By Guest Blogger, Leana Dell, Author/Speaker/Podcast Host

Comfort zone. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I envision a quiet evening wrapped in a blanket and drinking a hot cocoa by a roaring fire. And why not add an adoring little dog at my feet for good measure. Joy. So, if comfort zones are so appealing, why is everyone trying to get us out of them? They say push yourself “outside of the box” for a reason. They’re confining.
What I’ve found is that the longer I rest in a comfort zone, the smaller my world gets. I’ve lived in Dallas, Texas, off and on, for close to 10 years, and if you’re familiar with traffic in the Big ‘D,’ you’ll know that commutes of any kind are like maneuvering the Texas Motor Speedway. Somewhere around year five, I moved back to my native Canada for a few years and to a significantly smaller city. It was lovely. Slower pace, relaxed culture, and people who actually took vacation. Coming back to Dallas, I found myself intimidated.

How did I ever drive in this city? Or keep up with this insane pace?

What had happened? I’d settled into the recliner of my cozy, little comfort zone, and it took several months for me to get back in the swing of things.

Am I recommending that we force ourselves into a fast paced urban environment in order to challenge ourselves? Hardly. But what I do suggest is that we make a conscious effort to set down the cocoa and try something new to keep from getting locked inside. One of the best ways to do this is to get in touch with our most challenging inner voice. You know the one: I can’t do that. I’m too old to try. What if I make a fool of myself?

For me, that’s the cue to go for it. If I think ‘I can’t,’ then I do – within reason, of course. I’m not in the best shape to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, for example, but I know people my age who have gotten there and done it, which means I probably could, too. For me, my biggest push was jumping out of a plane at the age of 54, but yours doesn’t have to be dramatic. Maybe you take up public speaking, or volunteer at that shelter that’s been calling your name. It could even be as simple as having dinner alone in a restaurant. Regardless of what your can’t do is, know that so much waits for you on the other side.

What if I told you that we’re never too old to gain self-confidence? Or that the more we do, the more we’ll want to do? The magic awaits in our one brief moment of hesitation – that place where we pause and think, ‘Maybe.’ All possibilities shift when we respond with a YES! And remember, nothing stays the same, regardless. When we consistently say ‘No,’ that roaring fire eventually dies down, the blankets wear thin, cups of cocoa grow cold, and adoring little dogs beg to go outside.

Leana is host of the internationally popular podcast Girlfriend, We Need To Talk!, author of the bestselling novel Control Switch, a TEDx speaker, and an authority on leadership development.

You can find her at www.leanadelle.com or www.GirlfriendWeNeedToTalk.com or follow her at @leanadelle.