“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
We all have our comfort zones. A comfort zone is a place which is completely familiar and makes you feel safe and secure. Having a safe harbor to return to allows us to take more risks and have new experience.
However, if we aren’t careful we can create intangible comfort zones, where everything is familiar and we maintain a comfortable level, never stretching, never growing in our skills, experiences and creativity
There are many different things you can do as a family that will expand your creative comfort zone. It also teaches your kids that trying new things and sharing new experience is a fantastic part of life!
Expanding Your Child’s Physical Comfort Zone:
It is especially important for younger children to expand their comfort zone. You can give them the tools they need as they stray away from the nest and head off to day-care, school or even just a night at Grandma’s.
- Embracing adventure – If you are excited, it is easier for your child to be excited too. When expanding your physical comfort zone, point out all the great things about a new place.
- Make it familiar – Take the time to explore a new with your child. Poke around, ask questions, find out where all the essentials (such as the bathroom) are. Then once they are settled get them engaged with another person or activity and leave. A new place can be scary for a child so take the time to scope it out – your child and care giver will thank you!
- Find a friend – There is strength and safety in numbers. Whether it is a new school friend, teacher or care giver, finding a support for your child is a great way to make them feel at ease and easily adapt to a new situation. It also gives you a chance to learn more about the people who are interacting with your child.
- A piece of home – have a little piece of home ready to take out into the world. This is a great security for a child. A picture of home or family, a favorite stuffed animal or whatever it is your child loves.
Expanding Mental Comfort Zones:
The fear of failure is one thing that keeps our skills and desire to learn within our comfort zone. This is one area we can learn a lot from our kids. If a child who is learning to walk falls, he gets up and tries again, and again. They do not worry that they are taking too long to learn it, they are not worried what other people might think of them, the possibility of failure doesn’t occur to them.
What would you do, experience, or learn if you were not scared of failure? An easy way to do this is asks you what scares you to death. Many people are more scared of public speaking then death. Sounds like a great place to start!
Find a class, learn a skill, do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Once you realize most fear is in your head you can expand your comfort zone exponentially. Me, I’m signing up for a home improvement and power tools course. I’ll keep you posted!
You can also encourage you children to do and learn things they are scared of, lead by example and encourage your kids to get involved too. Build family activities around facing your fears together.
Expanding Creative Comfort Zones:
We all have creative areas that we believe we are simply no good in. This is a very limiting belief. I have many creative areas I am interested in, but believe myself to be hopeless. Many of these beliefs where formed in my school years, and it took becoming an adult, gaining some perspective and just plunging into it to discover that I was staying in my creative comfort zone and missing out on some great experiences.
What creative areas do you believe you are no good in that you would you like to explore?
Have an open line of communication with your kids. Ask about hobbies, interests and creative attempts. Be wary of anyone telling your child they are “no good” at something. Be aware of the feedback you give your children regarding their creative attempts. Sometimes the slightest offhand comment from an adult can stifle a child’s creativity and make them unwilling to venture out of their comfort zones.
Plucking up the courage to step outside your comfort zone can lead to many surprising and engaging experiences. Why not try as Mark Twain suggests and “Sail away from the safe harbor. ..Explore. Dream. Discover.”
How to do expand your comfort zones? Or help your kids expand theirs? Please post below and inspire us.