Stepping outside your comfort zone and facing fears

Lately, I keep hearing the words "this life isn't a dress rehearsal" or "Experience life, try new things" and "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"...

And that is exactly what I have found myself doing!  Now I don't know about you, but most people think that it is easy for me to turn up to an event where I know no one or to decide that booking a hike with complete strangers is a great idea...  It is actually still daunting for me (yes once there I settle in and it's very easy but that is beside the point.)  The, making the decision to go and paying part is easy, the battles with self-doubt and 'can I do it' on my way there now that is what mentally gets to me. 

Like many, I find I have let this fear hold me back, listening to a podcast with Lewis Howes and Shaun T (on The School of Greatness), he talked about fear in the way of using it to propel you forward, take it from stopping you doing and achieving to fueling you.  This is a mindset that I have been working on changing and catching myself, as they can be ingrained in us from such a young age - both for the positive and negative - that if we don't reframe our thoughts, behaviours, reactions then they will always control us. 

The challenge is keeping ourselves accountable to being aware of our thoughts, to be clear on our goals, what drives us and what we are wanting to achieve.  As if we aren't clear, then we really are wandering aimlessly through this life and letting other people control our outcomes. 

Fear and Excuses

“WHEN YOU THINK TO YOURSELF ‘I CAN’T DO THIS,’ THAT’S WHEN YOU SHOULD.”
Jon Taffer

It's amazing how a few words can help to reframe your thinking and to assist with changing mindsets - the podcast today with Jon Taffer made me think that we always talk about 'habits' and how our subconscious mind can run us if we let it, from the route we walk to work, our routines with exercise, food, friends.  But I'm questioning myself as to if these are habits or excuses? Am I scared of failure, when all the talk right now is on how we should be failing - I loved how Sara Blakely (Spanx) talked about her father framing her mind by congratulating her on trying and failing, so then it wasn't about the failure, but about giving it a go. 

The common theme in my learning lately has been around pushing outside of my comfort zone, trying new things, failing, having fun and also being nice to myself.  It feels like they contradict each other, aka how can you have fun whilst failing?  But mentally we all need to be doing this, to prepare for anything in life it comes down to our internal toolkit of knowledge, reactions, 'how-tos', as without them we really will be 'human robots' moving through our lives and does that mean we are truly experiencing life? 

My next 'outside my comfort zone' is joining a group of people that I don't know, to do a hike in the Blue Mountains, and given that the hike is a grade 4 and around 5-6 hours I'm sure I'll come out the other side exhausted, with new friends and this is what I need considering my biggest challenge is still 6 months away when I face 9 days, 100km hiking Kokoda with strangers. 

The challenge to myself and you is - what are you doing today to stretch and challenge yourself for tomorrow?