Last week I found myself on the outskirts of my comfort zone. I wasn’t way out, but a wee bit out there. I was in Seattle for a day by myself. As someone who always has her family, husband, or friends in tow on any trips, being alone in a large city was exhilarating and a little intimidating.
Getting out of my comfort zone isn’t always easy. But, it can happen when I least expect it. And honestly, this is sometimes the best way to get outta there! I don’t have a chance to worry about it or procrastinate. I just end up out there and have no choice but to embrace it. Fear, doubt, and all.
After an amazing, and long over due visit with my siblings in Washington state last week, I was alone in Seattle for a full day. After exploring the city together on Friday, my sister drove back that evening to her sleepy little town of Lake Bay, WA. My brother and I spent that night in the city, but he was off and running at 6am Saturday to catch his early morning flight.
My flight was not until that night.
I had the whole day in Seattle . . . to myself.
I knew this before the trip. In thinking about it, I was over the moon. I love to travel. I love big cities. I had been to Seattle once before. “No problem,” I thought. I would be free to choose whatever I wanted to do; not worrying about children’s desires, or what anyone else wanted to eat; concerned with only how I wanted to spend my time. “Awesomesauce” I thought!
Then the day came. My brother woke me up as he was about to leave and with sleep in my eyes I hugged him tight and wished him safe travels. I climbed back in bed. Having a hotel room all to myself till noon, I was tempted to stay under the warm covers until 11:30, but, I forced myself up and out to take on the day. I was determined to experience all Seattle had to offer me.
While eating breakfast, alone, I felt odd. I had never been a lone traveler before. I wasn’t sure how to do it. Twelve hours seemed like a long time. I became a little nervous. For some, this might not be out of the box. For me, traveling alone is a little bit out there.
To make matters worse, my iPhone decided on that trip to start giving me problems. The crutch I depend on daily for directions, restaurant reviews, pictures, and simple communication while on the move, was out-of-order. This made me feel insecure.
As I finished my meal, I put the worries aside. People travel alone all the time. I was an adult in an awesome city and I was going to go explore it.
If you ever visit Seattle and only have 12 hours, these are a few must sees!
Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Space Needle
I highly recommend exploring a new city alone. Especially if this is outside of your comfort zone. I encourage you to hike up your big girl panties or big boy boxers and get out there to see all there is to see. Life is too short not to.
If you’d like more tips on visiting Seattle…check here.
I was feeling a little trepidation at first, but once I planned my itinerary, and realized no one would be rushing me or saying, “how much longer?” in the art museum, I became excited.
I decided to leave the car parked and walk to my destinations. In a city like Seattle, this is easy to do. My sense of direction is terrible so I had to be sure to keep track of the streets I was on so I could get back to my hotel with minimal problems. Especially since I had no iphone.
I had a lovely day despite a little rain. I maintained a slight hint of anxiety the whole time just being alone in a big city, but for the most part, I was able to talk myself out of it and just enjoy the ride.
I reflected on what helped me keep my anxiety down so I could fully receive the joy I felt.
Here are a few ideas on what it takes to mentally get out of our comfort zone. No matter what it is, whether it’s exploring a new city alone, giving a speech, skydiving, or taking a new dance class, these can help:
- Tell someone else what you are going to do. This gives you accountability and if you end up chickening out you will have to tell that person you didn’t actually do it. No bueno!
- Think of practical things you can do that will help give you a feeling of control. For me, it was having a plan and walking with a purpose. I walked confidently and kept aware of my surroundings. There was one part of town while walking back from the art museum that I felt a bit uncomfortable. There were more people milling about on the streets. I was approached by a guy asking if I’d like to buy some pot. This surprised me. After I respectfully declined, I just kept wondering to myself, what exactly about my appearance gave him the impression I might be an easy sale? 🙂
- Fake it till you make it. Just start. Even if you’re feeling uneasy, as I was at first, just do it! With each step you take, you increase your confidence.
- Make sure the messages you give yourself are encouraging. If you start to doubt yourself, replace those thoughts with “I can do this” or “I got this.”
- Smile at and chat with people, it helps you feel less alone. Also, remember that people are inherently good. If you run into a jam, there will be someone you can turn to for help.
- It always helps to have a partner in crime to join you in getting out of your box, but in this instance, since being alone WAS the reason I was out of my comfort zone, that didn’t really apply.
- Believe in yourself. You can do it. Tell yourself that . . . repeatedly.
After you do something that is a stretch for you and outside of your comfort zone, I can guarantee, you will feel awesome! Your confidence will shoot through the roof. And the bigger the leap you had to take to get out there, the more confident you will feel. This will increase the positive thoughts you tell yourself. This will bring joy.
The next time you are faced with something outside your comfort zone, you will remember this moment and all the other moments like it and you will emphatically say, “I got this!”
I’d love to hear about steps you’ve taken outside of your comfort zone!