I walk an adorable, little marshmallow of a dog, who is very tentative to walk around any block besides the one she lives on.  What I discovered, is that when I walk her with my own two dogs in tow, she becomes more adventurous.  And, while I can still see the hesitation in her body, she consistently will choose to let go of her fear enough to follow her friends.  It’s amazing how simply adding in support allows us to be vulnerable to new possibilities.

It’s often said that the life we crave is just outside our comfort zone.  So, what gets us to invest in change, and life outside our comfort zone; to stand in the light of our calling and the universal love asking to permeate our life?  Well, firstly, I do believe we have to be willing or open in some way, even if that openness is flooded with fear.  We have to have shaped our beliefs to hold the possibility.  Second, I believe we need to be inspired, and by more than just material growth.  I believe the key driving forces that can push us out of our comfort zone are personal growth, service to others, and aspiration.  To just be in it for the money will only allow us to go so far before our fears pull the plug on our dreams or sense of fulfillment. In coaching, we believe you can only take someone as far as you are willing to take yourself, and I believe the same is true for the distance we’ll go outside of our comfort zone.

Having a support network, encouraging you to engage more fully with life, in the areas that nurture and expand you, is truly crucial to living outside of your box.  Many will say that they are “home bodies,” and to an extent, I believe introverts do require more independent recharging time; but social interaction is essential for all beings.  In fact, social interaction is proven to be a key component in expanding the longevity of one’s life!

Friendships, of all types, can offer us safety to go that extra mile in uncharted territory.  It’s the trusting of the bond between one another that provides a safety net.  If you’ve ever done an activity with complete strangers, that forced all of you outside of your comfort zones, you understand that those experiences often create life-long friendships.  This is because you have pushed beyond the point of safety with one another, you were successfully vulnerable, and you all survived to tell the tale.

There are also friendships we maintain that do not push us out of our comfort zones, and that is why we have chosen them.  They are safe.  We have established a routine, and are confident that our current words and actions are sufficient to keep the globe of the friendship spinning.  We may be connected to them through our past, or through a once momentous breakthrough, that together you can rehash and feel invigorated.  We feel accepted, and confident that nothing demanding will be asked of us.  It’s important to have these relationships, I think, but I think it’s also important to recognize them.

To really push outside of our comfort zone, I believe we need a mentor.  This mentor could be in the form of a professor, or an author, or a person you are aspiring to be like.  You may or may not know the mentor personally, but I’m not certain that’s fully necessary to grow.  Obviously, it would likely be more electric to be able to hold full conversations with a mentor, but I do believe that lessons can come in any form, and can be obtained through observation or words.  It’s all about what you’re open to and, likely, what it is you are aspiring towards.  Clearly my dog pal needed another physical being with her to feel confident to take on uncharted territory in the form of a new city block.  However, I hold many incredible authors and spiritual teachers as mentors – many I have not personally met.

So, can you see the wall of your comfort zone?  Do you often look out the windows of those walls and day dream?  What will it take for you to feel willing to step outside of them?  Not necessarily safe, mind you, but willing.  Who can you reach out to that might be able to offer you guidance, or serve as a support, as you begin a new adventure?  There is always a way if we are willing to be resourceful, and allow our determination to comfort our fears.

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