Every year I make a journal entry on December 31st. I reflect on where I was 365 days ago and walk through the year up until today. I write to my future self, 365 days from now, asking for things I hope he has (or will, or has already done…I don’t know) in the coming year.
365 days ago I was in the most comfortable, safe season of life I have ever and most likely will ever be in. I was surrounded by friends, family, peers, and mentors. I had everything I needed to be happy and content, except for one thing…I wasn’t growing. I might have been in knowledge, but I wasn’t in experience. I wasn’t doing anything. I was coasting and I knew it. I knew I wasn’t meant to live a life of just “getting by”. I was meant to try and fail and boy did I fail this past year. It’s in the trying and failing that things are accomplished, but you can’t have one without the other.
So I did the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I moved.
I moved to a completely different state, halfway across the country. I even moved without knowing where I was going to live. I essentially gave the middle finger to comfort and safety. I had a job lined up and that was about the only sure thing I knew, but even that wasn’t so sure.
It can be fun to romanticize big moments in your life, but here’s the reality of this past year:
- This past year I moved to Austin without a place to live and almost started living in a hostel.
- This past year I struggled to go from my hometown where I knew everyone, to a city where I only knew one person. Like really struggled.
- I got fired from the job I moved out here for. I failed.
- I spent 3 months unemployed.
- I applied and interviewed countless times only to hear they “decided to go a different route”.
- I was starting to run out of money and feared not being able to pay rent.
Sometimes you give the middle finger to comfort and safety and it gives it back. So yea the whole “trying and failing” things sucks. Like a lot.
Mainly when you fail, but no one ever talks about when they fail so you just assume you’re the idiot.
I questioned myself a lot.
I wondering why I was cursed such a high risk tolerance and why didn’t I just take the safe job in my home state I was offered. Why did I always have to be so extreme…I think I finally learned why.
I’m not content in my comfort zone and I have a suspicion that you aren’t either.
Of course I’m content on the outside. Who doesn’t like comfort and safety, but there will always be this nagging feeling that I don’t belong here. I’m content when everything is up in the air and you have to figure it out before it and you hit the ground. It’s in those moments of being terrified that I know that’s where I belong.
Now I’d probably scare some of you if I didn’t talk about the joy of jumping out of your comfort zone with both feet. Here’s the other side of this year:
- I’ve learned more about myself this year than I ever have in all the years combined.
- I’ve learned my limits and have become more sure of myself than ever before.
- I got a job that I didn’t think was possible to get at my age, a work environment that most people dream of, and a boss who actually cares about mentoring young entrepreneurs.
- I’ve met some amazing people who I would never have had the pleasure of knowing, including my roommates, some great guys who have become dear friends of mine.
- I learned how to cook, how to budget, and what it means to be an adult.
- I learned how to start an e-commerce business
- How to be financially independent
- How to make friends (sounds dumb, but it’s actually really hard when they aren’t just handed to you)
- I’ve learned more about this world and my place in it than I ever have before.
- I experience some amazing moments this past year.
Here’s something I journaled yesterday morning: “Life isn’t something clique like a journey or a rollercoaster, it’s a maze. It’s a maze where you go down a path for days, months, sometimes years only to find out it was a dead end and you have to back track. It’s a place of discovery, a place of fellowship, and hardship. It’s exciting, difficult, painful, but above all it’s worth walking”
Life wasn’t meant to be played safe. You weren’t meant to stand still. Leaving your comfort zone might look different from person to person, because some people’s comfort zone is bigger than others, but it’s still meant to be left. It doesn’t have be some big thing like uprooting your life (although maybe it is), it can be something as small as going to a social gathering with social anxiety. It can be something like canceling your meal plan and learning how to cook. Maybe it’s just learning how to budget, workout, or leaving a toxic friend group.
The size of what you do to push yourself doesn’t matter, what matters is that you’re pushing yourself. That you’re doing things that scare you and make you uncomfortable. Because you’re capable of more than you know, but you won’t ever realize it in your comfort zone.
I’ve now developed a comfort zone here in Austin, which means I have to watch myself of becoming stagnant. Because you’re never done growing, not until you’re dead.
So use 2019 to do a big thing or maybe just a lot of small things that push you further and further to all that you’re capable of. I’d highly recommend taking an hour or two today to figure out what that looks like in 2019. Don’t waste this year coasting.