2015 was a big year for me, both professionally & personally. And by 'big' I mean a mixture of highs, lows, celebrations, love, heartbreak, realizations, lessons, smiles, tears, isolation, beautiful friendships, discoveries, closed doors, silver platters, adventures, awards, new beginnings, perspective, awakenings, travel & reflection. You know... 'big'.
My friend (as well as surf, and Soul Cycle instructor!) is a founder in the SURFYOGABEER Retreats. Part fitness & always adventure, the team was doing a retreat to Costa Rica. As soon as I heard about it, I signed up for it that same day.
I am lucky enough to travel A LOT for my job, but the thought of jumping on a plane to the jungle (to surf, do yoga & take an adventure) was exactly what I didn't know I needed. There is something to be said for comfort zones. Even though starting my own business was a risk on so many levels, when I look back, there is a huge comfort zone in starting your own business also. Not having to apply for jobs or ever go for job interviews. Not having to really answer to anyone because the decisions all end with you. If you are going through a tough time, you can easily bury your head in the sand for a few days & not have to really deal with it.
Traveling back & forth between NYC & Australia (although a gruelling flight every 6 weeks) was my comfortable. I knew the routine like the back of my hand. Hell, I even knew most of the QANTAS crew by name! I would stand in the same customs line, drinking the same drink, in the same lounge. It is never lost on me, the privilege I have in being able to travel. I loved it then and I love it now! But it was not challenging me at all.
I thought back to all the media interviews I had done over my career. I am humbled to often be referred to as 'brave' & as a 'risk taker'. But what was the last risk I took? I couldn't even remember. It felt fraudulent, and I wanted to do something about it.
'You should not remain in your comfort zone; if you want to make it big, you must challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and succeed in doing well outside of your comfort areas.' - Rohit Sharma
So... I booked a trip to Costa Rica with 24 people I barely knew. I swapped my Louis Vuitton bag for a backpack, and the only makeup I packed was either sunscreen or mosquito spray. I booked a plane ticket and met the rest of the group at the airport the morning we flew out, wearing no makeup & a look of anxiety on my face.
I wouldn't say I was scared, but I definitely did not know what to expect. This was definitely out of my normal routine. If I was going to travel somewhere not work related for a week, I would definitely be travelling with people that I not only knew, but knew very well. I would absolutely take much more luggage than could fit into a back pack. So, if I was taking this adventure, I wanted to set myself some goals on what I would like to achieve while I was out there on that windy, blowing branch looking back at the comfort zone I had just left.
PHYSICAL GOAL: LEARN TO SURF. I have always wanted to surf. Why hadn't I ever learnt? I don't even know how to answer that, because I have talked about it for so long. Was I scared I wouldn't be able to do it? Or of what people would think of me? Maybe. But fuck that. I was going to learn on this trip.
MENTAL CLARITY: PERSPECTIVE. It is often hard to gain this in your normal routine. Our minds are a powerful thing, and often when left alone in your own mind for too long, it can take you down some very dark paths. It can also take you down some paths that feel like you are so defined by THAT moment. You lose the ability to have any perspective outside of the situation consuming you. This is also very common when you are in the start up phase of a business, because so much of your focus is singular & so deep in what you are doing. For me, I needed to get perspective on some personal things I was dealing with, and removing myself from absolutely everything that was familiar to me, seemed like a good way to step outside of that dark mind path.
You can see on here some photos from the week outside my comfort zone, and if you can't tell from the smile on my face, IT WAS AWESOME. What you can't see, however, is the calmness & much clearer mind I have now, than when I left for the trip. It's a big world out there, and stepping full force into it makes you realize how small & respectfully insignificant our little day to day worlds are.
The other really cool thing about stepping outside of your comfort zone is that it makes you a much more interesting person. You have a new story, and new experiences, and it is those things that are personality currency. You know those people at a party that have done some really cool, diverse, crazy, fun shit? Be one of those people. - SWx