Guest Author: Nick Ahrens
When I stop to think about some of my most rewarding and regrettable moments in life, I realize they have one big similarity:
They started with fear.
I have dropped out of college on a whim to live in Dubai, started my own clothing line, gone back to school, pitched an idea to a multi-million dollar globally recognized company (who is now using it), and proposed to my now amazing wife.
But, I have also not tried out for that team, applied for that college, accepted that job, said “hi” to the one person that could have changed it all, stood up for myself when I should have, asked for help, competed, traveled or chased that dream/idea/opportunity.
It’s obvious to see that most of my rewarding moments were times that “I have” and most of my regrettable moments were times that “I have not”.
Interestingly, both moments have the same starting line, a moment of doubt.
What set my “haveS” and “have not’s” apart, is whether my passion or my fear won the battle.
When facing your fears you have a decision to make. You can either take that challenge head-on with all that you have, or you can back down out of fear of the unknown and stay in your comfort zone.
So what is wrong with our comfort-zone? Everything! Nothing happens in your comfort zone, and when nothing happens you’re moving backwards. You are not growing, learning or gaining any value staying where you are while opportunities are passing by. I would have never discovered my dream in my comfort zone. I would have never been at the top of the world’s tallest building if I had stayed in my comfort zone. I would have never met my wife in my comfort zone.
Outside of my comfort zone I may not know what waits for me, but what I do know is that I have experienced life changing happiness, gained confidence, and experienced success. I also know for a fact what is waiting for me inside of my comfort zone. I have stagnation, loneliness, regret and depression waiting inside.
The more time I have spent outside of my comfort zone the less I want to be in it.
I haven’t always been this way. It wasn’t until I took the time to reflect on my life (at the age of 20) and decide what did I really want to do with it. Disappointed in my lack of confidence and inability to go after what I really wanted, I decided to do the one thing that pushed me far beyond my comfort zone:
I decided to drop out of college, buy a ticket to Dubai to live with my brother, and leave work for two months to focus on finding myself.
For me, those decisions went against everything I was told by society – and that’s exactly why I did them. I was told, “College is the only path to success”, “Be smart and save your money”, “You can gain confidence here, why do you need to go to the other side of the world?”
In order for me to grow, I knew I had to break my pattern and put myself in a situation that I couldn’t back out of half way through.
From those two months of purely being outside of my comfort zone, I found my strength. I grew extraordinarily in my faith, confidence, trust and abilities. Coming home from that trip I decided to set a goal of never letting my fears get in the way of my dreams. In order for me to reach my goal I knew I had to conquer my fears before they could conquer me. So to this day, I am constantly chasing my fears by avoiding my comfort zone as much as possible.
One of my favorite quotes is from the movie “We Bought a Zoo”.
In that movie a father is giving his son some advice on how to ask out a girl he likes. The father says,
“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.”
Now, before you find that courage and chase your dreams you need to do one very crucial thing:
If you do not humble yourself, no matter how many questions you ask, books you read, or times you practice, you will be blind to what you are truly supposed to learn. Opportunities will still pass you by, people will not want to work with you and you will find yourself isolated once more. You must always be open to learning from anybody, no matter his or her situation.
As life goes on and you come closer to your dream you will begin to build profit and gain success.
as you grow it is very easy to create new comfort zones, but you must not lose sight of how you got there.
Every day you must plan for profit and leave room for margin.
From this story I'd like to present you with these
5 Comfort Zone Killers:
1.) Humble Yourself – take your pride and throw it in the trash, it will get in the way of everything.
2.) Take the time to consider what you want.
3.) Decide that the life you want is not inside your comfort zone.
4.) Embrace your fears, knowing they are an opportunity in disguise.
5.) Find the courage to chase your dreams, you won’t regret it.
Focused on helping people, telling stories, and solving problems.