As a novelist, I’m always interested to learn what motivates people to go beyond their comfort zone to that place where real growth happens. When creating characters, I enjoy learning lessons through them. What makes them act the way they do? Why do they care so deeply for certain things? How did they become so cynical, so happy or so fearful?
A Comfort Zone Can Steal the Magic
We’re all driven by different things. Our past experiences shape the way we view the world and the way we interact with others. We all come equipped with driving forces that dig deep and push us towards or pull us away from defining moments. Getting stuck in a comfort zone robs us of defining moments.
How do I get out of my comfort zone?
I’m driven by the word CAN’T. When someone tells me I can’t do something, I do it double-time. The catalyst for this motivation to jump out of the comfort zone digs deep.
When I was in kindergarten and sitting in a circle for story time, a girl bullied me. Each time I’d raise my hand to answer a question, she’d hit me. After several grueling rounds of this, I stopped raising my hand and eventually lost all confidence to speak to anyone but my best friend, Todd, and my immediate family members. For two years, I spoke only to them. Talk about getting stuck in a ‘comfort zone’ that was anything but comfortable!
Bribed with adventures and treats that would make any well-adjusted child leap for joy, I turned my back on any hope of being a ‘normal’ kid. Then one day, my best friend begged me to speak to his mother because that was the only way I could go to his baseball game. For three hours, I stood next to his mom as she watched soap operas and waited patiently for me to whisper something, anything, in her ear.
Todd begged and cried for me to brave up and say something. By the end of the third hour, my best friend knelt down exhausted and said to me, “I knew you couldn’t do it.” This little action switched something in me so powerful that I managed to whisper ‘yes’ into his mom’s ear.
I haven’t been able to stop talking since.
Fast forward to high school English class. To graduate, I needed to present my book report to the class. I refused, deathly afraid of public speaking. My English teacher allowed me to present it to him after school.
When I finished, he told me, “You won’t succeed in a professional setting, so get used to working harder instead of smarter. That little insult sparked an inferno inside of me, and I marched off to college shortly after and majored in public speaking, and graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Whenever someone tells me I can’t accomplish something, I accomplish the S*#T out of it!
That is my fuel. What’s yours? What gets you out of your comfort zone?