A few years ago, a close colleague encouraged me (not so nicely) to step out of my comfort zone. I took her suggestion to heart and generalized it to both my personal and professional life. I have a ritual of self-reflection just before getting out of bed each morning. I ask myself, how will I push myself today, even just a little bit, to move beyond my level of comfort.
On my phone, I have saved a screenshot of ‘10 Ways to Overcome Fear and Break Out of Your Comfort Zone. This evening, as I am celebrating the completion of my third Slice of Life Challenge, I am able to connect some of my writing to the ‘ways’ I have saved on my phone.
1. Take nothing for granted.
In writing Conundrum, I realize that for years I take have taken my healthy vision for granted. It wasn’t until recently that my once crystal clear vision no longer exits; and what an inconvenience this is.
2. Switch up your routine.
While completing the monotonous task of cleaning my bathroom, I found myself stuck in a horrible mindset. To make a shift of mindset, I switched it up a little by belting out one of my most favorite songs, Closer to Fine.
3. Move toward your fears.
I am not a writer. I don’t see myself as a writer. I don’t like to write. I avoid writing as much as possible. Just when I wanted to give up this year’s challenge, I wrote The Struggle is Real, definitely moving toward my fears.
4. Give up control.
Giving up control is incredibly challenging for me. I tend to let the perfection get in the way of the good. The Slice of Life Challenge had me struggling to come up with a topic to write about, then writing, revising, rewriting, revising again, and rewriting; a vicious cycle. In writing Ten Minute Slice, I gave up control; when my ten minutes was up, the publish button was pressed!
5. Try something new until you feel comfortable.
Three years ago I tried something new, the Slice of Life Challenge. Love-Hate Relationship sums up how I really feel about this challenge. Since I’m still not comfortable, it looks as though I’ll be back in 2021!
6. Ask the questions other people don’t like to.
I wrote To the Woman in Aisle 12 because I didn’t ask a woman why she was being so abusive to her daughter. In my younger days, I wouldn’t have hesitated to question a person who I felt was ‘wronging’ someone else. With the uncertainty of mental illness, I am now reluctant to take matters in my own hands. I approached security and made them aware of the situation, but in my heart, I wanted to take action myself.
7. Start conversations with strangers.
A Conversation Better Not Had is the slice that I think was the most difficult for me to write. In caring for a friend who is at a progressed stage of Alzheimer’s disease, I made the difficult decision to contact her estranged brother (a stranger to me). I started the conversation, ended the conversation, and will never have another conversation with him again.
8. Agree to something you wouldn’t normally consider.
In attempting to connect with my 20-year old son who was home from college, I agreed to participate in a virtual poker tournament. I wrote Last One Standing to capture this experience. I have a lot to learn about playing poker before I agree to join in again. Perhaps for the next tournament, I’ll be on the sidelines providing food and beverages.
9. Get in front of the camera.
To me, getting in front of a camera means taking a hard look at oneself. In writing Mental Health, I was in front of the camera; owning my many emotions.
10. Keep a list of growth goals.
My growth goals are completely dependent on my mental health. In writing Wellness Toolbox, I took time to identify strategies that I hope will support me in getting to a better place.
I participated in the 2020 Slice of Life Challenge, stepping way out of my comfort zone. Have I grown as a writer? Hmmm, not so much, but I can say that I have lived to tell it!
Thank you Two Writing Teachers for this year’s challenge. Until March 2021 . . . I’m off!