Head First – Giant Leaps Out of Your Comfort Zone

Leap of Faith - Krabi ThailandIn a previous blog post, Gina shared some tips for stepping out of your comfort zone especially in the face of fear & uncertainty; and in another, Chris looked at how staying in your comfort zone can lead to The Greatest Regret You May Ever Have. But for my first post in months, I wanted to be ambitious and explore those times when we need to truly jump head first…

With a giant leap of faith.

Throw ourselves into the deep-end.

And take massive steps out of our comfort zones.

It is scary though. Some people might never choose to face these leaps head on; but some of us do, and throughout our lives have chosen to step massively outside our comfort zone. Why is this so?

Why Leap Outside Of Your Comfort Zone?

The inspirational idea of “feel the fear and do it anyway” offers us ways to challenge our negative thinking, in order to move from feeling stuck or overwhelmed to happier and more assertive, but there are also times when no amount of logic or positive intention can shift us out of the rut we find ourselves in.

A lot of the time, confidence comes from the actual doing of something – not from the desire to do it, or even necessarily the preparation towards doing it. So by choosing to leap forwards into the unknown, we are automatically giving ourselves a confidence boost. We create the sense of being confident or of achieving confidence specifically because we’re doing something so radical – something we have no idea if we’ll succeed at! Whereas, sometimes the pressure of preparation and trying to work up the courage to do something simply ends up adding to it’s sense of overwhelming terror.

So instead of staying stuck, or struggling against the tide, there is on occasion a time and a place for a more avant garde approach…

I think of it as my “balls to the wall” approach!

There are many reasons I’ve thrown caution to the wind and taken that leap of faith before:

  • Stubbornness – showing up the naysayers (I bungy-jumped off a 150 ft tower when I was ~14, despite my parents’ jests about my being theretofore scared of heights!)
  • No Regrets – the risk of doing something is outweighed by the risk of regret if you don’t do it (I launched the pilot of HurdlesHappen last October, despite having only 3 weeks to set it up!)
  • Now or Never – a perfect or once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes along (like moving to the other side of the world without established friends, family or a job)
  • Contribution/Bigger Picture – the outcome is more important than any fear (I tandem-skydived in order to raise money for a charity also when I was a teen & still somewhat terrified of heights!)
  • Challenge – knowing that succeed or fail, you’ll be a better person than you were or will have learnt something important (publicly announcing that I was crazily going to write a children’s novel in 30 days)
  • Passion/Pain – you don’t want to keep letting go of your passion, or your pain at being stuck is now unbearable (like when I quit a successful IT career with no idea of what I’d do next, because stress was making me ill)

And this week, I’m at it again – as I’ll be singing karaoke on Saturday at a friend’s party despite being totally terrified of singing in front of anyone (even one person)! And I’m doing it because its a now-or-never opportunity, as well as an issue of passion/pain. I truly love singing and am sick of having a chain around my neck that strangles me when my soul wants to sing.

No amount of preparation or planning or practice will take away the terror of actually singing in front of a group for the first time in my adult life. No amount of exploring the emotional scars or changing my thinking patterns about it will make it any easier (nor have made it more likely over the years).

But by going balls to the wall, and deciding to just throw myself into it, I know I WILL do it – regardless of how good or bad I sound.

And the incredible thing is, that since I made the decision to dive head first into the deep-end, I’ve actually been able to get excited about it!

The terror is still there, but the decision to just do it (why the hell not?!) has given me a freedom I could never have imagined. Which is why sometimes a more tempered approach is less effective.

Because by taking a giant leap outside of your comfort zone – by simply making the decision to – you’ll experience a rush that is both enlivening and empowering at the same time.

If you were going to take a massive leap of faith and jump head first into just one thing this year, what would it be? What would you love it to be, even whilst it terrifies you? Join me in going balls to the wall, and please share your experiences of leaping out of your comfort zone, or the times when you really wish you’d chosen to below.