I just returned from New York where I spent my birthday with friends. My trip included days on the beach in Jersey, lunches with my editor and agent, a party for Foundry Literary Agency's five year anniversary, and Book Expo America. My editor let me see the cover for my book "The Lake House" and I'm madly in love with it. For five days, I was surrounded by successful people who have all pushed past their place of comfort to have the life many dream of having. Last night I took my first real tango lesson in my pursuit to finish my 101 Dreams Come True. Tango is a sensual dance, that needs great balance. To learn to tango, one must first learn to walk as if skating on a tight rope. Every step is actually a slide and many times it felt like I might fall over. I faltered, stepped on a few feet, and had mine stepped on as well. Dancing salsa feels as comfortable as an old pair of jeans, but tango right now feels like walking in heels for the first time. But if I want to learn the dance I have to step out of my comfort zone and make mistakes. I guess this goes back to my dream of learning to be imperfect.
There was a time in my life when I was incredibly shy and hated being out of my comfort zone (I know it's hard to believe.). Being at a party was torture for me. Talking in front of a classroom was a living hell. Social situations broke me out in a sweat. There's still a part of me that wants to curl up and not go into strange situations. I fight with this shyness. Think about it, I'm a writer - you can't choose a more reclusive job that being a novelist. But I knew if I wanted to really enjoy life I had to come out of my shell.
Going after my list of dreams has been a constant battle of stepping out of my comfort zone. Putting up this website felt like standing naked in front of the world. Everything on the list challenges my fears, my belief in myself, and pushes me past what I thought I could do.
But in going after my 101 Dreams Come True, I've learned that the only way to get a life filled with greatness, to become stronger and to have it all, is to reach past the comfort zone. Only then could I find out how miraculous my life was meant to be.
What's your comfort zone? And how do you plan to step out of it?