One thing about me. I’ll try anything once. It’s a thrill to step outside of my comfort zone and test myself physically, mentally, and even spiritually.
Around 20 years ago I ran the 10 mile Mountain Goat road race in Syracuse, NY. Towards the end of the run I was utterly exhausted. As I scaled the steep hill to the water tower, plodding along like a Budweiser Clydesdale, parched mouth open, a spectator shouted obligatory words of encouragement; “Lookin good!” “Are you kidding? I feel like shit!” I blurted back.
I can’t say I’ll ever run a race of this length ever again. I did step outside my comfort zone and was changed for the better.
A few summers ago I took my daughter, Michaline Frances Borek, on vacation to Wildwood, NJ. We spent a relaxing week at the beach, walking the boardwalk, and visiting Morey’s Piers to splash and slide in the water park and hop aboard a few amusement rides.
There’s a steel inverted roller coaster called the Great Nor’easter. Mikey was considering taking a spin however was hemming and hawing on what to do.
For 30 minutes, she anxiously stood watching others climb the steel beast, making the ascent high above the Jersey shore doing topsy-turvy loops with legs dangling hundreds of feet in the air while screaming at the top of their lungs in unmitigated fear.
Every now and then Mikey would look over to me with a nervous laugh, leaning on the railing, biting her bottom lip, wanting to get up enough chutzpa to climb aboard and strap herself in.
As time went on she became pluckier and pluckier. “Dad, I’ll go on it if you go with me” she said. I was reluctant and fearful but thought I’ll never get this Dad daughter moment again. So, I acquiesced, gingerly placing my 6’5″ 260 lb. frame into the seat, and did all I could not to hurl all over myself as we climbed, dove, and whooshed for the next 90 seconds.
“GTO!” meaning “Glad That’s Over!” I hollored, head spinning, as I stumbled off the ramp.
Michaline on the other hand went on the Great Nor’easter another half dozen times in a row. She was once afraid of riding a state-of-the-art roller coaster. On that warm summer south Jersey afternoon, she stepped closer and closer into her fear until it went poof and vaporized. She stepped out of her comfort zone and was changed for the better.
More recently I’ve done a few other things I’d consider, stepping outside of my comfort zone.
I danced in front of hundreds of people to raise money for charity. I was the most scared I’ve ever been. I stepped, or better yet, danced outside my comfort zone and was changed for the better.
This past summer, on a whim, I decided to step way outside my comfort zone and take self contained under water breathing apparatus lessons; better known as scuba diving. Intimidated as hell, I dove in, received my certification, and forever was changed for the better.
A few months ago, again in the spur of the moment, I signed on to play an extra in a locally produced B movie called “Empire State of the Dead” to be released in the Fall of 2015. My character? A zombie! I stepped outside of my comfort zone and was changed for the better.
In each of the aforementioned scenarios, I felt the goosebumps and hair rise off my skin, telling me I was alive, learning new things about myself, and being changed for the better.
I’m not the same person I was a year ago.
Isn’t that why we’re here? To live? To try new things that push our boundaries, test our resolve, and change us in one way shape or form?
What about YOU?
- What’s your stepping outside of your comfort zone story?
- In what way did it change you?
Please comment below.
Photo courtesy of Jessy Rone.