Out of the Comfort Zone
Have you ever had something up-end you for a bit, and you need to find your "sea legs"? Something that takes you out of your comfort zone, that makes you adjust your thinking?
I sure got out of my comfort zone last week: I was tagged by several people for a 7-day photo challenge. The rules were simple: for seven days straight, post black and white photos of your life, without context. The photos could not feature people.
For some reason, this TERRIFIED me. Kind of silly, right? It's just some photos; it isn't high art, and I'm not going to be judged on it. But hear me out as to why I was scared:
Photography isn't exactly my bailiwick. I'm that person who whips out the phone to take a group selfie to commemorate an occasion, or I might use my phone to take photos of landmarks when I travel, but...I don't know the first thing about composition, lighting, technique, etc. Sometimes, I get lucky because I have a good eye, but it's usually an accident. If you could see all the "rejects" of photos taken on trips--blurry, out of frame, etc.--you'd understand why this was intimidating to me.
And while I have no problem sharing an album of phone snaps from a trip and not worrying the least bit about being judged, for some reason, THIS challenge unnerved me. "I'm not a photographer" kept going through my head over and over and over again.
That kind of self-talk is self-defeating.
I fell prey to "I'm Not A Photographer"-itis for a few days, but then gave myself a pep talk and decided to just do it anyway. I told myself, "The only way you can fail is not to try."
Wouldn't you know: I enjoyed it! I got into it! It didn't take my time or energy much at all, actually. Quick snap with my phone, put a b/w filter on the photo (so easy these days with camera apps), and do a quick upload with some copy/pasted text each day. It really wasn't that big a deal. I'm talking 5 minutes tops, daily.
And...the photos weren't terrible, either. I even got compliments on them. I was pretty surprised! To me, they're just ordinary things: some crochet I've done, a building I see every day, a fortune cookie fortune, a restaurant we like, a spinning wheel, a crosswalk, and a book. (I'll put the snaps below.)
Not high art, right?
Doesn't matter. What does matter, most of all, is it was FUN.
I guess the takeaway here is that getting out of your comfort zone isn't a bad thing at all. It may feel weird, and you may have negative self-talk, but why not try something new or different? You may have to adjust your thinking, or your schedule, or your expectations, but if you don't like it, then just stop doing it. No harm, no foul!
And if you DO end up liking it, well, you may have just found a new hobby or calling in your life! What a shame to limit ourselves from a potential source of soul-enrichment if we talk ourselves out of even trying. I'm actually sad the challenge is over now, which cracks me up given how much trepidation I had, initially.
Comment below and tell me: have you ever accidentally discovered something you enjoy when you were out of your comfort zone?