My youngest daughter, Dylan, turns 3 today. For her birthday, we are retiring her crib and tonight she moves into her big girl toddler bed. It's an exciting day in the Riffert house.
Neither of my girls ever climbed out of their cribs at night, so we kept them in there as long as possible. I liked knowing (with a fair degree of certainty) that they were contained and safe. They are fiercely independent little girls and, to me, there was a sense of comfort knowing they wouldn't get out of their cribs at night. So, if we're being honest, I'm a little anxious thinking about how many times Dylan will come into my room tonight with her newly found freedom!
Call it "how did my baby get so big" mama reflections, but setting up the toddler bed got me thinking about how often we stay in our own "cribs". The crib looks a little different now...it's our comfort zone. It is the box you keep your thoughts in or the places where you feel safe, certain, and in control. Think about it, how often do you stick with your familiar habits, routines, and business practices just because they are comfortable? When was the last time you re-examined a process or tried something you weren't exactly sure how to do?
Fear is usually the culprit that holds us in our comfort zones, so here are a few things you can do to push yourself out of that space:
Remind yourself that some of your best ideas & experiences happen when you were uncomfortable at first.
Start small. Take small actions that push you just a little bit. When you realize nothing bad happened, it will give you the courage to do more.
See challenges as learning experiences. Ask yourself, "what am I learning from this?".
Change your self-talk. Pump yourself up with a quick pep talk. Telling yourself "I've got this" or "I can do this" reduces your anxiety and gives you confidence to try.
Visualize success. What does a successful outcome look & feel like? Now go make it happen!
Put on a show! Adopt an alter ego (one who isn't afraid) and send that person into the situation.
Grab a friend. Doing something new with another person makes it feel a little less risky. Plus they'll be there to support you when you lose your nerve.
Now go. Try something new. Create. Experiment. Question. Be brave!