My husband, who knows me well, sent me a link to a blog post this morning that really moved me. So much so, that the initial Inspiration Monday idea that I had (to write to you about figuring out what moves YOU), got postponed until another time so I could share this story with you here instead. The author of this post writes about his experiences pushing past his comfort zone, in spite of his own feelings of fear, overwhelm and self-doubt.
So, what inspired me about this blog post in particular? According to his website bio, "Alastair Humphreys is an adventurer, blogger, author and motivational speaker. As well as expeditions such as cycling round the world, walking across India and rowing the Atlantic, Alastair was named as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year..."
How does a guy who was named "Adventurer of the Year" by National Geographic even HAVE a comfort zone to begin with, much less admit to experiencing fear and uncertainty while doing so many of these incredible things? Seriously! He rode his bike through Siberia in the dead of winter...
So what amazing quality does this guy possess that propels him to accomplish such inconceivable adventures AND still feel humble enough to share with the world that so many of them scared the shit out of him?
Not "super-human". Not "an elite athlete". Not even "so much stronger than I'll ever be".
He's just a normal, every-day Englishman who likes to have adventures and continuously forces himself past his comfort zone in order to achieve his goals. If you read his post or watch his TEDx talk embedded below, you'll see clearly how humble and modest he is about his accomplishments too. It's really surprising, actually.
So, it got me thinking about some of my own accomplishments and the way I view them. I often downplay the things I've done that others often tell me are "amazing" or "inspiring". And I notice lots of other people who I care about doing it too.
What's that about?
We should ALL be extremely proud of the times in our lives when we've stretched ourselves beyond the point at which we start to feel uncomfortable. When we feel fear, trepidation, uncertainty about our success and press on anyway? THAT IS AMAZING, and deserves acknowledgement.
How much easier is it to go through life on auto-pilot? No real direction other than to follow the same-old path because it feel familiar and comfortable. Nothing's at risk that way, there's nothing to fear, just keep on sliding along knowing exactly what to expect to find around every corner you come across.
I call shenanigans on that idea.
We've all heard that old saying, "without risk, there is no reward", right? It's dead-on accurate. If you continue following the same-old, same-old path by giving in to your fear, uncertainty or self-doubt, and never stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone, you'll never have experiences worth remembering in life. Simple as that.
Alastair Humphreys doesn't see himself as some sort of special guy, he doesn't even call himself an "athlete" , but what he does seem to know about himself is that pushing past what's comfortable for him ALWAYS yields some form of exceptional, life-changing experience in the end.
We all have the ability to have experiences like that, and it doesn't require riding a bike across five continents to do it either. Try my Five Tips for Getting Uncomfortable and let me know how things change for you as a result. Good or bad, I want to hear about it either way.
Five Tips for Getting Uncomfortable
- Do one small thing. Think about your biggest, loftiest, scariest goal ever... No, I'm not going to tell you to go quit your job tomorrow to follow your dream of traveling the globe, or to drop $650 on an Ironman entry if you're not a triathlete. But if one of those happens to be your biggest, loftiest, scariest goal, what is ONE small thing you could do that would get you a little closer to achieving it? Could you join a gym that has a pool and start improving your freestyle stroke? What if you did a little research into some of the places you'd like to visit so you'd know how much it might cost to buy your first leg plane ticket?
- Take pride in your accomplishment! OK, so you did a little research and got educated about what it's going to take to get you to Tanzania. And you joined the gym and made it all the way to the end of the pool once before stopping to catch your breath. That is AWESOME! Even though these steps seem small in comparison to the actual end-goal vision you're shooting for, you have to start somewhere, right? By acknowledging small milestones like these, you're reenforcing for yourself that more need to follow.
- Then do another small thing... Now that you've checked one small thing off your list, and have allowed yourself to feel proud for having done it, it's time to pick your next small step. And the next. And the next. And the next. How do you think Alastair Humphreys biked 47,000 miles around the world? By making a decision to do it first. Then he got his butt in the saddle. And he kept getting up and riding his bike every day for FOUR YEARS. 47,000 miles sure sounds like a lot when viewed on its own. But if you look a little more closely you'll see that it all boils down to a whole series of thousands of small steps, thousands of moments, and thousands of decisions he made each and every day over those four years to just keep going.
- Have a little bit of faith in yourself. When you allow yourself to believe that you can do something, anything, you're giving yourself one of the most precious gifts ever conceived. No one else can tell you anything about what you can or can't do in life. Only YOU can decide that. By having faith in yourself, even if just a teeny, tiny bit, you're declaring to yourself and the rest of the world that you have what it takes to succeed. When you get frustrated with your progress - maybe your swim times aren't what you want them to be, or perhaps you're finding it's going to be difficult to get from New Zealand to South Africa - just remember that a little bit of trust in your abilities to pull through goes a long way.
- Use past accomplishments as your compass. If having faith in yourself feels like a stretch at first, look to your past as a measure of your ability to achieve greatness in the future. When has someone said to you, "wow, that's amazing!" about something you've done? What have you accomplished in life that you can stand tall and be proud about? There must be at least one time in your life where you've allowed yourself to go beyond your traditional boundaries and done something outstanding. Look to those experiences as your proof that you CAN and WILL succeed at anything you put your mind to.
How does this sound? I'm checking my business to-do list right now to see what my next small steps could be to keep things moving forward for me. Are you willing to push your limits a little and figure out what your first small step should be? If you're ready to start moving in the direction of your dreams, consider booking a free Strategy Session with me as one of your first small steps.
Click here now to book a free A to B Strategy Session with me.
With love and inspiration (and a sudden urge to outfit my bike with racks and bags again...),