Last year I went to Costa Rica.
That may not sound wholly adventurous and crazy. But when I told that to a girlfriend of mine, she shook her head and said, “I could never do that.”
“Do what?” I asked.
“Just go to a third-world country like that. That’s just crazy. You weren’t scared?”
I had to think about that for a minute.
I wasn’t scared. I was worried — but about things anyone would worry over when traveling abroad. I didn’t want to forgot my passport or get malaria. But would these things happen? I suppose they could. I just didn’t think about it.
No, I can’t speak Spanish. And yes, we had rented a car and had planned to drive clear across the little country in South America. Could corrupt cops pull us over and take our money? I guess. And could I get some kind of life-threatheing disease and wind up in a hospital overseas and not be able to tell the doctor I’m allergic to certain antibiotics? Sure. But I wouldn’t let these hypotheticals stop me from living a full life.
Turns out, living outside your comfort zone — which is where most of like to be — is a good thing, albeit scary for some.
I read an article in Forbes online by Margie Warrell, author of “Stop Playing Safe,” where she talked about moving out of her family’s home at 18 to go to a “big city” college. She was terrified.
As I found then, and have countless times in the years since, no worthwhile aspiration can be accomplished from within our comfort zone. Only in giving up the security of the known can we create new opportunity, build capability, and grow influence. As we do, we expand the perimeter of our ‘Courage Zone’ and our confidence to take on bigger challenges in the future.
I believe that.
The more we try — and often fail — the more we’re willing to try again. And maybe even aim higher.
Now that I’ve gone to Costa Rica, I’m not afraid of traveling to other countries where I may not be familiar with the language or culture — or have had a recent outbreak of the avian flu virus.
It’s the adventure that really challenges us, that changes us. It’s letting go of insecurities and vulnerabilities and fears. Can you fail? Yes. But can you learn from that failure? Unless you’re dead, yes!
I still won’t go bungee jumping, though.
So when have you gone outside your comfort zone? Or do you like your warm, comfy cocoon?