Thursday, 12 March 2015

Why you should step out of your comfort zone today

Today, I am going to do something exciting. It's the sort of opportunity that doesn't come along very often; the kind of thing you shouldn't pass up, that could make a big difference to your life, that you'll remember. 

And I don't want to go. I can't even describe to you how badly I don't want to go.

It's scary, it's intimidating and I don't want to do it. I want to send a short, polite email saying I'm very sorry for the short notice but actually I don't think I can make it today after all and no, I won't rearrange, thank you for the opportunity but you can give it somebody else. Then I want to go home and watch 'Ex On The Beach' in my pyjamas with a plate of cheese on toast. I want to call in sick, I want to hide under the proverbial duvet of life, I want to call my Mum and have her make an excuse for me - I don't care, I just don't want to go. 

But I am going. I am going because I know that life is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and because I need to push myself and that even if it goes badly, I'll still be pleased I did it. I will drag myself there feeling sick and pretending to be someone more confident than myself, with shaky fingers and butterflies in my stomach, silently promising myself an entire bottle of wine and a family sized bar of Dairy Milk on the other side to get myself to the door. And if I do it and I hate it and I think 'oh my god, that was awful,' at least I'll know and I won't make myself do it again. I'll hate the experience. Whereas if I go home and sit on my sofa, I'll hate myself.

I know so many people - funny, clever, beautiful, witty people - who are living lives that are less exciting or less fullfilling than they could be because they are scared. They don't want to move out of their parents houses, or go on dates with different people, or make new friends, join clubs, or go to job interviews, because they're shy or they're intimidated and they'd just rather stay at home, but this is my point - you don't want to stay at home in your pyjamas forever. You might think you do but you don't. It's like how at 8am you genuinely think you'd like to stay in bed all day, but by 2pm you feel a bit sick and headachey and claustrophobic. We are not meant to spend our lives hiding from experiences that could enrich us, that could change us. We are meant to embrace them. 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying 'do one thing every day that scares you' like it's that easy. There's nothing wrong with being happy and comfortable and you don't need to go signing up to sky diving lessons or confronting spiders in the bath. But if you apply on a whim for a job that you think you'll never get, and you get an interview, go to the interview. If a guy on Tinder asks you out, go on the date. If you want to start writing a blog, or a book, write one; if you want to take a photography course then sign up and go, if you want to go to the gym or cook a steak or go to a festival or teach abroad or go to a fancy bar or cut all your hair off and dye it pink then just do it

It sounds simple but I know, I really do know, that it is the least simple thing in the world sometimes, just to take the opportunities that are offered to us, but try. What's the worst that can happen - you'll be embarrassed? You'll make a fool of yourself? Is that really worse than living in the shadows, hiding under your duvet? Letting your dream job or your dream man or your fun experience go to somebody else, because you were scared? 

In the words of Straylight Run, 'Wondering what if is the worst thing there is.' Just take a deep breath and whatever it is - do it. For better or worse. Just keep thinking 'whatever happens today, when it is over I will be at home and I will have some dinner or a cup of tea and a biscuit and a nice hot bath, and it will be alright.'

So today I am going to try and take my own advice and maybe tomorrow, if it goes well, I'll be full of bubbles and excitement over how well it went; if not, I'll write a piece on my chocolate-wine hangover and getting over embarrassment. But I promise this - I won't write a piece about how I didn't go.


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