The mere thought of doing something new and different excites us, brings our very emotions and feelings alive and starts the adrenalin pumping, that we feel we're really living life. And we feel good. When was the last time you felt like that?
And of course, having done it once, you soon want to feel alive and that adrenalin boost again.
What's a comfort zone?
Well, many of us spend our lives in it without ever moving out of it. We stick with what is comfortable, what feels easy and right. We listen to the same radio station, the same music, and go to the same place on holiday. The sameness is comforting; we know what to expect. The routine of life can keep us in our comfort zone, too - sometimes it takes a big event to make a change and drive us to do something different, such as redundancy or an accident.
Leaving that comfort zone
Moving out of your comfort zone takes greater effort.
We are heading into the unknown. We'll have to do things which are new to us. We don't know how we'll handle it; we suspect the change will be uncomfortable, a bit like an aircraft going through bumpy clouds en route to the blue skies above. It's like getting on a horse for the first time, or trying a trot, or even a jump. Even if we fall off, we feel ALIVE!
Going out of your comfort zone with animals
If we think about volunteering for animals or indeed being active with them, there could be a range of uncomfortable patches we need to deal with, and some may be too raw to contemplate. For instance, many people we meet say they would be too upset at the sight of lots of unwanted animals, all desparate for a home, in a cage.
What if....we get hooked and find it taking over our lives?
What if... we regret that we didn't do it earlier?
What if.... we're upset at the sight of animals, unwanted, perhaps hurt or maltreated?
What if...we fall down or off, or get bitten or stung or kicked? Or look a fool, having been bucked off into a pile of manure?
What if... we cannot do anything to change a situation, and have to walk away, feeling hopeless?
What if...we can't fit other stuff into our lives that we want or need to do?
Many people do all sorts of things for charities which really push them out of their comfort zones. Jumping out of an aircraft, giving a talk - whatever it is that is going to push that adrenalin button. We all have our own fears and personal challenges to overcome.
Animals offer an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone
| |These may include being active with animals and learning new skills, e.g. horse riding, riding an elephant on safari, volunteering with lion conservation; taking part in charity challenges, usually to raise money for a charity e.g. walking through along the Great Wall of China, camel treks, horseback journeys, abseiling, water-rafting. Charity treksare a great way to challenge yourself & raise money for a good cause at the same time. Bigger animal charities will have plenty of opportunities for you to do this with organised groups, or you could do something on your own.
Personal challenges may be physical in nature or something which challenges you just as much mentally and emotionally, such as giving a talk to a group in a school, something which you're really nervous about doing but do. It could be organising an event in your office, such as employee volunteering - painting the local animal shelter's kennels or creating a new walkway for their animals to walk in.
There's plenty of opportunity to step out of what is your norm and feel your emotions touched, truly touched, in part because of the pure love which exists between animals and ourselves. So many animals accept us for what we are, without being judgemental or critcal, and that is a truly humbling experience for many a volunteer.
"What if, what if, what if..."
can lead to a lifetime's of looking back saying
"if only...if only...if only."
When was the last time you did anything new in your life?
Three things could happen as a result of you moving out of your comfort zone:
Your perspective on your own ability to handle things changes
You want to do it again.
You feel good. Volunteering is a great way to boost your feel-good factor.
Of course, sometimes the mind and body are willing and ready to volunteer, with no thought of the what if's. It's just a matter of giving the idea some focus and finding a way to do it. But you CAN do it - just make a note of all the times you've chosen to do something new and they've worked out fine, e.g. starting a new job, starting school, going to a new place on holiday
So focus on the postiive:
- I could, and I did!
- Brilliant - I can't wait to do it again!
- I never thought I had it in me - but I did.
- It's given me more than I could ever have hoped for.
- Deciding what sort of person you want to be. Alive, living life to the full, someone the world can lean on, having fun, living life with purpose, getting out there and connecting wtih the real world around you, making the most of every day? Or the alternative.
- Trying different things, making a contribution in different ways
- Leaving this earth knowing you made an impact and lived life to the fullest. That's where pushing back the boundaries and going out of your comfort zone will take you.
Comfort zones - they're there to be broken out of.
Break out of yours!