Archives for posts with tag: comfort zone

We love to talk about whether a year has been “good” or “bad.” (Or is it just me?) The real answer is usually “both.” For purposes of this post, I am only addressing my own progress, or lack thereof.

For the first time, I chose a personal “Word of the Year” for 2013.

Did I live up to it? No and yes.

No, in that I have not done yoga every morning. Or most mornings. Yes, in that I can still kick higher than my head, and have actually done so unsupported by furniture recently. (No guts, no glory.)

No, in that I haven’t posted as regularly to this blog as I intended, nor have I added any visuals. Yes, in that I have posted about more personal topics, and haven’t abandoned the blog. Also, I’ve linked to posts from my Facebook page, and shared posts directly with people I don’t even know, including real, live, published writers. Another yes: I attended WordCamp this fall.

No, in that I have not found a “real” job. Yes, in that I have, with the help of my friends, a new resume, and some ideas on what I would like to do next. Yes, in that I have applied to some interesting jobs, and made it to a phone interview once. I’ve joined a professional group in a field of interest. Yes, in that I am actually telling people I am looking for work.

Yes in that I am reaching out and developing new friendships. Yes in that I have pushed myself far out of my comfort zone by joining Toastmasters, and will be giving my “Icebreaker” speech on January 28th.

I plan to choose another Word of the Year for 2014. I was considering the following: Control, Connect, or Direction. I think now I prefer “Momentum.”

Tonight I kept a promise I made to myself, by attending a meeting of an international group dedicated to self -improvement in leadership and communication.

My plan was to keep a low profile. I’d just check it out. Just showing up was a stretch for me. I am not an organizational person.

The group was fairly small, and very welcoming. I was mildly surprised to be asked whether I’d be okay with offering a brief, impromptu speech. Really? On my first visit? No pressure, I was assured. I gave my host a definite “maybe.” After all, I was there to get past my comfort zone.

Normally, three people offer these short talks during a meeting, but due to holes in the program, there was room for six speakers.  The topic for each speech is revealed after the speaker steps to the podium.

The first member volunteered. Topic:  Who, living or dead, would you invite for dinner and why? I could do that!

A second time guest came forward to take on topic number two: Summer is ending. What do you like about fall?  Yes! I’ve got this!

The call came for topic number three.  I decided that the pressure of waiting to be called  was worse than the pain of just stepping up. I raised my hand.

What can you teach us to do?   Jeez- what do I know how to do? Who knew a voice could do Deer in the Headlights?

I managed to stumble through a minute and 30-some seconds (with only one “um”- They count them!)

The remaining questions were: What is your dream vacation and why? (So many possible answers)  What moment in your life  would you re-live? (The most vivid and crowd-friendly  response would be  watching the Queen Mary 2 cruise  into San Francisco Bay,  our little 20 foot boat bobbing  among  a throng of other crafts of all sizes- what a beautiful and surreal afternoon that was) and : When you were very young, what did you want to do when you grow up? (I have half a blog post on that very topic!)

During the 10 minute break in the meeting, I joked with the member who had asked if I would speak, saying that any of the other questions would have been better for me. He was tremendously gracious about my “speech” and suggested that all of the topics might be challenging to the  person behind the podium.

I have to agree.

Gretchen Rubin, author of  The Happiness Project, suggests that we select one word as our theme for a new year. Until this year, I’ve not taken the trouble. In 2013, my word will be Stretch.

It applies in so many ways: literally, for as I have aged I have gotten increasingly creaky, particularly in the morning. Born  limber,  (I can still kick higher than my head, although now I think it is only responsible to do so with one hand on a chair or other support- not a brag-worthy skill if you break a hip doing it, right?) I want to stay that way as long as possible, and taking a few moments to do some yoga poses every morning can only help.

Stretch applies almost every where else. Right here in this very blog, for instance. I want to post more frequently. I want to take the time to  make my posts more interesting, adding links to other content, and including some of my own photos. This should not be a painful stretch.

Stretch also means trying more and trying harder. It means finishing some projects and starting some new ones. It means reaching out to more people. It means having more fun. It really means leaving my teeny little comfort zone and not focusing on what could go wrong or what other people think,  but on what I want. Because a lot of the time, I don’t really know what that is. 2013 is the year I aim to find out.


George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (

Greggory Miller

Investing for normal people

Moms Demand Action

It's time for gun sense in America.

Spread Positive Vibes. Give Love. Be Happy.


wings and things