Black Mental Health

Stepping Outside of Our Comfort Zone

January 24, 2018

Sometimes there are things that we really want out of life, but we are too afraid to go after it. I believe it was Will Smith who said that he realized that “the best things in life are on the other side of fear.” One of the lessons that I have experienced over the last year or so, is that to gain something, you have to lose something; on the flip side, to have something different, you have to do something different.

For many of us, there are things that we want to achieve, whether in our personal lives or professional lives, but we go after these goals from a scarcity mindset. That means that we focus on all the things we do not have, all the things we do not know, all the things that we think must happen before we go after this goal. And if we approach our goals from this mindset, we will have talked ourselves out of the urge, the desire, and the energy that we had to go after this goal. The truth is that in pursuing a desire or a goal, there will always be a chasm between us and that goal. This is where the growth happens. This chasm is the journey. This chasm is the difference of the person you were before you began pursuing your goal and the person you will become after reaching your goal. Every goal goes through this process. The journey is where we develop ourselves, develop our skills, develop our knowledge, and practice our skills and revise them.

Fear will have us focusing on all the reasons why we cannot achieve our goals. Please also understand that fear can come in the form of shame as well. We can shame ourselves into thinking: “Who are we to deserve this thing?” We can tell ourselves all the things wrong with us and why we are not deserving. We can accept what others tell us about all the reasons why we cannot do something. We can let roles and norms outside of us dictate what should be standard and what should not be. Or we can listen to that tiny voice inside of us that is begging to be heard. We can listen to that yearning inside of us to make a change and to step outside of our comfort zone and to try something new.

New Jersey Counseling Association Conference

In this picture, I am presenting with my colleagues at the New Jersey Counseling Association (NCJA) 2017 Fall Multicultural Conference. Sure, I have done many presentations throughout undergraduate and graduate school, but I have not presented in front of my peers and professionals who have been in this industry for longer than I have. Of course, fear was present; but, I thought about the fact that this opportunity meant more to me than the fear of presenting and making a mistake. I tell myself and my clients that we have to consider which one means more to us: the fear we face when trying something new or the feeling of regret that will arise when we let fear win by passing up opportunities that we wanted to take a chance on.

Let us remember that change does not come when we are comfortable. The basic ebb and flow of life shows us that change is the most basic principle of life. We have no control over this. We only control how we respond to the change. Are we brave enough to take a chance on ourselves? We cannot wait on our fear to end because fear will always be present. As soon as one fear is conquered, five more will take its place. So discomfort finds us when it is time to make a change; whether it is that feeling in the pit of our stomachs, the nagging thought that won’t leave us alone, that thing that we passed on that has regret following us around, discomfort finds us in many different ways. Let us all embrace courage so that we can push fear to the back burner so that we can boldly go after our desires and goals.


P.S. – This picture was given to me, and I apologize as I know that it does not have the best quality. However, this was an important milestone in my career which I wanted to share.

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