Out of my comfort zone

Two weeks ago, I asked my wife to read one of my blog posts. She had already read it two other times, but she agreed, giving it one final review and told me that it looked fine. When I pressed her on an important change in wording, she laughed and said, “Yes, I saw that, you worry too much, it looks great.”

I was writing about the letters back-and-forth that we had written when we were first dating and the weekly “Wednesday Letter,” that I write her now. Fortunately for me, my wife gets me. She understood that I was just worried about the piece. I was stepping out of my comfort zone, was getting ready to hit publish, and needed reassurances that I wasn’t making a fool of myself. 

I love writing and the process of opening your soul and sharing the deepest parts of your heart, but, it can still be unsettling and a vulnerable experience. Your mind races with a mixture of fear and excitement. I’m not sure about others, but I tend to run the gamut of experiences — from worst case to best case — through my mind. In the end, though, I find to really stretch yourself, it takes sticking your neck out and taking risks. The fear doesn’t necessarily go away, but the results can be pretty amazing. 

Taking the next step

Some of my best moments in my life have been when I’ve stretched and took a walk out into no-man’s land. When I first visited my now-wife at her apartment, I took a major risk. I wasn’t’ sure what to expect. We were friends, but I knew that the visit could put us into uncharted waters. In the end, it’s probably the smartest move I ever made in my life.

I think about having kids too. I remember being scared to death about having little ones of my own, looking up at me for guidance and direction. Heck, I was still a kid myself. My diet consisted of Pop Tarts, Pizza, and Diet Pepsi. Oh sure, we were married and I had a job and an apartment, but my weekends consisted of helping with chores, sleeping, having fun, and getting myself ready for the week ahead. I wanted to wait until we were on stronger financial ground. However, my wife knew that we were ready. I took her word and, of course, I couldn’t have been happier when we had a baby daughter of own. And then two boys. It was the best thing in the world. 

If we had waited for better financial times, or, God-forbid, listened to me, we’d probably still be waiting. 

And the next step

I think of work too. Early in my career, I was in a very demanding role and felt for sure that I was in over my head. I was waiting for my boss to catch on that I couldn’t handle the job that he had hired me to do. I kept waiting for him to come to his senses.

I remember an especially tough project that I submitted to him via email for review and then went to grab a late lunch. I figured I better eat while I could, because by the time he read over my work, he would be “kicking my butt to the curb.” I would be given my pink slip and told to leave the premises.

I was finishing up my lunch in the company cafeteria when I saw my boss walking toward me. I looked down, trying to avoid his eyesight, but he was making a straight line for me. I braced for the worst. When he got to my table, I tried to beat him to the punch, joking that I knew my work was bad, but I didn’t realize it was that bad. He skipped right over my comment.

“Oh, I’m so happy I caught you,” he said. 

“Here it comes,” I thought. 

“I’m on my way to the chairman’s office,” he said. 

“Oh, it’s really bad now, he’s calling in security,” I thought.

“I can’t wait to tell him and the leadership team about the great job you’re doing and what we have planned for next month’s communications plan. You’re knocking it out of the park Brian.” 

Umm, that wasn’t what I was expecting. 

Get out of your head

When the nerves get the best of me, when I feel like I’m an imposter living in a world of experts, I try to remind myself that stepping out of your comfort zone and feeling like you’re walking on thin ice is the best thing in the world. The ice may stay firm and you’ll get to enjoy the walk. But, who knows? The ice may even melt and break on you, but that’s okay too, because then you’ll get to go water skiing.

The key is to enjoy the ride!

When have you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone? When have you felt like an imposter? What was the result?


Thank you for reading. Please join in on the discussion on the HoTM site. In addition, please visit my personal blog at www.writingfromtheheartwithbrian.com or follow me on Instagram at @writingfromtheheartwithbrian.

All the best, Brian.

Images by Pexels.

41 thoughts on “Out of my comfort zone

  1. I am scared every day when I hit publish…I put my soul on the page, or my inner thoughts….it’s like running across a room naked. So cheers to us who hit publish every day

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would’ve never guessed that LA! Your posts are always so well-thought out and organized. I would have never guessed that you were feeling anything but confident and sure of yourself. Yes, cheers to us writing every day and putting our thoughts out there for all to see!! 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post, Brian, and I loved your Wednesday Letter one too. You hit the nail on the head with our inner fears and ‘imposter syndrome’. Taking a breath, pushing the button or taking action and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is where we meet others lovingly. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This whole last year has pushed me out of my comfort zone – expanding both my husband’s and my life in ways we could have never imagined. I’d say: Get uncomfortable!

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Sorry, I hit send by accident. I often feel like an impostor trying to teach photography to my followers since I’m nobody in photography and there is no reason why someone should listen to me. But life is short and if I wait until I think I’m “somebody” it might be too late. As for kids, people these days wait too long. One can never be prepared for kids and fertility decreases sharply with age. It’s nice to have them early, when we’re still strong and healthy. I’m glad you didn’t wait and was able to pull out three of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My mom always said if you wait until you can afford to have children you will never have them. I cannot imagine now my life without my children, or even different children in their stead.

    I took a job leaving Federal service in Alaska to a corporate job in Maine. When I arrived onsite, my new boss decided I was a better fit for a totally different position and I was terrified. There was no turning back – our entire family had moved cross the continent. I knew all I could do was my best. I felt like a fraud but soon found out I WAS the best qualified on my team for that particular position. I advanced through the management ranks – and management was not anything Inhad ever aspired to.

    I always seem to feel out of place, like the least capable in the room. Somehow, though, I always seem to claw my way through it, even if feeling inadequate the entire time. I am the poster child for “fake it ‘til you make it”.

    (I love that you still write letters to your wife. Congratulations for sharing that kind of love.)

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes, as far as kids go, my wife helped me come to my senses. She used to say the same thing as your mother, that if we waited for the right time, we’d be old and gray. Well, we’re old and gray now, but we would be even older and grayer. Haha, and yes, I can related to fake it til you make it. Thanks so much for the feedback Maggie, much appreciated.


  6. I love this: “I find to really stretch yourself, it takes sticking your neck out and taking risks. The fear doesn’t necessarily go away, but the results can be pretty amazing.” Yep. You described the feeling perfectly…and I love the comments. Sometimes we need to put our head down, focus and ‘do it anyhow’. Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, as VJ said…and allowing ourselves to feel inadequate (Maggie’s thought). Tough stuff…but I find good things usually await me ‘on the other side’. 🥰

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great post Brian! I think we get complacent in our personal comfort zones and forget the potential we have to expand ourselves and also the way others view us. I would add that the fear of leaving that comfortable place, even when it clearly isn’t where you should be, can be daunting. That’s the time you just have to leap and see where you land. I bet for most people the destination pays off 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When you’ve put your heart out there for all so see . . . The fear of being unaccepted is huge. It can be debilitating. I had one experience where I felt like an imposter in a job and had a not-so-great boss. Now it ended in a good spot, but I remember the process of getting there to be challenging. I still suggest putting yourself out there. The end result is always better.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am the same as everyone else here …. panic about hitting publish … have I written enough, is it good enough … but no-one has said its rubbish yet 🙄
    I think that we should encourage ourselves, and maybe each other, to push the boundaries beyond the comfort zone.
    I find I agree to new things, then panic thinking what have I done, what was I thinking, do I have time to cancel … its stressful and a horrible feeling, feeling out of your depth, but I’ve not sunk so far. I’ll keep swimming.

    Youre doing great Brian


    1. I can relate to everything you wrote Brenda. I yell at myself for agreeing to put myself out there and then when it’s done, I’m glad I did it. And your writing and thoughts are hardly rubbish Brenda. Far from it!!!! Yes, we need to encourage ourselves and others. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That sure sounds like you were suffering from imposter syndrome. What have I done out of my comfort zone? I submitted a parenting advice article to SwimSwam (5 million monthly views at the time) and ended up writing a column for them every week. They were sometimes personal — sharing mistakes I made — so I definitely stressed before pressing send on my weekly email to them. Second, because of those articles I got invited to a Sacramento swim team to give a talk to the parents! I hate public speaking with a passion, but my son went with me and I focused on him and enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. What a great post, Brian! I used to be the worst worry wart and felt like the biggest imposter and, while I didn’t necessarily *choose* to leave my comfort zone, getting ill meant my best effort became quite subpar. You know what? No one but me seemed to notice or care. I couldn’t believe it!!

    Now, if there’s any type of opportunity or challenge that interests me, I can sit with the fear of getting started. Whether a vulnerable blog post, a job interview, or introducing myself to a potential friend, I’ve also learned that it’s just about enjoying the ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post Brian! I can relate totally. I have always loved to write and remember writing children’s stories when I was about 12 years old. The problem is no one ever saw them because I was too scared to show anyone; so sure that my stories were garbage. Even when I wrote in my diary as a teen I would tear the pages out, tear them up, and throw them away in case anyone ever found it and read it. (Maybe I was a bit paranoid too lol) So writing a blog was a big step out of my comfort zone but I’m really enjoying it now. Sometimes I worry if it’s good enough but I forge ahead regardless.

    As for imposter syndrome, I’ve got that covered too. I worked in IT doing software analysis and fixes. I loved it and my boss apparently was happy with my work too as he made me team lead. I, on the other hand, felt like a big faker every day. I learned programming in college when I was 35 so I worked with alot of really young, male, computer geeks (no offence to anyone, I’m a computer geek too). I remember one day I was ready to quit, walked out of the office and everything. My boss came after me and we talked. It took his enthusiastic encouragement to get me back inside and convinced to keep working. Sometimes we’re not the best judge of our own abilities.

    Thanks for a very thought-provoking post. I enjoy your work. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Roze! I appreciate the feedback. Imposter syndrome is tough. I’m familiar with the IT world, I’m all too familiar with some of the challenges you’ve had to face. It can be a male dominated world. Not always forgiving for those who aren’t cocky and full of themselves. But, I’m so glad to hear that your boss recognized what he had in you and encouraged you to continue on. As far as the writing goes, I was lucky. I got some encouragement to keep me going at a young age, but what really showed me that I had something was seeing the reaction of the other older kids. My simple writing advice . . . to steal from you: forge ahead regardless! I used to work with some real professionals, writers I really respected. I mentioned one time to a senior manager that I thought they were out of my class. He took me aside and showed me areas where they weren’t all that great and then compared it to my writing. It was a great confidence booster. I learned from that experience that we’re our own worst critics. Keep up the writing Roze!!! You have something important to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love this article, Brian!! You do such a good job of describing how growth comes when we are out of our comfort zone — and addressing the very real fear that comes with it. I love the way you show us how to be brave, vulnerable — and funny! Beautiful! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone many times. It’s scary for sure, but always the risk has been worth it, even when it didn’t work as expected. There’s always something we gain from it. Love your thoughts here and how coincidental that I wrote a very similar post today. Enjoyed your post very much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, what a beautiful video Alegria! Love your thoughts, so very well said. When I’ve held back or been slow to leave my comfort zone, it’s definitely been because of fear. When I’ve challenged myself and fought back against the fear of being vulnerable, it’s been because the incentive to do so, as you mentioned has been greater. It really is that simple and complicated all at the same time. Thanks so much for sharing. It’s funny how we posted similar blogs on the same day. I guess the old saying is true, great minds really do think alike! Ha, ha, thanks for your feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Isn’t that so coincidental? Definitely great minds Brian. 😄 And thanks so very much for visiting my blog and watching the video. You can see how our thoughts are aligned on this. Having fear is a natural instinct, we must however learn to fear less. Thanks for your lovely message!

        Liked by 1 person

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