Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Venturing How Far from One’s Comfort Zone is Safe?

Filed under: Motivation — by at 2:45 pm on Monday, April 4, 2011

Venturing beyond one’s comfort zone leads to experiencing new adventures, discovering new talents or skills, and to meeting new people. Expanding and going beyond one’s comfort zone is one way to truly live life to it’s fullest and to discover one’s full potential and capabilities.

And I am all for it!

But is there a limit to how far one should venture from the point of comfort? Is there a point at which venturing out of bounds is unsafe, unwise? Is that comfort zone there for a reason?

Yes, in recent years, I have found my way to Harpo Studios, ziplined across Robson Square, and toured Washington DC solo. However, in each case, I had taken steps for a successful outcome:

  • Using Google Maps at the most detailed level, I studied the route from Hotel 71 to Harpo Studios. I was prepared to abort the trip if I felt unsafe at any point. And, in fact, I did alter my route when the sidewalk became impassable and when the area felt less than desirable.
  • When climbing the eighty-one stairs to the zipline, the three of us took our time; I trusted my friends. I also trusted the company running the zipiine; this was their business and they would take all safety measures necessary to protect it. Rationally I knew I was safe, even though I was terrified as I sat down on the platform before leaping off into nothingness.
  • Before exploring Washington for four hours, I again studied Google Maps in great detail. And, although I didn’t put my theory to the test, I sensed yelling "Bomb!" would garner much more attention than required.

Despite similar preparation for my last trip, I felt unexplainably uneasy, scared; I even emailed my Mom that I was terrified (not the best thing to say in an email before leaving on a "foreign" trip).

Why did this trip feel so far out of my comfort zone?

I don’t know.

Perhaps it was because I was traveling alone and I realize that, as a woman with a significant physical disability, I am a vulnerable target for an assault. That is my fear, always.

Perhaps it was because the trip was three-legged – from here to Austin to San Diego and back home again – and two of those legs meant changing planes. There was more opportunity for something to go wrong.

Perhaps it was because a friend said she wouldn’t recommend that any woman stay at the motel I had booked. (At the end of my stay she realized she was thinking about the wrong motel).

Perhaps it was because of something else.

I don’t know.

But I had that feeling before I had the accessibility issues in Austin, before I missed my flight and had to unexpectedly spend the night in Phoenix, and before I had to take a taxi alone late at night in an unfamiliar city.

Was my fear my imagination running wild? Or was it trying to tell me something, to protect me from something?

How far can one safely venture from one’s comfort zone?

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Comment by ramona harvey

April 9, 2011 @ 5:53 am

As a woman with a significant disability myself who often travels, I can totally understand your concerns — and can really relate.

I don’t know the answer to your question, but I do know that a large portion of why I have not really traveled outside of the country is because while I am very independent etc — there is something about doing that alone that makes me nervous.

Comment by Travis

April 13, 2011 @ 10:19 am

This post certainly hits home with me. My parents (in their late 70’s) are incessant world travelers. Recent trips have included Vietnam, Indonesia, Phillipines. Then most recently, a tour of the middle east: Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. My father is totally at ease in every country he visits. My mother seems to be at ease as long as he is. Their children (me be one of them) worry constantly particularly now as they are running out of countries to visit. If they tell me Afghanistan, I’m stopping them.

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