The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears. Dan Stevens
In recent years, I have been confronted with several instances in which I have had to leave my comfort zone. Each time I have been filled with a level of anxiety about the uncertain future and dread over leaving what has become so familiar. Just submitting this monthly blog is a departure from my norm. As I share my experience maybe those of you reading this are at a place of transformation and transition can relate.
I consider my comfort zone to be a place of predictability. It is a place where I can choose to be anonymous. It is a place where I am always safe and secure. On the surface this sounds like the best place to be. However, I have found that usually just as I settle into the complacency of the comfort zone, I begin to feel a restless pull to move forward. Predictability is important. But I would argue that when the security of predictability hinders creativity and growth, we are no longer in a developmentally healthy place.
My 5th grade daughter, Anna, recently told me that although she is excited about her elementary school graduation, she doesn’t want to go to middle school. When I asked her why, she said the middle school kids are all taller than her and the teachers are mean. Now it is clear that her concern is not based on a realistic assessment of the situation. So Mom/Therapist began to challenge these irrational fears. I began by pointing out that she had not met ALL of the middle school students. Also, I was sure there would be 6th graders her same height as there are 5th graders her height now. Not to mention that she has not stopped growing herself. I also pointed out the negative stereotype that somehow if a child is taller than her it would mean they are not nice. I also reminded her that she had never met any of the middle school teachers so how could she possibly know if they are all mean? Although this example may seem a bit silly and obvious, I bring it up because Anna was doing what we tend to do when confronted with leaving our comfort zone. We allow irrational fear of the unknown to prevent us from moving forward.
I began this blog by stating I have recently been challenged in many ways to leave my comfort zone. I can now report that stepping out into unfamiliar territory has given me a new excitement towards life. I don’t believe we were created to be stagnant. When leaving your comfort zone pack light so you can move forward in freedom and boldness without the baggage of fear and anxiety slowing you down.