Recently I stretched way outside of my comfort zone and tried hot yoga. For those not familiar with hot yoga, crazy people willingly choose to perform rigorous yoga routines for 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees. The intensity of the workout is not what intimidated me; it is that I am very inflexible and knew that I would be horrible at this kind of exercise. While others were forming beautiful pretzel-like poses, I was looking like a pile of barely bending appendages.
After the workout and a long cold shower, I reflected on the experience and began to think how healthy it is to stick your neck out and take a chance. Growth occurs when we are willing to take a risk. Many of us deal with this discomfort by trying new things in isolation.
There is nothing wrong with solo adventures. Even this is a good start. Eventually, we might be even bolder and go public. It takes guts to put your writing or your art or your music out there for people to judge. We feel vulnerable. On the other side of that vulnerability, though, is freedom from other people’s opinions. It may not come easily, but we learn that other people’s opinions are just that -their opinions – and we do not have to be ruled by what someone else thinks.
While most of the world is being safe and competent, those willing to take a chance experience expansive new opportunity. Some of those challenges may become life-changing. You might discover an untapped skill or develop a hobby that lasts a lifetime. Life is an adventure to embrace, not a threat to avoid.
Taking Risks in 2019
In these early months of 2019, consider where you might take a risk. Is there something you have considered trying, but always dismissed out of fear or intimidation? So many experiences await us outside of what is comfortable. If you need some ideas on how to get started, consider some of the following ideas:
- Try a new hobby that you have always wanted to try, even if you know you will be bad at it.
- Learn a brand-new skill that you know will push you to your limits.
- Take a class in an area you have always wanted to learn.
- Join a group that will help you grow personally.
- Show one friend your art, your writing, or your music.
- Ask a friend to dinner with no agenda other than enjoying time together (a challenge for introverts).
- Spend a day in silence (a challenge for extroverts).
- Go somewhere you have never been before.
Be brave! Take a chance!
Experiencing new things opens the possibility of failure, awkwardness, and discomfort. In this space, though, outside of our comfort zone, growth abounds, lessons are learned, and possibilities are awakened.
Have you ever tried something new that was out of your comfort zone, or made you feel vulnerable? Were you surprised at the outcome? What risks could you take in 2019?