When was the last time you stepped outside your comfort zone?
Do you remember the first time you were allowed to ride a rollercoaster? Were you one of those people standing on your toes, eager to be considered tall enough for the ride? Or were you one of those children relieved to be denied access and told to wait until next year?
Either way, I bet you had butterflies. Or, if you're anything like me, I bet you still do.
The long wait is the hardest part. Tedious, for sure, but this is where you have to handle the fear. Can you feel it build up in you? You might notice it as extreme boredom. Or irritability. Or even anger. Suddenly kids are annoying, the chatter is too loud and the queue is barely moving forward. And all you want to do is to get it over with.
And then it's your turn. It's time to run for the seats. Do you run to the front? Do you believe the last seats get the most thrill? Or do you find a safer seat somewhere in the middle?
No matter where you are seated, during the long clumb to the top your emotions are flowing through you in waves. Excitement. Anticipation. Fear. It's a confusing mix and you might feel ambivalent. Is this good? Do I like this feeling? It's okay to love it and hate it at the same time.
Because you don't have a choice.
There is no way back.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick – whiiiiiiiiiii!
You're shaken and stirred, upside and down, it's fun and it hurts, you get dizzy and you love it. And when you finally get back down you're thrilled. Releaved. Excited. Happy.
And then you want to do it again.
So, do you remember your first time in a rollercoaster? Do you remember the fear? But more importantly, do you remember how you felt afterwards?
You wanted to do it again and again and again.
Yesterday, I met Dionne, who is a reader of the the Freedom Experiment and lives in New York. And it felt like riding a rollercoaster (in the best possible way!). A few hours before, I was nervous. I had butterflies.
I even considered to cancel. My mind was all will she spread rumors about me on the internet? What is the worst thing that can happen if I don't go?
But I did it.
And I'm so glad I did!
When I entered the restaurant, I felt like I do when it's finally my turn to run for the seats. Who is she? What do I say? How much of me do I share? Do I opt for the safe zone? Or do I throw myself out there?
And the first few minutes of the conversation, we were both nervous. And excited. And nervous.
And then, it started rolling.
We talked for almost two hours, non stop. It was fun. I learned a lot. It felt good. I smiled and laughed a lot.
And then it was over.
And all I want to do is do it again and again and again.
Rollercoasters are fun, because they push us past our comfort zone. The first few times are uncomfortable, but the more you do it, the easier it will be.
And that goes for other things too.
When was the last time you did something outside your comfort zone? When was the last time you did something new?
You can't remember, you say?
When was the last time you went on a blind date, met new people, launched a product, turned a good (but not right for you) opportunity down, took some time off, disconnected from the internet, traveled abroad, colored your hair, spoke on a stage, went to a karaoke bar (and performed!), shared your art, told someone a secret, told someone you loved them, risked rejection, conquered a fear? (Do you need ideas? Check out this post.)
(And because I know you're dying to know what was my latest first: Burlesque club and gambling in Vegas. This makes me sound like a total bad-ass, I know. And I'm not – I was terrified. And yes, it was fun!)
And on a whole different level - when was the last time you were afraid of change and new things? When was the last time you were clinging to certainty and control?
This morning, you say?
But when we actually do it - we love it. Right?
So do something fun today. Do something liberating. Do something you've always wanted to do.
And then do it again and again and again.