What's the BEST that could happen?
When pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I often find myself asking the opposite of this question: What's the worst that could happen? I think it in a positive sense, meaning, "go for it, what have you got to lose", but in truth, when we think/speak in a negative sense, even if we aren't intending to focus on the negative, that's what our mind does. I had the chance to hear Michelle Poler with Hello Fears speak a couple of weeks ago. She posed this question (and her art below) and asked us to think about how we could flip this question around and focus on the positive: What's the BEST that could happen?
So I have started to catch myself when I think negatively, and instead I try to flip it to ask What's the BEST that could happen? Then, I take it a step further and list out some things that could happen if the steps outside my comfort zone go well. I focus on those possibilities and all of a sudden it's a whole new perspective!
I've made it a priority this year to push myself out of my comfort zone as much as possible. That's truly how we grow as humans, but it's not easy. It's anything but easy, to be honest, and most of the time I do NOT want to do it. But I do, because my mind knows that it's how I'll become a better, stronger person, even if my gut is trying to get me to stay 'safe' and play small.
This week I had the chance to join a stand-up paddle board (SUP) yoga class. Seems easy enough, right? Just show up and get on the board. The strange thing was that even though I was so excited to go do this, it was something I'd never done before with people I didn't know, and as the day drew closer I started to feel some anxious nerves. What if the other people knew how to do SUP yoga? What if I can't balance and fall? What if I fall a LOT? What if I make a fool out of myself? What if it's more challenging than I anticipate? All of these questions ran through my mind at least 20 times per day, and even the morning of the event I was still feeling anxious. Have you ever felt excited for something but super anxious at the same time? It's a little odd, but it happens, and that's exactly how I felt.
But as I said, I'm working on getting out of my comfort zone as much as possible this year, so I paid the money and told friends I was going. When I realized I was feeling anxious I started to flip the negative thoughts and instead think of some positives that could come of the day. What if I made new friends? What if I didn't fall? What if we all fell? What if I actually loved it and was somewhat good at it?
Like most things we worry about, none of my fears were realized. Everyone was extremely warm and welcoming, a friend joined me so I wasn't alone, and we had an absolute BLAST! Turns out I'm not too bad at SUP yoga (not amazing, but not bad) and I really loved being out on the water for most of the day. The surrounding nature was gorgeous and being disconnected from technology and artificial lighting did my mind and spirit good.
At the end of the day as I was still grinning from ear to ear about the whole experience, I remembered the anxiety I was feeling that morning. It was simply fear of the unknown and fear of failure. Had I listened to that, and focused on the 'worst' possible scenarios, I would have missed one of the most energizing experiences I've had in a while.
So I leave you with encouragement to not only step outside your comfort zone this week, but to really think about "What's the BEST that could happen?" when you feel that pull to stay safe. Focus on the positive and I just bet you'll end up having a positively wonderful time!