life begins at the end of your comfort zone

Happy New Year! 

This blog is a little different than what you usually see from me, but I hope it will be as inspiring or more so than any of my posts so far.

So about 6 months ago I did something. Something scary, gut wrenching, emotional and amazing. You probably thought right away that I gave birth or went skydiving. I didn’t do those things, but what I did do was I left a job and changed my career completely. I left some of my very best friends in a stable job that I was great at for a career that let me follow my passion.

Because what no one really saw was – that sure I was pretty darn good at what I did everyday and made some amazing friends along the way – I was hiding a lot of myself to fit into the mold of what I thought I needed to be to succeed. 

I have always done what was expected of me. I was so afraid of disappointing anyone. Alyssa—you need to get good grades so you can get into a good college, get a career, get married, have kids and heck let’s throw in the dog and the white picket fence while we are at it. And for a long time I believed that was my calling. Follow the status quo. But for those of you reading this who know me know that right now in life, I have no desire to have kids of my own, but I tell you what, I nailed all the rest of those expectations. Heck, I even married my high school sweetheart right out of college-which I have no regrets about (don’t worry Tyler).

I also have another character flaw –okay not that bad, but I overanalyze everything and do not like to take risks. I can count on one hand the times I’ve gambled or even bought a scratch off. Don’t even get me started on what goes through my head when I call someone in my family and they don’t answer –in summary they are either mad at me for that thing I said 5 months ago or they are hurt badly and can’t get to the phone.

Okay, I think I’ve made my point: Changing my career was NOT an easy decision and by nature not something I did on a whim. Especially considering all that we had going on in our lives at that time. All positive things, but still a little stressful. We had just started our own business, I had just taken on an outside project for a non-profit, were planning a week long anniversary trip plus whatever else could have come our way –because remember, I am an analyzer and you can bet I have thought of 1 million things that could have gone wrong this summer.

Alright the bigger picture, why I am sharing this with you? I just really want a pat on the back for following my dreams… just kidding. Like all things I share here, if I can inspire one person, then I am happy. From tackling that DIY or taking that leap, I have always wanted to inspire and affect people in a positive way.

I don’t know who I heard it from or where I saw it but this is something that stuck with me from the second I heard it: Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone. I have used that as my inspiration when I want to say no to an opportunity because it’s not comfortable. Okay don’t jump on me here… I know that it is important to say no as well. It’s also something I have learned the hard way. If everything is important, nothing is. From speaking at a conference to hugging someone when they really need it (or you really need it!), some of the very best things in life have happened when I am outside of my comfort zone.

I could have stayed so nice and secure in my little introverted comfort zone and done well. I could have stayed at that job with my best friends, made great money, helped so many amazing people, but also continued to have sleepless nights and daily crying sessions (at home though because “Don’t let them in, don’t let them seeBe the good girl you always have to beConceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know”—it’s like Elsa could see into my soul!). That honestly would have been so much easier, ‘stay the course’, ‘just deal with it’, ‘everyone hates their job—right?’ ‘We’re all in this together!’.  I even told myself at one point, ‘you’ve spent so much money on that private college degree, you can’t throw that away’. But it turns out you cannot put a price on your mental health and happiness. 

I won’t share the exact circumstances that lead me to applying for other positions  because it won’t be fair for those involved. However, I can tell you there were a few people who inspired me and pushed me to start the journey to a new career and to them, I am forever in their debt-you know who you are. So THANK YOU. 

Because I took the leap, I actually get up every day excited to go to work for more reasons than just seeing my friends and the sense of duty. I am inspired at work and feel like I am more myself than I have ever been, and people still like me, I think.

And, one important thing I’ve realized: All those expectations were not specifically put on me by my parents, family, friends or boss; they were my own expectations of myself.  Before I could really feel at peace with my career change I had to get over my own expectations and realize that those who really care about me could not be disappointed in my decision.

So take this as your sign. Take that leap. Change your job. Start that business. Tackle that DIY project. Defy Expectations. 

And hey, it’s a NEW YEAR and NEW DECADE, is there a better time to do it? Well maybe if the New Year started on a Monday…

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