There is a happy little place in all our hearts that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We feel safe. Possibly mildly confident in our complacency. No fears of failure. Just happy contentment. This is also referred to as stagnant or comfort zone. Finding and having a happy place or comfort zone, can be quite wonderful.
However, if you never leave that place of safety, will you ever grow?
Will you ever find true excitement or happiness?
By challenging yourself or taking risks, you push yourself to learn, grow, become more successful and more confident. Sure, you may find failure along the way, but without failure, do you ever really learn how to become a better you?
If you never try to accomplish your dreams, how will you know they were more than just illusions? If you are thinking to yourself of different reasons why you can’t, excuses are no reason to not even try.
Sometimes our lowliest times bring about our greatest achievements.
Story of Growth
Let’s take a story you have probably all heard. It’s a story of loss, betrayal, depression, poverty, rejection, hope, fortitude, determination, strength, success and growth.
It was during a ride to work that a young ladies train was delayed for 4 hours, that 3 beloved friends were brought to life. During the next 6 months, this young woman worked on writing the stories of these 3 characters, when the unthinkable happened. At the age of 25, she lost her mother.
Needing a change of scenery, she moved to Portugal, taught English, married, miscarried her first child, had a daughter and due to a less than happy 13-month marriage, she divorced. With her infant daughter in tow and 3 finished chapters of her dream, she moved to Scotland to be closer to her sister. Jobless, penniless and living on welfare, she went through a terrible depression, had thoughts of suicide and continued to write.
Rejection letter after rejection letter came in the mail, until one day in 1997, she received her first acceptance letter. Due to the fact the target audience of her new book were young boys, the publishers requested she only use the first initial of her name, since a woman author was less appealing. She also decided to include the letter K as her middle initial in honor of her grandmother.
If you haven’t figured out who our dreamer is, she is now estimated to be worth about 1 billion dollars, her beloved series of 7 books has sold over 450 million copies and won numerous awards, been made into movies and graces the fabric of someone’s very special Bunkie Bag.
The lady who never stopped, who looked adversity in the eyes and said, “f you”, is none other than JK Rowling, the author of Harry Potter.
Take the Steps Into the Unknown
Dreams and goals come in many different shapes and sizes. From J.K. Rowling wanting to publish a book, to starting a business, being on a Design Team, finding an uninterrupted hour to read or time to just relax. Regardless of size, they all have one thing in common. You. Your dreams, your hopes.
Your growth starts with you.
It starts with swallowing your fear of failure, removing the excuses you have insulated yourself in and it ends with you taking that first step into the unknown.
Invest In Yourself and Your Dreams
In December 2016, several women had the same dream; to one day be on a Design Team. They weren’t quite sure how to do it or where to start, but they took a step in the right direction by signing up for an online class, How to Be on a Design Team. During the class, these ladies started their first blogs, worked on the quality of their cards, improved their photography skills and when they were feeling more confident in their cards, they applied to design teams.
It was during this time, that these ladies became friends in the private Facebook Group for the class they were taking. They were supportive of each other’s work, cheered each other on when they applied for teams, gave feedback on each other’s blogs and 5 months later, they wanted to expand their knowledge even further. With absolutely zero experience, Teresa DeWitt-Pierce, suggested to the group that they should do a blog hop. For those of you who have never participated or organized a hop, they are a ton of work. But these amazing women, stepped out of their comfort zones.
Not only did Teresa, Mary Kay, Vicki, Sarah, Lisa and Marcia organize and participate in a hop, they pulled together over $200 in prizes to giveaway! But it doesn’t stop there, after the hop, Teresa scheduled a call to discuss what they learned. Not because they had to, but because they wanted to learn and grow!
They are investing the time into themselves and their dreams.
They are not giving up when things don’t go the way they had hoped. Instead, they learn from it, better themselves and continue to move forward.
It doesn’t matter if you are JK Rowling or the ladies who dream of being on a design team. If you want it badly enough, go after it. Find out what you need to do, take chances, dedicate yourself, build a support group and continue to grow your dreams.
If you never step out of your comfort zone, you’ll never get to where you want to be.
Can you imagine if JK Rowling put down her pen and paper after her mother died?
Your Growth Affects Others
What would have happened to the stamping world if Iliana stopped making the MISTI’s because the work of manufacturing them herself was too great? What friendships would not have happened? My grandmother would probably not be making as many cards for the people in her church. There would be no Stamp Junkies. My husband would not have Lydia to talk to about crazy cat stories.
Let’s take a minute to talk about Iliana’s journey. Here is a woman who just wanted a faster way to make Christmas cards for her church. So, while her husband was away on a business trip, she designed a tool to make repeat stamping easier. Multiple trips to Lowe’s and a bit of Washi Tape later, she had the very first MISTI in hand. She loved her little tool and thought maybe a few other stampers would like it as well. Her husband agreed to spend a little bit of money so Iliana could hand make 50 and see if they would sell.
I remember those first releases and her little release of 50 MISTI’s were gone in mere minutes. Needless to say, people LOVED them. Not only did they make stamping easier, but it revitalized the stamping industry. Crafters who weren’t stamping anymore, started again. People with arthritis could use the MISTI pain free, my mother, who can’t stamp straight to save her life, now enjoys it. Iliana and the MISTI have done more for this industry than people understand, realize or give her credit for.
And if you think it was a simple success, think again. Iliana not only had to deal with criticism from people online and cyber bullies cowering behind a computer screen, she had to learn how to run a business, how to get a patent for her MISTI. Companies were blatantly stealing her design, some even going so far as to call it a MUSTI. Really? MUSTI? I have seen people get upset because a fellow crafter CASED one of their cards and didn’t give them credit. Imagine how Iliana felt to have her invention being copied and then ridiculed for standing up for herself. Most of us would have curled up into little balls in the fetal position and went into full hysterical sobbing with mandatory daily therapy sessions from the hate she endured.
But not Iliana. She continued to move forward, she believed in the MISTI, in herself and in the people who LOVED the MISTI. She found a manufacturer so she didn’t have to continue to make them by hand. In 2016, the MISTI won CHA’s Hot Product Award and finally, after all the hard work, copycats and haters, the patent came through in April of this year.
Iliana is proof that anyone with an idea, passion, drive, determination, with a little bit of honey badger mixed in, can achieve a dream.
She could have just made the Christmas cards “the old fashion” way, but she didn’t. She stepped out of her comfort zone, she experimented, learned, persevered and continues to grow.
Never Give Up
I, for one, find inspiration in all of these ladies and I hope that you find the motivation to get out of your comfort zone and grow your dream. Whatever it may be, starting a business, launching a podcast, being on a design team, designing stamps, becoming an author or moving to a new state and starting over. Chase after your dream and don’t give up. Work hard, push on and keep growing.
What Will You Do?
As you look at your life, your goals and your dreams, what do you want to accomplish?
What is holding you back from starting the process or finishing it?
How will you find the inspiration and strength to pursue your dreams?
When will you begin?
Instead of asking the questions, start answering them. Taking the first step is as simple as writing it down on paper or leave us a comment in our blog. Tell me what your goal is. Take the first step. Make it real and own your dreams. Swallow your fear of failure and make it happen!
*If you would like to listen to the podcast on Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone, you can find it here.