Thursday, July 24, 2014

Get Out of that Zone of Comfort

Photo at the Badlands today...
Posting more on Friday

Earlier today...while I was seated in the driver's seat of a 9-passenger state vehicle filled with nine Taiwanese exchange students...I found myself thinking about how I wouldn't be in this position had I never strayed from my comfort zone. But wait...after that long run-on sentence, you are probably wondering how I did find myself in such an odd position. To recap, last summer I helped chauffeur Taiwanese dietetic students of China Medical University through the exchange program of my college. They visited South Dakota and Minnesota for about a month and I had the pleasure of getting to know them. Then, I was able to visit China Medical University in Taiwan this past May. You can read more about my Taiwan adventures here, here, here, here, and here. When I heard that more students would be coming back this summer, I jumped at the opportunity to help out again.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I can give to anyone (especially college students) is to not shy away from situations that make you take a few steps (even leaps) outside of your comfort zone. When I think of people, I picture them standing in an enclosed bubble, secluded from the world around them. (Think John Travolta in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble circa 1976...that's the image I'm going for.) Imagine all of the ways in which this barrier is interfering with your life and all of the things you are missing out on each day. Since you've only known life within your "bubble," the thought of breaking free seems a bit scary, almost absurd. As I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day, I came across a quote saying:
"Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new."
While leaving that zone of comfort is, well, uncomfortable, how else are we able to grow? If we are only exposing ourselves to the same environment, the same people, the same tasks, we are not allowing ourselves to experience new sensations and grow as an individual.

Today, I encourage you to think a bit about your comfort zone. Ask yourself what is holding you back from conquering bigger and better things. When I was asked a year ago to drive a 9-passenger van full of foreign exchange students in the Twin Cities, I could have easily said "no!" Because let's be completely honest here...I don't know an ounce of Chinese and I can hardly drive my Buick Century. However, a part of me knew that I couldn't pass on such an opportunity. If I had never taken that step outside of my comfort zone, I wouldn't have made friends with nutrition students across the globe and I probably never would have traveled to China and Taiwan. I also wouldn't have been given the option to be hired to drive the Summer 2014 China Medical University students to the Black Hills and again to the Twin Cities. I'm getting paid to travel, people! Dream. Come. True!

I'm leaving you with a simple image with a profound message. Now put on your big girl (or boy) pants and get movin' outta that comfort zone!


  1. Awesome thoughts, Amanda! I have definitely learned that going out of my comfort zone in college leads to greater things and helps me find out more about myself. It's so important to do!

  2. Being paid to travel is just absolutely wonderful! And I am so with you on how important it is to step outside your comfort zone!