We all strive to create security for ourselves. Without even having to think too hard about it, we make decisions that we hope will ensure our safety and limit risk in our lives. Most of the time, these decisions achieve just that, but sometimes they end up keeping us from reaching new heights. For example, many of us find ourselves stuck at a job we hate that sucks the life out of us. We stay because it pays the bills. We accept this cruel tradeoff and assume that that’s just the way life is.
The thing is that there is a world out there, one where financial security and success come from doing what you love. How do you cross over to that world? It’s simple. By stepping out of your comfort zone. In other words, this world is accessible through change, when we decide to stop repeating the same actions and expecting a different result.
How I found myself while lost in Europe:
In 2010 my family and I moved from Canada to Europe for work and school. This 5 year experience changed my life. We lived in a little beautiful town called Leuven. It was a huge cultural shock for the happy-go-lucky Canadian that I am. For one, I had always identified as a Black woman. This part of my identity took a big hit over there as I rarely saw women in power positions and most Black people had low paying jobs. The projection of women and minorities in the media were also full of stereotypes. Plus, some locals weren’t afraid to show me that my presence was unwanted by, for example, clenching their purses when I sat down next to them on the bus. It was like I had taken a trip back to the sixties. Needless to say, it was very hard on my sense of self, and I had to do something about it.
So I did. I wrote a book of affirmations for Black women. In it, I wrote a series of affirmations and exercises to complete on a daily basis to build self-esteem. The process of writing this book was life changing. It forced me to do some deep introspection and really understand who I was. It allowed me to challenge these stereotypes from a newly acquired knowledge of self. I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t been exposed to the racism I faced in Belgium, I never would’ve met my core self. Furthermore, better understanding who I was also led me to find what I really loved doing. I realized that I need to use my creativity to be happy and that I loved helping people find their unique gift, so I became a full-time purpose consultant. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t left my Canadian comfort zone.
How to break free of your comfort zone:
The good news is that you don’t have to move to another continent to find your purpose and to grow to your full potential. Here are 3 simple changes you can adopt to get you started.
1. Ask yourself “What if money and success were guaranteed…”
If money wasn’t an issue, what would you do with your life?
What would you like to achieve in 1, 5,10 years?
What do you want to be remembered for? What difference do you want to make in the world?
2. Write your plan.
What steps do you need to take to get to your 1 year goal? Break it down into simple concrete steps that you write in your calendar. For example, sign up for an online business class.
3. Get out of your comfort zone and do it!
Don’t spend too much time thinking about how difficult it’s going to be. Instead think of how it’s going to feel if in 1 year you are exactly where you are today. Not cool, right?
So do something big, like shooting a 1 minute video about how you want to change the world with your unique gift. This will force you to be accountable and, most of all, prove to yourself that you have all that it takes to reach your goals. You just have to start.
Fear, although well-meaning, holds us back from being our best selves. It forces us to stick to what we know and avoid any form of change. Get out of your comfort zone and magic will happen. Why? Because like W.Clement Stone said, “Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.” The brilliant thing is that the more you take action, the more your thoughts will align with these actions. What once scared you will soon start to inspire you to reach new heights.
I know it’s scary but change requires courage and I know you’ve got it in you. So which bold action will you take to bring you closer to your ultimate goal?