Well…I bet you have heard of those two words quite often during your adult life. It is on every management guide, self help/motivational books and quotes, on various TEDtalks, etc. It is a concept often mentioned and quite a catchphrase, one that triggers people’s curiosity and gets their attention. It is quite common to hear phrases like “to succeed, you gotta get out of your comfort zone”! There is some, if not a lot, of truth in that sentence.

I have been getting out of mine for the past 4 years now. It is true that time flies, for crying out loud. To come and think of it, my twenty-year-old self would never try to get out of his comfort zone! Well, he could but he wouldn’t dare much, that I know. As a matter of fact, I didn’t get out of my comfort zone, I seldom did. I played it safe. I stayed comfortable. I would even avoid discomfort. It made sense though! Why in the hell would I be uncomfortable? Why try new things when there was a possibility of failure? Why take a risk when I could just sit down, shut up and hope things keep running smoothly? Staying in the comfort zone literally made me comfortable.

Then, a few various unfortunate and unhappy events happened to me and I found myself going into unchartered territory. I would end up in situations I had never anticipated, let alone trained for! Therefore, I was completely lost and fearful I might not be able to overcome those obstacles. That is when you realize how fragile you are and you need to toughen up, fast and efficiently. Thankfully, I was raised by resourceful and insanely optimistic parents and I relied on my people who are truly my support system and I finally was able to overcome these obstacles.

I don’t want this to sound like a self aggrandizing/mythical/bragging story. It is more of a tale whose protagonist could be anyone. It just happens that it was me, in this particular case. In the past 4 years, I have started sharing my texts and writings. I started with close friends and family and I branched out from there, word to mouth and social media did the rest. I started doing audio versions of my texts, thanks to the advice of a dear sister of mine. I started hosting events and weddings more regularly, which is something I have come to love and appreciate more and more as time passes by. I started a podcast and my first episode is already out. I got some of the feedback and people seem to like it. My twenty-year-old self wouldn’t believe what I have accomplished so far because I don’t believe I was ever destined to do all this. My own path, mistakes, environment, natural feel and some talent, paved the way for me to become who I am today.

Speaking of getting out of the comfort zone…I am not technology savvy; I refer to myself as “technology challenged”. I don’t know anything about coding, editing, designing algorithms, etc. I recorded the audio using my phone, which is as simple as it gets and then I had to put it together and make it an enjoyable piece of audio, worth listening. That was THE CHALLENGE for my simple-minded computer challenged self.

I had to buy an audio editing software, which means I had to look at different reviews online to know which is best. Once I got it, I had to open and realize it looks like a plane control panel! So many buttons and layouts and whatever else you can imagine. So, I had to go on YouTube and learn how to edit an audio, add background music, cut the audio, trim it, remix it and so many other damn things. It took me a month to make one passable audio file and I am still learning how to do it even better. I open the software sometimes and it still looks like a spaceship and I fucking curse!

To me, that is the definition of getting out of the comfort zone! I don’t care what anyone says but I know I got out of my comfort zone. Through time, dedication, hundreds of cussing and cursing, dozens of giving up instances, I was able to make something worth of other people’s time. It wasn’t luck, it was just work and getting out of the comfort zone. The latter always presents a challenge and it feels good to overcome a challenge every once in a while.

I am not perfect nor am I better than the rest of humanity. I am lucky enough to live in a place where I got the resources to accomplish these small steps in my life, which, in retrospect, seem like humongous steps, quite frankly.

This isn’t going to be one of those motivational speeches or texts, where I quote Eminem by saying You can do anything you set your mind to, man”. I aint gonna do that because life doesn’t always have happy endings. I know we do not always succeed every chance we get. I know we fail; I know I have and I will keep failing. But I will not sit here and pretend we only lose. Sometimes, we win. We succeed. I simply got out of my comfort zone and it worked out. It doesn’t work out every time, but you will never know until you try.

I believe I have found my own way in life through writing first. It opened doors for me, and I still am amazed by the opportunities writing has brought me. I got to know people, connect with them, talk to them, listen to their stories. I get motivated by them. People bless me with encouragement, and I return the favor as often as I can.

I stepped out of my comfort zone because it had become too comfortable and dull. I wasn’t looking for adventure necessarily, I was trying to find my place in the world and do something that gives me meaning, something that motivates me and keeps me going. It started with writing, hosting events, and now, I started a podcast. Who knows what’s next? I am not sure myself yet, I am enjoying this crazy ride prompted by getting out of my comfort zone. Sometimes, one gotta enjoy the voyage and not worry about the destination.

The comfort zone tends to stunt your growth. It atrophies your muscles, brain power, creative mind and to a certain extent, the creative process. If you step out of your comfort zone, you will not always know what to expect, but at least you would have made a move, which is always better than doing nothing, in my humble opinion. Get out of your comfort zone, it might bare some sweet and unexpected fruits.

Take a chance, do something. It might end up being great.

Trust me…If I can do it, then anybody can. That is a fact!

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile, get out of your comfort zone for a moment and then go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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