The Truth about Comfort Zones

Meghan LawsonWritten by: Meghan Lawson

It’s hard! It’s scary! You will want to retreat!

But it’s worth it.

A few months ago, High AIMS was accepting proposals to give Inspire Talks at their Summer Learning Series. In the style of a Ted Talk, they wanted a few people to share their passion with 500+ participants each day after lunch.

When I saw the call for proposals, I instantly reflected upon which amazing educators I might lure into sharing their magic with us. Two incredible teachers from my district, Meghan Treglia and Stacey Reeder, bravely accepted the invitation.

And as an aside, let me tell you, their presentation did not disappoint.

It turns out, however, that during that same month, I had been doing some stinkin’ thinkin’. Somewhere along the way, in my role as a curriculum coordinator, I had gotten a little too comfortable being the “behind the scenes” girl. I had mastered the art of creating environments for others to collaborate and quietly working out details on the sidelines. In the hustle and bustle of my day-to-day professional services, somehow, someway, I had become all too comfortable with not being seen and not being heard. In fact, I wasn’t feeling very brave at all.

I was feeling small.

In an effort to prove to myself that I could be bold, brave, take risks, use my voice, I quickly sent off a proposal to give an Inspire Talk. And I didn’t give it much thought. For months.

Then, two weeks before the High AIMS Summer Learning Series, I received an email indicating the day and time of my Inspire Talk.

I’m sorry, what? My heart dropped. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling so brave after all. I wanted to crawl back into my cozy, comfort zone. My instinct was to back out. Abort! Abort mission!

But there was this tiny almost inaudible voice nudging me forward. Where was this voice coming from? It was so faint I could barely hear it. I tried to shrug it off and find all of the reasons why I shouldn’t do this. But the voice persisted.

It was my GUT.

And I tried. Believe me, I tried to ignore it like, “New phone, who dis?”

The gut feeling is a real, biological thing. It’s that moment when your emotions have a conversation that you cannot put into words. It’s formally called your intuition. I like to think of my intuition as a brave, warrior princess. She isn’t worried about failing or judgment. She just knows what is right and forgets all else. So, who would say no to her? I knew I couldn’t.

So, I did this thing. I gave this talk.

And I was nervous and sick over it in the days leading up to the event. I practiced and practiced and practiced some more. Then, I marched myself up there and gave this talk. Now, was it the best thing you’ll ever hear? Nope. Was my delivery magnificent in every way? No. Did my technology work perfectly? Not exactly.

But you know what, I don’t really care. Because I had a story of encouragement that I wanted to share with others. And when you have something to say, something that you believe could make the world even just a little bit better, you say it. It’s your duty to say it.

“Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyways.” – Glennon Doyle Melton

Answer the call. Show up anyway.

Meghan Lawson