigarettes, dating apps, shopping, your mom’s couch). It’s at this very moment that the universe is saying, “Oh yeah, how badly do you really want this?” This is also the very moment people turn around and settle for their comfort zone instead of their dreams. Craving the familiar is at an all time high while pushing yourself to a new standard of living.
Careful What You Reach For
As I mentioned, some turn to food, sex, drugs, shopping, alcohol, cigarettes, work, whatever your immediate reaction is to settling the nerves when going through these highs and lows. I personally turn to “run”, and get me the hell outta here. To some extent it’s okay to lean on a few of these to carry you through. It’s human nature. Our brains are wired in a way to protect us and make sure we freaking survive. And what our brains are perceiving while leaving our comfort zone is, “Danger, turn around this absolute minute.”
Be aware though of what you are using and how often because the very last thing you want to do is to stay stagnant. Or worse, return to where you started. Some of these devices can actually block the momentum of moving forward. It can mute our intuitive thought process that guides us to the next step, and then the next, and the next. You need those senses to be loud and clear to lead you to the path that will catapult you to your dreams. And essentially to a position where you feel like you can breathe again.
Don’t Quit Before The Miracle
The popular saying happens to be incredibly true. It is always the hardest right before the big shift. It get’s ugly, seemingly impossible, there is no light, only pitch darkness when you’re in the thick of it. It’s at this time of discomfort where you change the most. These are the trying times that life prepares and hands you the tools you need for that next big level.
Often, people, places and things are pruned from our lives before entering the next stage. Why? Because at that next level in life, they aren’t needed. It’s impossible to be the same person doing the same things at a greater level. That means, bu-bye toxic losers, low paying jobs, and yucky living environments. It also means, sayonara bad habits, lazy tendencies, and low self-esteem.
When wading through this period, it may take everything you got to keep going. I love the other saying, “learn how to rest, not quit.” You may need extra self care, sleep, time to yourself. Shut off your phone, delete social media, go for a walk. It’s all going to be okay if you take a moment to meditate and breathe. Believe me, what you are working through will be there when you return. Whatever you do, don’t give up. The miracle is right on the other side. That job offer, husband, baby, home, money, health… it’s within reach you can almost taste it.
The only reason why I know this process all too well is because I have gone through it several times. The break through happens when you least expect it and often after the most trying times. It comes faster if you surrender to this process and not fight the discomfort. In fact, make it a party. Get down and dirty with the dark moments of the unknown. I frankly love giving myself pep talks, throwing my hands up and screaming plot twist, and shake it off while listening to music. Breathe into the pain, let it go, move forward.
When the breakthrough happens, when you land that client, meet that special person, find the purpose of all of the struggle, it is the most gratifying experience. You are able to say, I did that. I really freaking did that and survived. It also opens up doors to places you didn’t know existed. Opportunities flood in that never crossed your mind to ask for. Happiness is richer, laughter is more heart felt, the people you are surrounded by are a quality you’ve only dreamed of mingling with.
You are never gifted a dream you weren’t meant to fulfill. It take guts and trying times to get there though. Often it isn’t even the physical, surface circumstances that make it difficult. It’s the mental battles that go on. It’s enduring the uncertainty and having faith in yourself and the universe to pull through. Whatever you are facing, keep going and keep making steps forward. Like I said, rest if you need to. Learn to love yourself through it, the hard moments will break and lead into a world of absolute amazement.
Let me know in the comments how you have dealt with the feelings of leaving your comfort zone!