Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone


Ever gone skydiving?

No, me neither.

How about public speaking?

I was not ready for oratory last night, but a toastmaster friend said it’s the only way to improve. Find the end of your comfort zone. Jump over it. Sure, take a little time (or a lot) to prepare, but if you keep saying, “I’m not ready,” you’ll never be ready.

When I joined Toastmasters, back in August, the goal was to listen. Learn. Give the introduction speech, then a talk once or twice a year. Preferably in low-turnout nights, surrounded by people I know. Play it safe.

But my friend, a speaker extraordinaire, said no. That will do for you exactly nada. Nothing. Get out of your comfort zone, and the rest will come.

But what if I screw up?

You won’t. But if you lay an egg, step back, laugh, and we’ll laugh with you. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Those words — from Neal Donald Walsch — are still ringing in my head.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

As I reflect upon those words, I think that’s true with everything. I was not ready to send my latest story to Red Fez Magazine. But after I read it to the point of blurry vision, I took a deep breath and clicked Send.

A month later the story was published at Red Fez.

Didn’t know whether I was ready for the A-Z Blogging Challenge last year. But in a moment of courage and madness, I said Why not? The outcome, as I already mentioned, exceeded my expectations in wonderful ways.

I learned, the hard way, that as a writer, blogger — as an earthling — I’m doing myself a disservice in keeping behind the comfort line.

All right, I don’t plan on jumping out of a plane (not yet) or mountain skiing. Still want to keep safe, limbs attached to my body, but I say The Heck with too much comfort.

So, why not give the speech? (I’ll share the pics as soon as I have them). Why not go for another challenge? Submit more stories? Why not — finally — join Twitter? Just in time, too, for the A-Z Chat tomorrow (2/28). There’s never time to do more — a universal problem — but life begins at … you know the rest. :)

Have you stood on the edge of your comfort zone? Jumped past it? How did it go?




8 responses to “Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

  1. Many times I’ve jumped without thinking, and it’s usually turned out fine–and made for an interesting life, since I’ve always hated the thought of spending my life in a routine “career” job. However, public speaking is something I’ve avoided my entire life. I’ve considered Toastmasters, but still have not had the nerve–that will be the ultimate way of leaving my comfort zone. Maybe I’ll have to take a lesson from you and go for it! (Yikes)
    Hey, I signed up for the AtoZ challenge–you inspired me after seeing your posts last year! And I’m on Twitter in case you join, I’ll be a happy follower :-) @lindacovella
    Looking forward to hearing about your Toastmaster experiences. Good luck!!

    • I followed you, Linda. Yay!
      Toastmasters is great for self-improvement, which I strongly believe in. Pushed me way out my zone, and on March 8th I’m scheduled for a speech on the district level. Never would’ve thought it possible. I encourage you to give it a try.

  2. I guess different folks have different comfort zones. For me, public speaking is relatively easy. But submitting a story for publication is so hard. I don’t know why I’m afraid to do it, but I am. I’m signed up for the A-Z Challenge, too. I’m going to have a theme this time: Family History & Genealogy.

    Have fun at Toastmasters. Remember, every one in the audience is a person you could talk to easily one on one. No monsters, just folks.

    • Thank you Carolyn. No question we have different comfort zones. Public speaking (before very large crowds) is getting easier. I think you should send that story. And if you get a rejection (which you may not), send out another story that same day. Why not?

  3. Lovely post Sylvia thank you! I love my comfort zones but I feel myself becoming complacent when in them too long! It is so necessary to stretch out of them as you so aptly described – the universe plays ball when we do this. As we extend ourselves, we get accommodated in precisely how you experienced it! Taking that first jump – into the unknown!

  4. I missed the A to Z chat. I have a twitter account, but I don’t use it much. I tweet my posts and the ones I want to share from other bloggers. I’m quite active on facebook. You’ve seen my shiny new website. That was a big step for me. It is an investment in myself as a writer and in my creative life. Now, I’m doing more and feeling like I can stretch beyond my imaginings. I’m looking forward to this April’s A to Z challenge!
    Play off the Page
    Go. Create, Inspire!

  5. Hey hey hey! love this piece.
    Long time no speak…

  6. 👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌

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