Like a Fish out of Water: Step out of your comfort zone

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary at times. While staying in touch with the familiar feels safe, facing fears and challenging yourself to try new things always has beautiful rewards that make it worthwhile.

I recently read a book called – The Day the Whale Came (also published under the name Grayson) – written by open water swimmer and endurance athlete, Lynne Cox. The book tells the story of how at the age of 17, while training to swim off the California mainland, Lynne Cox encountered a lost baby grey whale. The baby whale, who she named Grayson, had somehow separated from his mother. In an effort to keep the whale at sea, Lynne ends up spending hours in the ocean and swimming a couple of miles to an oil rig in the deep rough waters, staying with Grayson until he was reunited with his mother.

I loved this sweet story and the picture that she painted of ocean life. I enjoyed the little nuggets of inspiration included in the book as well, as it touches on lessons in endurance, having faith, personal strength and challenging your own limits.

What do fish have to do with stepping out of your comfort zone?

One of the interesting things that Lynne Cox mentions at the start of the book is the grunion run. As a nature loving soul, I was fascinated by it so I did a little research. Grunions are fish with a very unique spawning behaviour. Each year, during Spring and Summer, they swim ashore the South coast of California, during New and Full moons when the tides are high to lay their eggs in the beach sand. They then wiggle their way back to the ocean waters. It is an incredible sight! (See youtube clip here:Grunion Run) This makes for an interesting take on the saying “Like a fish out of water”. I was blown away by the fact that these brave little critters courageously leave the safety of the waters to fulfil their role in sustaining the future of their species. It’s an inspiring demonstration of the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone.

Life constantly challenges you to help you grow. However, since routine and familiarity gives us a sense of emotional security, the fear of change makes us resist it. This puts you at risk of becoming too complacent. But when you push the boundaries and take a few risks from time to time, you gain valuable experiences and inevitably expand your horizons. Stepping out of your safe space sets you life’s journey in motion life and attracts exciting experiences. It invites adventure. And while those adventures may turn into misadventures sometimes, the lessons you learn and the growth spurts that your soul goes through are invaluable.

Lynne Cox’s life story in itself is a one of a truly inspirational trailblazer who has built her legacy around constantly moving beyond the boundaries of comfort and pushing herself to new limits. She was breaking world records from the age of 12, when she did her first long distance open water swim across Catalina Channel with a group of other teenage swimmers. She went on to swim the English Channel, Cook Strait, Bering Strait and Antarctica among many other swimming expeditions. I am so inspired by her determination and achievements as an individual and as a woman as well.

“Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones. We have to break the rules. And we have to discover the sensuality of fear. We need to face it, challenge it, dance with it.”
~ Kyra Davis

What is waiting for you beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone? How can you take one step outside of your safe space today? Start now. Try new things. Do everyday things differently. Take a risk. Break free from restrictions that you have placed on yourself. Allow yourself to expand and become more of who you are. Enjoy the adventures. Learn from the misadventures. The important thing is to live your life, populated it with rich experiences, stretch to your ultimate limits and blaze your own trail in the process.