When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? Recently I stepped out of my comfort zone to make a cake that I have always been afraid to make–an angel food cake. Angel food cake from scratch is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot to making an angel food cake and, in my family, it’s our tradition to have these on birthdays. I was given the task of making the birthday cake for a dual birthday celebration for my parents. Oh, how I was not looking forward to this experience. I consider myself a decent cook but my ability comes to a screeching halt when it comes to baking cakes in general. Angel food cakes in my family are not made from the box. Neither are they bought from the bakery. They’re made from scratch, one egg white by egg white at a time. One drip of yellow in that egg white means you have to start all over. So, I did what I had to do to ensure a successful cake–I asked for help from none other than the experts—the birthday boy and girl themselves. However, as the cake was being made, my mom kept adding to the recipe! And, she didn’t follow the measurements! Now how in the world would I ever be able to make a cake like hers when she didn’t even follow the recipe?! I found myself saying, “We are going to have to do this at least 20 more times before I feel confident in making this cake alone!” Well, my cake did turn out beautiful. It rose. It was light and fluffy and tasted great with homemade boiled icing slathered over it (That icing is no picnic to make either!), looked lovely, and was enjoyed by all.
I did it. Finally. I stepped outside of my comfort zone to try something that was really intimidating to even try. The next time will be easier and the time after that will be even easier and so on until I gain the confidence to make this cake completely on my own and carry on our family’s Angel Food Cake tradition. Stepping outside of our comfort zone is never easy. The fear of failure can grip us. What is it that you are not trying, not doing out of fear? If you are unsure, I think the question we can always ask ourselves to help us figure this out is: What in my life needs to change?
More often than not, trying new things comes with a huge learning curve. That learning curve is softened and much less painful when we have support. Just like my mom and dad gave me the support I needed to successfully pull off their birthday cake, as a trainer, offering my clients the support they need to step out of their comfort zone and make changes that are unfamiliar, scary, and seemingly overwhelming is the most important aspect of my job. If I am doing my job well, my clients won’t be overwhelmed, scared, or afraid of failing. In fact, the opposite will be true. My clients will thrive, gain confidence in themselves and, ultimately, not need me forever.
Doing things that are hard develops our character and makes us stronger. It moves us forward and keeps up from becoming stagnant. Ever heard the saying, “Risk or rust?” Whether it is our health, what we do for a profession, a relationship, or some other area in our lives, we’re not meant to stand still and stay in one place. We’re meant to always be moving forward. Water that stands still develops a film of scum and starts to stink. Water that is clean, pure and has life is water that is continually moving and flowing in a forward direction. If you find yourself stagnant in an area of your life, then it’s time to make a change, to step outside the comfort zone, to do something different. I encourage you to look objectively at yourself and find that place that needs some change. Taking the first step is the hardest part. If it’s too scary to do alone, find a friend or another means of support and take the plunge! Chances are you won’t regret it!