Why would I ever leave my comfort zone?
It's all warm ... fuzzy ... safe ... familiar ... secure ... comfortable ... constraining ... impairing ...
There have been three big times in my life that I have taken the plunge out of my zone:
The first was 2007...
For too long, I remained in my comfortable bubble of Boston. I went to high school, college and then grad school in the Boston area. I didn't leave Massachusetts until 2007 when I was 24 to move cross country to San Francisco. Talk about a change...
In 2007, I switched jobs (from tickets to PR) and left my hometown team of the Boston Red Sox to join the San Francisco Giants. I left my high school and college friends on the Right Coast to join the Left Coast where I only knew my uncle and his family.
I fell in love with San Francisco as soon as I got there ... and I was lucky enough to find a great group of friends right off the bat. This made the transition a lot easier.
I learned in that move that I could be independent ... and survive. I could move away from what was familiar with me and thrive. I wouldn't trade my time in San Francisco for anything.
The second was 2008...
I lived in San Francisco for just 10 months before returning to Boston for my second stint with the Red Sox. I ended up being back in Boston for about three months before I was offered a job with the Cubs ... and off to Chicago I went in January 2008. Now the biggest difference in moving to Chicago was that I didn't really know anyone. I had two people I knew there, but other than that I was finally moving to a place where I didn't have any family to fall back on. Also, I never thought I would live in the Midwest.
Again, I was lucky enough to find a core group of friends within a week of moving (thanks to a coworker who opened his crew to me). Finding a group of people to turn to while in an unfamiliar place makes any transition easier.
The third and most important instance was joining Weight Watchers.
I remember walking in to the first WW meeting and being scared to the core. I was going in to a new experience all by myself. I had no one with me. I was facing this big change with me. But, it is the biggest - scariest - and best decision of my life because through weight watchers I have taken my comfort zone and broken all of the walls that surrounded it. Okay, I didn't break them - I blew them up so bad they can never be repaired.
Through my first two "out of comfort zone" moves, I always had a voice in the back of my mind telling me it was a bad decision. That little voice telling me these people didn't really want to be my friends. The little freakin' voice in the back of my mind telling me I wasn't good enough to enjoy my successes. That little person sitting behind my brain telling me I should just run back to the familiar ... to head back to Boston because I wouldn't thrive. I wouldn't succeed in what I was doing.
But, then Weight Watchers stepped in to the picture. The little voice was there at the beginning. Telling me I wouldn't succeed - saying there was no way I could lose that much weight - telling me to just give up.
But, the pounds started coming off and the little voice in my head started getting smaller and softer. I will not lie to you, he is still lurking in my brain today, but the voice has turned into a squeak. It is so soft I can just poof it away...
(Note: I want to be completely honest that losing weight has not solved all of my problems. I still have a lot of issues to work through, but confidence has risen partially because of my weight loss - not solely because of.)
Since joining Weight Watchers, I have eaten foods I never imagined I would try - and even like ... I have found the confidence to start Spinning classes ... I have rekindled my love of running ... I have worn a bathing suit in public in Hawaii ... I have embraced social media and share my journey with so many through Twitter and Facebook ... I have opened my heart, mind and soul to all of you through this blog ... But, what is the most uncharacteristic thing I have done so far? I have started to accept and even love myself - imperfections at all.
There are times I wish I could go back and show the young unhappy teenage me what I have become with a couple leaps of Faith, hard work and determination! To show the girl that wanted to just disappear that I am loud, proud and happy to be alive. To show the girl that wanted to end it all a couple times that not doing it has paid off and I have been able to share so much with the world ... and more to come.
How will you push the boundaries of your comfort zone today? This week? This month? This year?