We all have comfort zones.
We all have those places we retreat to or that we like to snuggle up in that are familiar, comfortable, expected. We have comfort zones in our lives where we can operate on auto-pilot, and get along.
Of course, sometimes these comfort zones, while comfortable, are unsatisfactory. You can be in that relationship that does not thrill you, work that job that pays the bills but does not stimulate your mind, stay in that city you’ve lived in for the past ten years but bores you, etc.
Sometimes it’s easier to just go with it. There are enough matters for me to wrap my mind around than to have to take the challenge and do the things.
If I am going to grow as a writer, and if I want to be a bestselling author, so long as I choose to self-publish, I also have to self-promote.
There are aspects of self-promotion that come easily to me. I can write press releases and e mails and tweets and post to Facebook and G+ until the cows come home. These often go to the nameless faceless masses, so I have no issues with that.
However, when it comes time to call the venue, to put myself really truly out there, I am forced out of my comfort zone. Crap, now I have to e mail a very specific person and sell myself. Or worse, I have got to call them then.
Anybody who has met me might find this rather funny. I mean, I have been known to talk a whole bunch. Lots and lots. I am a verbose person, and I do not seem all that shy. And I am not that shy…if you know me, and more importantly if I know you.
Deep down, I am almost painfully shy. No, really, it’s true. Twenty-five years in the SCA, and time on stage both in High School and College helped me to create an extrovert. And, what do you know, this broke me out of my comfort zone.
Part of my concern is the impression I am going to make. This is where I need to be much more diligent about recalling The Four Agreements. The second is “Don’t take anything personally.” While I need to sell myself to some degree, rejections and anything beyond that are not actually a personal affront. They are not judging ME, they are reflecting on my request to promote my work.
This has been an interesting comfort zone issue I have had for a while. I used to say that I could, at will, sell a drowning man a glass of water. In certain circumstances, this has proven to be mostly true. BUT, when it comes to the cold call or the blind e mail, and when it is more personal, I want to curl up under the blanket and not deal.
I don’t know when I became so shy about calls, and when I got so uncomfortable sending out unsolicited e mails. It might be, in part, from semi-successful sales gigs over the years, and in part it might be from the two or three dozen rejections I received from agents before I decided to self-publish.
I am pretty certain that every single self-help and holistic book I have read or listened to, be it The Secret or You are a Badass or The Map or anything by Tony Robbins or Paulo Coelho makes it very clear that, to manifest the things desired, it’s necessary to step out of your comfort zone. Period.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ― Neale Donald Walsch.
What does this mean? This means that in order to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and really live life on your own terms, you HAVE to step away from your comfort zones. Otherwise, you will continue to live in mediocrity, and wonder why you are not accomplishing goals.
It is called a comfort zone because it is comfortable. A huge part of what we want in life, a part of what we deem as happiness, is in fact comfort. Society says that we need to have x, y and z, and for many that’s sufficient. But for anyone that wants more, that wants to break from the norm like I want to do, x, y, and z don’t satisfy, and despite being in a comfort zone, I have to step away.
What do I have to do to get out of my comfort zone? Act. I have to take intentional action in order to get where I want to go, to promote my work further, and to get myself out there so as to generate more sales and become the bestselling author I believe I can be.
I took a step in this direction this week. I sent out six e mails, three to bookstores and three to libraries, to find out about both getting my books into them, and getting myself set-up to make a presentation, maybe do a reading and a signing, and take this to the next level.
There is nothing wrong with my life currently. I have a lot of amazing things and people in my life for which I am deeply grateful. But I want something else, something more, and I can see what I have to do in order to have it.
I’ve been uncomfortable before. A little discomfort is a small price to pay to create the life I want to live. I have done this before, and without a doubt can do it again.
One more step across the bridge between the life I have now, and the life I want to have now. Forwards is the only acceptable direction. Thank you for crossing the bridges between my worlds with me!
This is the eleventh entry of my personal journey, the Crossing the Bridges series. My collectively published writing can be found here.