Living an Exciting Life When You Fear Leaving Your Comfort Zone

On top of the world

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” ~Unknown 

What if you realized on evening of December 31st, that the past 365 days were the best yet? Imagine a single year in which you scared yourself into your deepest fears and faced more challenges than you ever had from all the previous years combined?

Moving forward, how would you feel about one-upping that year? Overwhelmed? Anxious? Scattered? Yeah, me too.

This was the question that I asked myself on the last evening of 2013 that left me thinking back on distant memories, adventures, and the beginning of true uncertainty.

The Best Year Yet: 2013.

Last year began my personal journey of fully embracing the uncomfortable.

I decided to seek the truth and hoped to eventually have enough courage to share my experiences with those who were curious. I left with no travel plans, but only a mission. Adventure.

Thailand. Cambodia. Malaysia. Singapore. Laos. Vietnam. Hong Kong. Japan. Hawaii. San Fran.

I experienced most in backpack form over the course of 108 days.

My reality was completely shaken. I moved from confusion to clarity. What I believed to be important in my life no longer mattered. Returning home, I was filled with a deep sense of appreciation, gratitude, and really wide eyes.

I leaned into what I thought was once impossible due to the laundry list of excuses I had created. Not enough money. No one will go with me. It’s not safe. This isn’t the right time.

Those were only four of the hundreds of thoughts that swirled through my monkey brain, which was doing its best to protect me, right?

This is the short form of the journey that scared the pants off of my fears. Along the way, I learned quite a few lessons. Some the hard way, others rather easy, but all well worth it.

You’ll never have everything figured out.

Imagine for just a moment that you stopped allowing your excuses to own you. There’s a part of you that wants to embrace change, yet every time you think about going after your vision, you’re dumbfounded with objections.

Unfortunately, the only time that you won’t have an excuse will be when you’re six feet under. The fear that resides within each of us will always create a story; yet, we are the ones with the power to make the decision. Ready. Fire. Aim.

It only takes one second to be courageous.

Think about how long it actually takes to do anything you’ve ever wanted to do? It takes one second to make the decision.

One second to click the submit button. One second to say hello. One second to smile. One second to jump in. One second to leave no chance for regrets. One second to hand over your two week notice. One second to say, “This isn’t working.” One second to believe. One second to choose. It only takes one second to be courageous.

Befriend uncertainty.

Whether you’re ready for it or not, the unpredictable will show its face. While we have a tendency to negatively associate with the unknown, realize that you can make the empowered decision to accept the reality.

Byron Katie says this best, “When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100 percent of the time.” Try bringing uncertainty along for the ride. You may notice a greater sense of meaning and fulfillment finding its way into your life.

If it makes you feel safely uncomfortable, please proceed.

If you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel safely anxious, awkward, nervous, and/or uneasy, it very well may be the best thing for you. As Tony Robbins says, “The quality of our lives is directly related to the amount of uncertainty we can live with comfortably.”

Remember, though, these uncomfortable experiences must also align with your preferences and values. When in doubt, intuitively listen to your soul.

As you continue to slowly build your uncomfortable muscles, you’ll gain more clarity around what feels right. Each adventure will not only contribute to rapid personal growth, but will also increase your threshold for dealing with such unsettling feelings.

Replace “What will they think of me?”with“What’s really important to me?”

Say hello to your ego. And now, please ask him/her to keep quiet. When we find ourselves in moments where we might be exposed to internal feelings of nervousness, embarrassment, or anxiousness, we usually tend to run the other way.

We’ve got this incredible internal system that was designed to protect us from real danger, the fight or flight response. Unfortunately, our brain can’t distinguish the difference between our fear of public speaking versus being chased by a bear.

However, you have the ability to differentiate between the two situations. When you find yourself safely immersed within an uncomfortable situation, try sitting with it. Before you know it, the related negative feelings will disappear.

Each day, we get to paint our own canvas. What will you be remembered for, soul sibling?

Give yourself permission to live uncomfortably. I dare you.

Photo by Lara Cores

About Josh Barad

Josh Barad, founder and CUO (Chief Uncomfortablist Officer) at In The Middle Seat, helps peeps get over rejection, move through objection, and lead powerfully meaningful lives. Check out the community of truth-seekers who have chosen extraordinary living. You ready to live uncomfortably?

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