Here’s Why 2019 Should Be The Year to Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

In many ways, most of my life has been one giant leap of faith when it comes to taking risks, following my heart, and stepping outside of my comfort zone.

At just 18 and as a mom to my almost one year old, I left the safety net of my family’s home to attend college across the country in order to get my college degree and give my daughter a better life.

I stepped outside of my comfort zone to major in Biotechnology and later attend graduate school for OB/GYN Nursing outside of the state I had called home. I again took a big step outside of my comfort zone to leave the field altogether in order to pursue a career that fueled my passion – writing and marketing. Since then, my life has been filled with another cross country move, more babies, and a very unexpected career change. 

I admit it – I’m a bit of a nomadic risk taker. I’m always restless and looking for my next adventure and creative endeavor.

I crave the excitement of a new venture and continue to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to learn, grow, and experience all the things I want out of this life. So many of my close friends aren’t happy with how their every day lives look. Many feel stuck in jobs they hate or in relationships with people they settled for who might not treat them the way they deserve. Whatever the circumstances, it’s easy to fall into the comfort of every day and to shift your focus to all the reasons why you should say no to a big risk in your life that you’re on the fence about – having a third baby, switching jobs, saying yes to that public speaking gig, getting the courage to start charging for the services of your new business…the list goes on.

Here’s why you need to make 2019 the year you finally take the risk: 

  1. You will surprise yourself. Many people say to me, I could never have raised a baby as a teen going to college. How did you do it? My answer is that I just did! It was my path, and I made it work. The straight A’s, scholarships, and awards I won, on the other hand, weren’t part of the plan. The first time I received my freshman semester schedule, I called my mom in tears and told her that I couldn’t do this. There was no way I could juggle five courses, a part-time job, and motherhood. Luckily I had a really great mentor who told me what I’m here to tell you – take everything one day at a time. Literally one single day. If you can think of your life in 24 hour increments, what you are truly capable of will completely shock you – because those 24 hour increments? They add up! To days, weeks, months, and years. Think of where you’ll be if you just started today and went for it. 
  2. There is no such thing as failure – it’s all a lesson. I have failed at many things in my lifetime. You could look at my nursing career as a bit of a failure, since I left the field saddled with insane student debt in order to pursue a path that at the time, didn’t pay me nearly as much. We’ve all failed at something in our lives, whether it was a business venture, chemistry quiz, or trying a new hobby or sport. If you think back to your failures, though, there are hidden lessons within everything. Just like failing a quiz gives you insight into the material you have yet to master, failing an endeavor gives you insight into who you are as a person and what you need to change in order to find your success. Michael Jordan was cut from his varsity basketball team during his sophomore year of high school. Steve Jobs was originally fired from Apple. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US, was rejected from 29 medical schools. Walt Disney’s first animation company went bankrupt. Think about what would have happened if each of those profound individuals had allowed their failure to define them. 
  3. You’ll grow in ways you wouldn’t expect. As a person, a business, a parent – stepping out of your comfort zone allows for change and growth. Just like my fitness coach tells me, “change doesn’t happen in your comfort zone,” the same can be said for growth in your personal life. You will meet new people who will open your eyes up to a world of possibilities that you otherwise wouldn’t have encountered. You’ll face new challenges and hurdles that will give you valuable life lessons. I think back to my photography career. Every single client and shoot is an opportunity for growth. If you’re an artist, take a look at your work from a year ago and your work today. I bet you’ll see growth that wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t push yourself. 
  4. You were made for this. The work you do and the dreams you have are so uniquely you. There is no other you in the world, and you deserve to honor your goals and gifts. My husband and I have an ongoing argument – he believes that there’s no such thing as talent, and that anything can be learned. He says that people naturally gravitate towards things they excel in, like writing, and refine that specific skill to continually polish it. That is why you’ll see such accomplished pianists, authors, financial gurus, and everything in between. To him, their talent is simply a result of hard work and practice. I, on the other hand, believe that everyone is born with innate talents and gifts. Sure, many skills can be learned – but you either have it, or you don’t. Not to say you can’t develop it, but it might come a lot harder to you than someone else. You were made for so many great things, and stepping outside of your comfort zone allows you to step into your greatness
  5. It could change everything. I think of all the things I said “yes” to, even when they made me uncomfortable. Attending graduate school out of state and away from my family for a year, moving across the country to a place we knew nobody, leaving a stable nursing career, and saying “yes” to a business venture strictly out of deep passion. And trust me – none of these decisions were made without a lot of sleepless nights. After all, I still have quite a bit of student debt, and we don’t exactly have family members who are here to bail us out of a mess if we need them. Saying “yes” to these scary things, though, has allowed me to continue to build a beautiful life that I never fathomed would have existed for us. And sure, some of the times I said “yes” resulted in less than optimal outcomes, but just like I said in #2, I learned valuable lessons from each of my experiences. 

So, let 2019 be the year that you step outside of your comfort zone. 

Switch to a new job that is a better fit for you. 

Change careers altogether if you feel the calling to do so.

Ask for a promotion. 

Move to a new state, or even just another side of town that you like better. 

Say yes to the speaking gig. 

End a relationship you recognize that you’re in simply because it’s comfortable, but you aren’t truly happy.

Approach the mom at the park that you desperately want to introduce yourself to, even if you feel awkward. We’re all awkward – just do it.

Stand up to the toxic family member.

Whatever it is that you’ve had on your mind, take a pledge to make 2019 the year that you no longer feel held back. Cheers to stepping into your greatness. 

 

Jessica is a Boston girl turned Austinite as of 2016. She is a wife to Kyle and mama to Hayley, Colin, and Graham. Though she misses many things about the East Coast, she absolutely cannot complain about the active, taco-infused lifestyle of Texas. She is a former OB/GYN Nurse Educator turned digital media agency owner and lifestyle photographer. When she's not busy behind the lens, you can catch her caffeinating, desperately trying to find a cheer carpool, and obsessing over microfashion. Follow her over at www.jessicarockowitz.com

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