After graduating college, I was DETERMINED to move to a big city. Why you ask? After all, I was extremely proud (and still am) to have grown up on a farm, where I learned what really matters in life. If you have not grown up in this type of setting, it is hard to explain. All of my neighbors looked out for each other and worked harder than most. Every time I stepped through the front door, I was overcome with joy knowing that I was around to-the-core good people that loved me amongst all of my flaws. They never allowed me to get too big of a head either and that is something that I am eternally grateful for. Honestly, I had it good back home. And I was happy.
But I was hungry.
I was dying to see more of the world in order to gain a new perspective. It was in my heart to make that happen and when I set my mind to something, there is NO STOPPING ME. The only problem was that I slightly underestimated the amount of change I was about to go through upon embarking on this new journey.
In effect, moving to the big city of Chicago was a MAJOR culture shock for me that I was not quite ready for. Between juggling bills for the first time, setting up shop in my new apartment in a new city, trying to meet new people and taking on my first “real” job, I felt a tad bit overwhelmed to say the least.
Perhaps there was a freak-out session or two (Sorry for the phone calls, Mom!).
Particularly, rewind back a few months to college: I was used to having countless resources right at my fingertips as well as plenty of friends to call up if I ever needed anything. I had a community that I belonged to and what a great time it was! It gave me endless confidence to take on the so-called “real world”.
So that very confidence was a bit shaken when I moved to Chicago. Before relocating to the Windy City, deep down, I felt like I was meant to be in a southern city. Austin or Nashville would have been a great marriage of both city and country: what I thought I was. Thus, I became overwhelmed with uncertainty of my decision.
Was I where I belonged? Would I fit in? Would I even SURVIVE?
I was alone and out on my own in an entirely different world. For one, who knew that almost every left turn you make in a big city is on red and you feel like you are about to take out a few pedestrians? Or that grocery stores would have escalators not just for you, but for your shopping cart as well. Yes, a few months later, I have become accustomed to these things, but go back to the beginning and you will find one very seemingly lost girl.
But, I will tell you one thing: I was not lost.
Not at all. You see, when you try to do things that “make sense” in life, you do not always end up where you are meant to be. You do not learn as much because you are simply not pushed to your limits. Instead, you remain in your own point of view, partial to your particularly narrow set of circumstances. You continue to judge others for the way they live their lives, yet you have never stepped out of yours.
So, I challenge you to ask yourself this question: Do you make decisions in life based on where you think you will fit in or do you try things knowing that you might stand out and embrace that very fact? Life does not always have to make sense for it to be worthwhile.
Further, below are seven reasons why you should risk stepping outside of what is comfortable to you:
1. It scares the hell out of you
If you try to avoid all things that scare you in life, are you really living? Or are you just getting by? Hey, life is short Sally and you cannot expect to live a different life by hanging out with the same people in the same places. If you are currently satisfied with where you are at, then alright, but should you ever really be 100% satisfied? While one can argue that it is good to feel content and at peace, there are major benefits to always pushing for more. If you are still breathing, then you still have a purpose. You are not done yet.
And how do you get to where you should be? By being vulnerable and afraid by taking a risk that you repeatedly think about. If your heart continually winds up in the same place, that just might be telling you something. So trust it and dive in already. No one is in charge of taking the plunge, but you.
2. You are forced to be independent
I have always considered myself to be quite independent, but going out on your own really takes that to a whole new level. You finally begin to recognize all that others have done for you in the past and how much you should thank them, because it is not all that easy becoming self-reliant. Thus, thank your parents, friends and whoever has helped you out along the way. You owe it to them.
But, you can also surprise yourself quite a bit: There is a lot more that you can accomplish on your own than you even realize and this can serve to give you great confidence. When you are forced to depend on yourself, things become less wishy-washy. You just have to DO. No excuses; just get out there and work and make things happen. You do not need a rich sugar daddy or sugar mama. You can do this on your own and you will.
3. You are forced to be dependent
One of the marks of maturity is realizing that striving for complete independence is a waste. A wise person understands that there will be times to rely on others and times to find that internal strength. As humans, we must do both.
It is okay to ask for help. This can actually create a better relationship with others. When you seek their advice, this gives them a sense of pride in themselves. Especially when starting out on your own, you will be forced to learn from others. Do not seek to do everything yourself. Instead, find role models and ask for their help. They probably know a thing or two.
4. You find out what you hate
Just because you decide to step outside of your comfort zone does not mean that you will automatically be rewarded with happiness and success. No, this is not the jackpot. This is the journey. And on the journey, you find that not everything is peaches and cream.
You do not have to pretend to like something, just because everyone around you does. It is your right to hate it if you want to! This will help in determining how to shift your path, so let your emotions be your guide.
5. You find out what you love
By exposing yourself to new experiences, you truly recognize what makes you happy as well. And I’m not talking new shoes kind of happy (while that is great). I’m talking about finding and operating in your ZONE: that feeling you get that just simplifies everything else, because you are doing what gives you true peace. You can push out the annoying things that pop up along the way, because you are doing something truly cool and those little things no longer matter.
And maybe that something is different than what you ever even imagined. But, you would never know this unless you took the chance to step outside of what you have always known. So, is it worth it to remain where you are? While it is comfortable, you could be passing up something truly amazing.
6. You find out what matters to you
Dreaming of fame and riches can seem quite appealing, but, in all, it is more empty than anything else. A friend once posed a question to me, “What if we are all trying to chase this brilliant lifestyle when, in all reality, the key to happiness is the simple life?” In my opinion, she could not be more correct. Yes, I have always appreciated nice things and I hope to earn them in due time, but letting that be my gage in life proves to be incredibly unfulfilling.
What does that say about you if what you lead with is money or popularity? To me, it seems rather boring. Life is fleeting. Faster than you or I even know. So, take the time to understand the purpose behind why you do certain things. Is it for the greater good of all? Or is it to appear prestigious? After all, what really matters when you are gone? You can’t take it with you so aim to do things that are greater than skin-deep.
7. You realize that your own opinion of yourself is the one that really matters
I am the same person no matter where I go, yet ask two different people and they could have completely conflicting opinions of who I am. So, what am I to do? Try to please them both? Well, that is how you end up having multiple personalities and I believe that is diagnosed as a mental disorder.
True undying confidence is remaining true to yourself and not thinking twice about what others perceive you as. While it is completely rational to care what others think of you in some situations, if this serves as your guide, then you are giving up the control of your life and placing it in someone else’s hands. Yet, they do not even understand what it is to be you. It sounds rather senseless, yet many of us do it all the time. Free yourself of that thinking and you are already heads above the rest. After all, it is not their life. It is yours.
So, understand these 7 reasons why you should risk stepping into the unknown. Otherwise, you will never really know how great you could become.