July 14, 2023

Leaping Into the Unknown


Posted by Sharmarke Hujale


4 min read

When you think about the human mind. It’s like a rubber band. It’s designed to stretch, adapt, and grow. But just like a rubber band. It tends to snap back into its original shape when the pressure is released—this is the human comfort zone. A space where our behavior fits a pattern that minimizes stress and risk.

It’s a space where we feel safe and secure. But at the same time, it limits our growth and potential. It’s a comfortable cage, but still a cage.

My Personal Struggle with the Comfort Zone

As an introvert, I’ve struggled a lot when stepping out of my comfort zone. Not because I’m shy, but more scared of failure. I like the idea of being reserved. But when I look back at my life, the times I really felt I was growing was when I felt a bit scared on the inside. You know the feeling when your stomach starts to feel funny, your hand sweats a lot, and your legs start to shiver a bit? Yeah, that’s when you know you’re gonna reach a new level. And feels like a power booster after the initial nervousness.

Nobody on the planet likes the idea of standing still. You feel like you’re losing precious time. In my wildest imagination, I never thought I’d perform spoken word poetry in front of 800+ people, start a YouTube channel, start a business, be part of a charity organization, be done with three degrees, get married, and have a kid.

If I had asked my 15-year-old self who at the time had lost almost all confidence and self-belief, would probably have laughed out of disbelief. So every time, I want to step out of my comfort zone, I look back at my accomplishment, and say to myself I can do this. Our past accomplishments should be a catalyst for our future progression, and inspire us to keep improving.

I will share some small actionable tips on how you can leap into uncharted territories.

Start Small, Grow Gradually

Growth comes in all sizes. You don’t have to leap all at once. It could be as small as having a more in-depth conversation with your parents. It could be to join a charity organization in your local town. Reading a book outside your profession. Or reach out to the person you admire.

Stretch your comfort zone bit by bit. Before I even got to perform spoken words in front of a live audience. It started with YouTube. First with only my voice, and later I started to record with my face. It grew my confidence over time.

Turn Fear into Curiosity

Shift your perspective. Instead of seeing the unknown as something scary. See it as a source of excitement and a chance to learn. A lot of athletes do that before entering their match. Turn fear into curiosity. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience? How will this help me grow.?”

Develop a Growth Mindset

It’s essential to build the right mindset. The concept of a growth mindset is the belief that you have the capacity to continuously learn and grow. When you’ve got a growth mindset, you see challenges as opportunities to improve. The opposite of that is a fixed mindset. With a fixed mindset, you see challenges and obstacles to avoid. Why you ask? Because your abilities are fixed, and can’t be stretched further beyond.

Find a Support System

Surround yourself with people who support your growth and understand your journey. It really helps to have those kinds of people in your life. It’s an immense boost of confidence. Also, these are the people you can vent out when things get too much. They can provide advice, encouragement, and a safe space when you need it. It doesn’t have to be a big circle. It can be as small as only 1-2 close friends. And if you’ve people in your that’s negative and toxic all the time, it’s time to get rid of them. One of the biggest reasons for you not growing is having people who are not happy and encouraging in your accomplishments.

Reflect and Celebrate Progress

Take time to reflect on your journey and celebrate your progress no matter how small they are. If you’re the type of person to be nervous around exams and don’t perform well in front of people. And you start to become better and get good results. Celebrate that. Each step you take into the unknown is a victory. Be proud of it.

Remember, your journey into the unknown is not about being fearless. But about being courageous despite your fears. As Susan David said, “Courage is fear walking. Courage is moving forward with our values as our guide. Because as human beings, we can be both fearful and courageous. We can be both excited about a change and concerned about it. We can walk with both.”

Practice Mindfulness

Lastly, stepping into the unknown often brings uncertainty. And uncertainty can lead to stress. Mindfulness practices such as meditation, prayer, yoga, or focusing on how you breathe can help manage stress and keep you grounded.

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