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What I Learned When I Stepped Out Of My Comfort Zone

By | ALEXIS RELIFORD, LEVO LEAGUE | http://www.fastcompany.com/

Surprisingly, it was as easy for me to say yes as it was to say no. My heart had been trying to all along, but my head wasn’t allowing it.

Contrary to most people, I’ve never had a problem saying no.

No to letting my desk neighbor borrow a pencil. No to just taking “one sip” of a drink I didn’t want. No to a decent job offer because it didn’t feel right for me. No to hanging out late. No, no, no. Saying no to everything just felt natural, and the two letters slid off my tongue so well that eventually people stopped asking me to do things, confident in what they already knew my answer would be.

My thought process was simple: If something wasn’t within my comfort zone, avoid it.

Truth is, for much of my adult life I’ve been shackled by fear. I’ve been afraid to try new things, afraid to meet new people; afraid of doing anything that might lead to failure. This fear confined me to a narrow comfort zone. On the outside I might have looked like I was having the time of my life, but inside I felt both creatively and physically burnt out . . . and bored.

One of my favorite verses from the Bible has always been, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future,” but I never actually laughed—or did anything without fearing what would happen next. So, on a whim, I decided to channel my inner Shonda Rhimes and start saying “yes.” Postgrad life was finally my chance to bust out of my introverted shell and just live.

I decided that instead of saying “no” to things because I was afraid of them, I would “just say yes,” just as long as it wasn’t illegal and didn’t violate my own moral code.

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