Today, my first ever PhD Colloquium Conference starts. While I have spent my life working towards being the best therapist and clinician that I can be, research and statistics have not exactly been my strong suit. Its safe to say that anything having to do with precise numbers is not my forte, and definitely outside of my comfort zone. When I decided to get my PhD, it was because I had an idea… I wanted to do research in the area of sex that no one else has done before. While this is a very exciting idea and I am thrilled to have taken the first steps to do this– I’m fucking terrified.
When I first went to therapy as a young teenager, (thanks mom and dad!) I thought my therapist was perfect. She was always so calm, so thoughtful, so insightful.. I didn’t understand that she also had fears, anxieties, and things going on at home. It helped me open up to her to know that she also had normal feelings about things – which is why I open up to you today!
So, the question is… what can you do to step out of your comfort zone?
Here are 9 ideas to try to get your tush out of your comfort zone!
1. Sign up for a new class doing something you have no talent for
Whether its yoga, dance, shooting guns, statistics, science, or a swimming class — just try one!
2. Plan a day trip.. alone
Take a trip somewhere locally that you can get to and from in one day and go on a date with just yourself. Its really interesting what happens when you’re alone with your thoughts.
3. Attend a Meetup event where you don’t know anyone
My coaching clients know… I recommend this one ALL THE TIME. Meetup is a website that has a group for every single interest out there. If you like to do yoga on the beach, there’s a group for that. If you want to meet other singles in your area, there’s a group for that. Enjoy going to see live theatre? There’s a group for that! (you get the idea…)
4. Be the first to tell a friend, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend that you love them
It can be really scary to be the first one to go out on a limb and say the 3 words, however, its pretty awesome when you do it. You’ll see.
5. Sign up for a blog challenge that stretches you and your interests
There are so many blogs out there (so, thanks for reading this one!) and sometimes blog authors will have challenges for you to follow. Check out this post from 2013 about the topic.
6. Hike a trail you’ve never been on before
We are creatures of habit. If you always hike one specific trail, try a different one. If you don’t ever go on hikes/walks… try to go one one. Start easy, you’ll see if you like it.
7. Visit a country where most people don’t speak English
8. Sing in public
So, for some (myself included) this sounds like a dream. However, for the majority of people that I speak to.. this is terrifying. Go check out a local karaoke bar and sing a song! It is amazing how freeing it is to make a fool out of yourself.
9. Write down your biggest fears, and brainstorm activities to conquer them
Many of us have bucket lists, lists of to-dos, lists of bills, etc. but what about lists of our fears? I know someone who is terrified of flying. She would not get on a plane, ever. All she wanted was to go see different countries and cultures, but she could not get herself on the plane. I told her to write down a list of her fears. It turned out that her fear did not have to do with flying specifically, but more about the possibility of losing her life. After discussing it and talking through it, she had the realization that driving in her car was actually more dangerous than flying. She e-mailed me last week and just visited her 6th country in Europe. What an inspiration.
In 30 minutes I am going to walk downstairs and meet the other people working towards their PhDs. I am going to meet people that have way more experience in research than I do…. I am going to step out of my comfort zone today. Who’s coming with me?
If you need an extra little push, watch this video… one of my favorite songs:
*The first part of this article was written in April of 2015, the rest has been updated and edit in 2017.