Oftentimes, we get stuck in our comfort zones. It’s a natural occurrence and it’s completely understandable to want to stay within the confines of what makes you comfortable. Because, well, it’s comfortable. And who wants to feel uncomfortable? But I have learned that nothing great comes out of comfort…except, of course, comfort. But if we manage to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones that is where great things can happen. And this carries through just about every aspect of life that I can think of from the everyday mundane things like our clothing to the bigger and scarier things like huge life goals.
When I was a competitive swimmer in my younger years, I remember my coach teaching me this exact lesson. He would tell me, “You will never swim faster if you stay inside that comfort zone. Fast is supposed to hurt. Push yourself outside of what is comfortable.” I can definitely attest to the truth of this. Fast does hurt. But when you push yourself into the realm of discomfort and pain, eventually that becomes comfortable, too. So then you push even further. And the further you push yourself, the faster you would become. And essentially the only limits to what you can do are the limits you set for yourself.
Ask any superstar athlete or really any dedicated athlete at any level of competition. Or any successful entrepreneur. Or musician, actress, artist. Anyone who has achieved any kind of success has experienced discomfort at one time or another (probably many times) in their journey to their respective success. They all know that your mind and the limits you set for yourself are your toughest competition. Your worst enemy, really. Years after I had hung up my swim suit, I coached a high school swim team. And I remember preaching this same lesson to them. I had them watch the video of the 1982 Hawaii Triathlon where one competitor, Julie Moss, literally crawled across the finish line, dehydrated and covered in her own feces, because her body completely shut down on her. But her mind refused to accept the limits that her body had set. I used this video to explain what can be accomplished when you push outside of your comfort zone.
Julie had only entered the Iron Man competition as part of her research for an exercise physiology thesis and by her own admission did not take training for the event seriously. Nevertheless, she found herself comfortably in the lead with only two miles left at the end of the triathlon. At this point she had become severely dehydrated and her body was shutting down on her. Yet she was determined (delirious, perhaps, but determined nonetheless) to cross the finish line unassisted. Moments before the finish line, she was passed by another competitor and lost her lead. Yet she continued on, crawling on hands and knees until she finished the race she started. The race was broadcast around the world and Julie Moss became an inspiration to so many athletes for years to come.
Today, I am at a point where athletic goals no longer drive me. I do, however, still have life goals. And I have become very comfortable being a stay-at-home mom/Army wife for the past 6 years. But now that I have been pushed into an uncomfortable zone having sent my oldest child off to kindergarten, it is time to start making plans for once both kids are in school. And that is only two years away. Which isn’t really a lot of time. Yet, I have been sitting around day dreaming most of the time about what I want to do with myself at that point. Because I am afraid to take action. I am afraid to fail. And I am quite comfortable right here where I am. But nothing great comes out of comfort.
So in the effort to take some baby steps and start feeling what it is like outside of my comfort zone, I put this outfit together…inspired by Debbie of Fashion Fairy Dust to pair camo and florals. Let me tell you…when I looked in the mirror at this combination, I was so unsure of it that I almost changed my clothes. But I had seen this camo tee at Target a few weeks and I left it behind because I didn’t have time to try it on. And then I saw these fabulous ladies style the tee in three different and gorgeous ways that I had to go back and pick it up yesterday! (Jaymie of Shopping Your Closet with Jaymie Ashcraft, Courtney of The Dainty Darling, and Tif of Bright on a Budget.)
As uncomfortable as I was in this pattern combination, I decided I was going to walk out the door for a girls’ night out wearing it anyway. And I did. And I pretended that I was comfortable. And I think that I rocked it. So now it’s time for me to take some bigger steps into really uncomfortable territory…I will keep you posted. In the meantime, I challenge you to do something, big or small, that is outside of your comfort zone.
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Jeans: Target (last year).
Jacket: Fort Drum Exchange (last year).
Boots: Carlos Santana for Famous Footwear (last year).
Necklaces: My entire collection of pearl necklaces.
Bracelets: All old.
What are your thoughts on getting outside of your comfort zone? Do you also believe great things can happen there?
Uncomfortable on the edge,
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