That’s me to the right! I rode 60 miles on a snowmobile from New Hampshire into Canada this past weekend…

It was exhilarating, scary, stressful and amazing!

When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

I haven’t been on a snowmobile since I was 26. When a friend asked me if I wanted to head North to New Hampshire and join a group that will be riding snowmobiles for hours each day over miles of trails into Canada, my first reaction was “I’m too old for that.”

Humans are creatures of comfort. Our comfort zone is our natural, neutral state — a place where stress and anxiety are minimal, where we know what’s coming next and can plan accordingly. In our comfort zone, there is a sense of familiarity, security and certainty.

There’s nothing wrong with being in your comfort zone, unless you get too comfortable and start holding yourself back instead of challenging yourself to learn, grow and try new things. By agreeing to ride a snowmobile when I haven’t done it in over 30 years was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone.

When we step outside of our comfort zone, we’re taking a risk, and opening ourselves up to the possibility of stress and anxiety; we’re not quite sure what will happen and how we’ll react. But in fact, the comfort zone is a useful psychological concept that can help you embrace risk and make changes in your life that can lead to real personal growth. We’ve come to see stress as a dirty word, and for good reason. But a little bit of healthy stress can actually act as a catalyst for growth and provide a powerful motivation to act.

Yes, I was stressed!

Could I keep up with all the others?

Would I poop out and have to turn around?
Will my body be able to take the bumps, the cold and the endless hours of riding?

Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is an important, and almost universal, factor in personal growth. How can we expect to evolve in our lives and careers if we only stick to habit and routine? Reaching new heights involves the risk of attempting something we might not succeed at.
A little anxiety can help us perform at our peak, in other words, when we challenge ourselves, we tend to rise to the occasion.
I had a blast snowmobiling despite the fact that I didn’t think I could do it. I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone.

What will you do to step out of your comfort zone?