The comfort zone can easily be mistaken as a place of safety, but the greatest rewards await just beyond internalized walls. The natural tendency to cling to familiarity isn’t a reputable safety net. In fact, it holds people back. Pushing against the barriers of the comfort zone is uncomfortable, but the ability to lean into discomfort wholeheartedly will result in freedom.

Choosing to stay within the limits of the comfort zone comes from a place of deep fear. Perhaps it’s the fear of failure, embarrassment, or simply not being enough. Accessing the intrinsic spark of bravery within oneself, and doing something that stretches beyond the levels of comfort, is a direct and authoritative method of overcoming the fear that lies beyond the comfort zone. Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid, it means being afraid and doing it anyways. It doesn’t matter if the courageous self is shaking and quivering on the inside. All that matters is that contact with courage took place.

I know that if I stray from my comfort zone, I’ll reap benefits. That being said, breaking through my barriers isn’t something that I’d necessary call graceful or poised. I am a naturally shy and introverted person, so stepping outside my comfort zone challenges and often frightens me. I’ve experienced many failures and I am certain that I will experience many more. The reason I keep striving to challenge myself is because with each new struggle I face, I become stronger. I practice accessing the brave parts of myself like I’m lifting gallantry weights, and every rep is making my spirit firm with determination.

For myself, the ultimate opportunity to face my fears is while I’m mountain climbing. I love being in the mountains and yearn for their power and resoluteness when I’m not near them. I love seclusion. I love the feeling of being so far away, yet completely connected and in perfect rhythm with the natural world around me. This is a feeling I wouldn’t be willing to go without. Funnily enough, I have a pretty severe fear of heights, and exposure on a mountain really freaks me out.  Pushing back on the forces of my comfort zone is a necessary practice in order to achieve one of my passions. I’ve learnt that it can be done with persistence, patience, and compassion for myself and my progress.

Hone-in on bravery and push outside the comfort zone. Take baby steps and congratulate yourself along the way. Bravery is not the absence of fear, but its total embracement.