Wednesday, January 30, 2008

STEPPING OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE

When was the last time you intentionally stepped outside your comfort zone? To try a different way of doing something. To do something you hadn't done before. To grow and challenge yourself.

I'm not talking about being forced to change. I'm talking about saying, "I'm going to drive a different way to work just to get a fresh perspective." Or "I'm going to meet my word count goal BEFORE I check e-mails or play that addicting new game." Or perhaps "I don't like how the government operates, so I'm going run for the senate."

Yes, I confess, I have control freak tendencies. No big surprise to those of you who have known me for a while. Responsibilities or projects have to be pried out of my hands one dug-in fingernail at a time. Many, many years ago in my first job as a supervisor, my staff started teaching me this lesson. I guess I'm a slow learner in this area, because 20-some years later, I'm still learning to let go.

For me, this is one of those contradictory lessons. The more I learn to let go, the more control I have. I quit trying to force my writing career into the direction of being published by a big New York publisher and garnered contracts for three books with an e-book publisher -- where I am able to design my own covers, write my own back cover blurbs, etc., etc. Some would consider this more work, but I like the control it gives me with my book. :)

I'm discovering this in other areas of my life too. I recently resigned from a part-time job I loved and that gave me a cushion of financial security to set up a dog rescue/sanctuary, which some say will gobble up every penny I can find. Does this mean I've learned the lesson of letting go and that I did it without being forced to? Uh, not exactly.

This new venture is something I can't NOT do. I also know it's big enough to need the Energy of many, so I'm trusting the Universe to deliver in that area. In the meantime, I do sometimes drive a different way across town or coming home. And I am challenging myself to finish one project at a time without getting sidetracked by a dozen other tempting ideas.

How about you? Do you dive into a challenge without worrying whether or not it will succeed? Do you dive in after you have prepared as well as you can? Or do you snuggle at home with a good book and ignore the challenges knocking at your door?

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