I heard a phrase a while back, “You’ll only grow as big as the box in which you put yourself.” That one hit me like nothing else could. I don’t know why that phrase resonated with me so deeply in that moment. I mean, I thought that I already knew the basic concept and benefits of getting out of your comfort zone.
But man, it’s so true, right? You put up these walls around you and confine yourself to this little box. It’s cozy in here. It’s comfortable. It’s just right and has everything you need. Sure, you may want more money. Sure, you may want a big opportunity. But this box has everything that will get you by, so why would you chance destroying it and clawing your way out to see what may or may not be out there, outside the walls?
Well, if you’re happy in there - truly happy - then by all means, enjoy your cozy little nook. But if there is something nagging you in the back of your brain or something you day dream about, in the quiet space before you go to sleep when your mind is wandering, you’re going to have to break down that wall, dude. It’s going to be scary and feel really weird. After all, you’ve been used to a certain environment for so long, and our cave brain says, “Hey. It’s safe here. Stay.” But then… everything will stay the same if you do.
I wish there was a magic wand I could wave or a fool-proof guidebook I could spout off to you that gives you step by step instructions on how to achieve your goals without any growing pains, stress, or long periods of time passing by. I had to wrap around my head around the fact that there’s just simply… not.
I had to get used to changing things up, to get used to putting forth major effort into expanding my mindset and changing certain habits, and then doing that over and over and over. I found that I would be a on a roll, breaking out of my comfort zone and doin’ thangs, opportunities were coming my way and I was killin’ it! Then I would get complacent. I thought I had it all figured out. I thought the ball I started rolling would continue to roll forever. But then it would lose momentum and I’d be left wondering why the heck my progress had slowed down. Well, I’ll tell you why. Because it was time to build a new box.
When you find yourself stuck in an achievement limbo, take a look around you. Have you become complacent and cozy in this new nook you’ve built for yourself? It can happen so quickly that you didn’t even realize you were done building this new nook! “Give me a second!” you might say. “I’m just now hanging up some photos!” But hey, man. If you feel stuck already, you know what it’s time to do. Keep moving it along. Keep taking chances. Keep taking those leaps that terrify you. If you have no idea how you could possibly grow any more, take a deep breath in a quiet zone and listen to your inner voice telling you what the next step is. If something pops into your head, your cave brain may immediately try to shut it down. Don’t pay attention to your safe-zone-loving cave brain. It doesn’t want you to grow because growth can be uncomfortable. Follow what that inner voice says and see where it leads you, and embrace the fact that nothing amazing comes from staying the same place.
When I took the leap to go full time with freelancing, I was terrified. I could stay at my current job with a pretty steady paycheck, working for someone else and not having to worry about anything more than selling makeup, or I could take this huge jump and put to use every ounce of faith I had, and do freelance work full time. Obviously, I chose the latter, and it’s been the best decision I ever made. Stressful? Oh, absolutely. Worth the stress? Oh. Abso-freakin’-lutely. Every time I have made the decision to break down my little box in the hopes of finding something bigger, it’s worked out. It hasn’t “worked out” in the sense that it’s been super easy and smooth sailing, but looking back in hindsight, I can tell you that everything has worked out in the way I needed. Don’t let fear or discomfort stop you from going out and getting your goal. Break out of your box.