Out of comfort zoneLast week I was in NYC with my business coach and our mastermind group. Every 3 months we get together to connect, share, learn and grow our businesses and ourselves. (As one of my mentors says “you’ll only ever grow your business as big as you grow yourself because your business is a reflection of you”). We spend 2 1/2 days shining the light of awareness on the areas of our businesses that are working (and celebrating) as well as the things that are not working or could be working better (and finding solutions). There is also always some fun activity that allows us to play, be creative and bond as a group.

It is mentally stimulating, exciting, terrifying and exhausting all at the same time! It’s scary to be vulnerable (but that’s the only way we find out we are not the only ones who feel the way we do).

It is a usually a hassle to go, requiring an investment of my time, energy and money (resources I could be channeling elsewhere).

It requires choosing to take time away from my family and my business, schlepping to NYC on the train and subways.

It would be so much easier not to go, to stay in the comfort and safety of the status quo (if it weren’t for the fact that eventually it becomes unbearably confining and uncomfortable for me). I’ve learned that I thrive on the powerful growth and expansion that are the reward of being willing to make these choices and step out of my comfort zone.

One of the best things about being in this group of entrepreneurs is connecting with people of like mind who are heading in the same direction I am. Desiring similar things. Taking the same kind of risks I am. They understand my challenges, my fears, what it took to achieve the things I’ve accomplished. I love feeling connected and being reminded that I’m not the only one who is challenged, who throws tantrums when things don’t work the way I want, or who has failures. I love being supported, called on my b.s., brainstorming new ideas and having access to different perspectives and points of view. It always shakes things up for me, stretches my boundaries and opens me up to new possibilities.

There is always a risk involved in trying new things. You may enjoy it or you may not. It can go either way, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Our evolution is inevitable, so I’m learning to lean into fear and let go of expectations so I can just let each experience be what it is. I can choose to use each one as an opportunity to celebrate, learn and/or grow. What’s amazing is seeing that as I shift and expand, the people in the “inner circle of my life” – my clients, my family, my close friends – inevitably do too! Without me “doing” anything. How cool is that! No preaching, judging, cajoling, criticizing or manipulating necessary. Just me following my “feel good” and receiving abundantly as I share my gifts. This is a very different concept for most of us, particularly women: “As I serve myself others benefit too”, but I find it’s certainly an easier and more fun way to change the world.

So where are you possibly resisting your own growth and expansion by not opening up to new experiences? By not being willing to feel the discomfort of stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something unfamiliar? By not allowing yourself to risk being open and vulnerable? To embrace change?

What if you being willing to change your world is exactly how you will help to change the world? Would you be willing?

Go ahead. Step out. I dare you!

It doesn’t have to be a giant step. A baby step will do…

Are you ready to Unleash your most Authentic Self?