Move out of your comfort zone. Growth comes from the willingness to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.
Think about those life changing moments you have had that you can remember. I can think of one that happened recently that absolutely changed me as a person. It was the day my brother asked me to be a best man at his wedding. This was a great honor but also my worst nightmare. See, I am/was absolutely petrified of public speaking. My whole life was just me trying to avoid any situation in which I would have to speak in front of people. From class room presentations where I would lobby for the partners to do most of the talking to even my own wedding where I just kept counting down the things I had to do. Okay, the vows are done, now I have a first dance next, and then I am almost done….
For his wedding I put off writing the speech as long as I could. All I could think of was standing in front of all those people and literally peeing my pants. I thought about telling him I couldn’t do the speech, I really did. Then I thought about how he did the best man speech at my wedding and killed it. He was funny, articulate, and even produced a few tears from the crowd. Since he did it for me, I knew I could not back out of this. So, I watched maybe 10,000 best man speeches on YouTube and I just began to write. What I noticed in writing was that I really enjoyed putting my feelings on paper. I discovered my love of writing during these small little sessions I had. I rewrote his speech a hundred times. When the day came I was a nervous wreck, but again, knowing he did a speech for me, I had to do it for him. The moment came, I delivered the speech and I did fine, and didn’t pee my pants. I remember thinking after about being glad it was over, but also having a sense of pride and that I had built the moment up way too much in my head. I was WAY outside of my comfort zone, but I was learning about myself in that moment.
Shortly after that wedding I was actually asked to officiate my brother in laws wedding ceremony. I immediately said yes. I was completely honored they would ask me, but also I wanted that challenge again. I wanted that feeling of the writing and performing process again. I enlisted the help of my wife, kids, and my mother in law and father in law for this one. It was their child’s day so the last thing I wanted to do was say the wrong thing. I wrote and wrote and wrote and I performed it in front on my kids and wife to get the timing down, to make sure the words were as good as I could get them.
I can’t say I wasn’t a nervous wreck to perform the ceremony, but I can definitely say I was a prepared as humanly possible to do it. The day went great. The ceremony was over before I knew it. Bride and Groom were married and I was able to enjoy the night with everyone.
Those two events showed me that I could put myself out there. While I did enjoy the public speaking part of it, I really enjoyed putting the work into it. I fell in love with the writing process. I discovered a passion of mine from stepping outside my comfort zone. Writing has made me into a different person, hopefully a better person. I started this blog because I knew I loved the process of writing and thought maybe I could inspire someone else to step outside themselves a bit and maybe have a similar experience.
For most of my life I tried to limit or restrict my lifestyle so that I was always inside my zone. Not taking chances for fear of being uncomfortable. All I’m trying to do now is knock down the walls. Maybe someday I’ll write a book; maybe someday I’ll discover a new passion that came from a different experience. All I know is that I will keep searching.