Although it was decades ago, I still clearly remember being a young girl (I believe 5 years old) at a youth ice skating race day. We were there because my older brother was going to race.
There were races for each age bracket, and I qualified for the youngest group of racers.
I was a good skater for my age. My parents encouraged me to race, but I refused.
So I sat on the sideline and watched the two skaters in my age bracket race. Two! Time seemed to stand still as they struggled to get around the whole track. They did more of a shuffle than a skate, and fell A LOT.
I could have skated circles around them! But I didn’t, because I didn’t even try.
Even more clearly than watching the race, I remember my incredible feeling of disappointment in myself. I was scared of losing and looking stupid, so I took myself out of the game before I ever got in. I gave up without even trying.
I could have felt like a big kid! I would have won my first trophy! I should have raced and had fun!
Coulda, woulda. Shoulda.
Since that day still sticks with me today, I think it’s safe to say I learned a lesson. I believe I’m more willing to step out of my comfort zone and take a risk because shoulda-woulda-coulda is not the way I want to live.
We all get to make choices, and every choice has consequences. Our lives are defined by the choices we make.
We can choose to stay nestled in our comfort zone where there is:
- A low risk of failure
- No need for emotional vulnerability
- And life stays the same
However, while hiding in the comfort zone and avoiding fears, opportunities will be missed.
Missed opportunities lead to regret.
Regret stirs up feelings of shame, often causing negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk eats away confidence and courage, resulting in staying stuck in the comfort zone even more.
It’s a cycle that can keep you stuck, unless you decide to make a difference choice.
Comfort Zone or Rise Zone: your choice
There’s another choice, and that is to take action EVEN WHEN fear wants to keep you in the comfort zone where everything is predictable and low/no risk.
It takes courage, but life is more exciting and rewarding when you’re willing to step out of the comfort zone and take a few chances. I call this the Rise Zone because you rise to the life you really want to live – one with joy, fulfillment, and fun!
Yes, it will feel uncomfortable for a while. Growth is uncomfortable because it’s all new for you. Give yourself a little compassion, trust the ups and downs of your journey are taking you to the perfect destination, and get support if you need it.
To learn more about taking action, read my post about taking chances and getting the life you really want.
You are in charge of your own life.
Dr. Bobbie Stevens, the founder and CEO of Unlimited Futures, LLC, an organization that has been providing programs for the development of human potential for over thirty years, says:
“It is so important to understand that we are all making choices all the time, even when we chose not to choose we have still made a choice. It is our choices that determine our experiences. The choices we are making today will show up in our experiences in the future.
Unless we are willing to take full responsibility for ourselves and the choices we make, we have no control over our lives. We have been given all the power to create our experiences through our choices, but if we believe that outside forces are responsible for our choices we give away all the power we have.
Sometimes making the right choice or even knowing how to choose is very difficult, but it is vitally important to understand that you are in charge of your own life if you chose to think for yourself. If you chose not to take charge, you will experience the consequences of that choice, and simply be blown about by life like a leaf in the wind.”
The Choice is Yours
Sometimes we get stuck in the certainty of status quo rather than embracing the uncertainty that comes with taking action and getting the life we truly desire.Ellen Burgan