Transitions can be scary
Choosing to change means moving out of our comfort zone and into unknown territory. Back in 2006, I found myself in a precarious spot. I was ending a 30 year marriage and letting go of every familiar thing in my life. No more home where I’d raised my kids. No more family business. No more setting back and half-heartedly pretending to enjoy the ride life was taking me on.
I realized I was the only one who was responsible for my life and that nothing was going to change until I changed. I quit waiting for a superhero to rescue me. I quit blaming others for my feeling stuck and unhappy. I put little notecards around my house that said, “100%” as reminders that I was 100% responsible for my own life.
Finding new perspectives at a Baby House
And then, as if I weren’t far enough out of my comfort zone, I went to South Africa for six weeks, by myself. This was scary! I had never traveled anywhere alone, ever. I had been married since I was 17. I knew I needed to get outside of myself and do something that felt bigger than my problems; bigger than me. I found a place where I could volunteer and spent a month at a Baby House in South Africa. There were 12 babies under the age of two, all orphaned or abandoned. This was definitely bigger than me. I worked hard. I met incredible, sweet babies. I changed their diapers. I bathed and dressed and fed them. I took them to an AIDS Clinic. Those babies gave me so much during that month, including a new perspective. I am grateful, beyond words, for that opportunity.
After I left the Baby House I spent two weeks traveling alone in South Africa. I saw beautiful country and amazing animals, visited an elephant sanctuary, took about a thousand photos, journaled daily, and rode an ostrich. Getting on the back of that ostrich was terrifying for me! It was literally oceans away from my comfort zone. This, seriously, took an enormous amount of courage for me. It may not seem like a big deal, but it was. It was a kind of decision-point for me. I could hold onto the fear I was feeling and keep playing small or I could face that fear, let go of the illusion of control and hold onto the wings of that ostrich for dear life -and fly.
If you have never rode an ostrich let me tell you it is wild. They’re fast and slippery and it is hard to stay on. Thinking back on it, I have mixed feelings. I love animals and I don’t think that ostrich enjoyed it. But it was a heck of a ride and I am so grateful to that ostrich.
Discovering what’s possible
He gave me a new perspective too. While my time at the Baby House moved me out of myself and gave me a larger world view, that ostrich ride showed me what was possible. Taking risks, facing fear, going all-out and thoroughly myself in the process. That wild, crazy ostrich ride gave me the courage I needed to move forward with enthusiasm and whole-hearted joy. I was totally out of control AND I LOVED IT.
If you are feeling stagnant or stuck you may not need to ride an ostrich or go to another country but is it possible that you need to move out of your comfort zone and try something new? Is there something you’d like to try that scares you a bit? I want to encourage you to grab a hold of your courage, hop on top of what scares you, and take a wild ride outside your comfort zone.