One of my long-term goals has been to have a story published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. In order to achieve this, I would regularly check their website for upcoming titles I could submit to.
I would find a suitable topic, write something, second guess myself and finally step out of my comfort zone to actually submit it.
After several warm-up attempts, also known as submissions that didn’t make the cut, I came up with the right story for the right book.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone was the perfect place to tell of an experience I’d had with my granddaughter, Faith.
For this fun-loving girl’s nineteenth birthday, I suggested the two of us go on a water-water rafting trip. It sounded like fun and we were both excited as we made our plans. Little did I know the fear this would induce and how I would react to it.
What happened? My story, titled I Feared for My Life, can be found in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone.
The book released this week, and can be ordered from Amazon. You can also get a signed copy directly from me!
I’m thrilled to be a contributor to this amazing book. I had no idea that fighting fear and getting out of my comfort zone could also help me achieve one of my dreams.
So, when you have the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, my advice is to just do it! The results could lead to more than you expected.
Something as simple as a walk in different surroundings caused me to reflect on the journey of life.
I left our campsite and headed to the wide, paved walkway I’d taken the previous day. This was a safe, predictable route, and I had confidence in where I was and how to find my way.
Set on a slight rise, I was able to have a good view of my surroundings. Off to one side I could see streets and houses. On the other was a river which disappeared into a forested area.
My goal was not a destination, but exercise and enjoyment. Was predictable was enough or did I want more?
I made a decision and headed for the trees. On the heels of that decision came another. Before me were several paths, leading in different directions. Which one should I choose?
Since the area was unfamiliar, I chose the one running parallel to the one I’d come from. With the paved walkway in sight, I wouldn’t get disoriented or lost.
I thought of a sign I’d seen earlier that said Adventure Awaits. What kind of adventure did I want this morning? Was it one to keep me feeling safe and secure or one to help me experience something new?
More choices of paths presented themselves. I decided to explore the unknown and ventured deeper into the woods.
My first obstacle came in the form of a large tree, fallen across my path. I could turn back, find a way around it, or climb over. Feeling quite pleased with myself, I chose the latter.
The next bend caused me to catch my breath in awe. Silvery green leaves glimmered on both sides and in front of me. I couldn’t even see the path ahead until I moved forward. This beauty would have been missed if I’d turned back at the first challenge I faced.
After a few twists and turns, I came to a steep hill. Could I climb it? Yes, but it would take me back to the main walkway and I hadn’t finished exploring. I turned and headed in the opposite direction.
Every fork in the path (and they were frequent), caused me to make another decision. So many options were available. I followed my instincts, knowing if it didn’t work out, I could go back and alter my route.
A clearing ahead led me to a large, flat area beside the river. I took time to savor the vision of trees from the opposite bank, reflected in the calm, crystal clear water. My body and mind refreshed; I followed the river until I reached the bank taking me back to the main walkway.
As I returned to my campsite, I reflected on the times I’ve struggled over which path my life should take. Some have given me the security of familiarity. Others have taken me over more scenic routes. There are also the ones that provided challenges, thrills and excitement. Often, these paths intersected at unexpected places.
Every path I’ve taken, even the ones I thought were mistakes, have led me to where and who I am today. They all served a purpose. I am aware that in order to keep moving forward, there will be more decisions ahead. It’s my choice to either make safe, predictable ones or explore new possibilities.