Expand Your Comfort Zone

Many people make resolutions at the start of a new year, but I've never really been too keen on doing that. Maybe it's because it feels cliché, or maybe it's because January doesn't feel like a very inspiring time to make changes (the real "new year" always starts in September during back-to-school time if you ask me), but I've never really made or stuck to any resolutions in the past.

I did, however, make a little agreement with myself to continue to do more things that fall outside of my comfort zone. The biggest thing was starting PSN Creative last year, but since then I've also been actively attempting to push myself to do things that are a little scary or that I've been too insecure to try in the past. 

For example, I've started taking a weekly dance class with a friend. I had been wanting to find some physical activity that wasn't going to the gym for quite some time, and finally made the decision to take a class. Was I worried about looking stupid? Yes. Did I worry that I wouldn't be able to keep up or learn the moves? Of course. Was I  pre-embarrassed to tell people that I was taking a dance class? Most definitely. But, I'm doing it anyway because I decided that worrying about what other people would think of it pales in comparison to the happiness and fulfillment doing it would bring me. Two classes in and I'm so happy I started.

Towards the end of 2017 I was asked to be a "model" for a creative networking event called Locations that brings photographers, designers, stylists, and other creatives together to collaborate and cross-pollinate each other's work. Although I have a love for selfies, I in no way consider myself to be a model and was flattered at the thought of someone wanting me to show up in that way. So, despite having deep insecurities about doing it, I decided to put myself out there and go for it.  Do I have a career in modeling? Certainly not, but I had fun and got to connect with other creative and talented people in my city that I likely would never have had the chance to interact with otherwise.

OK, so what's the point in all of this other than to self-congratulate for doing things that seem pretty easy to do? The point is to remind myself—and anyone reading this—that when you have an idea for something new, different, creative, risky, or outside of the norm you've got to squash the negative comments or "but what if..?" feelings that will inevitably creep up and try to talk you out of doing the thing you were excited about.

Will someone think it's absurd for a 35-year-old man to take a hip hop dance class? Probably. Will someone see the photos of me from Locations and think I'm a totally disgusting troll human or a raging narcissist? I wouldn't be surprised in the least. But if I/we only do things because we know we'll be successful at them, or because other people have deemed them acceptable, we are denying ourselves the chance to experience new things or possibly discover a love or talent for something that makes us happy.

- Pat