Out of the comfort zone : Featuring Anna Chen
Out of the comfort zone : The Interview series
I decided to dive deeper in the topic of our comfort zone by interviewing some of the most inspiring people I met personally or got inspired online because of their courage of living a life they love and that challenges their comfort zone daily. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did chatting with them!
First of all, happy first day of March!! February went by so quickly , but I'm excited to move towards spring and a bit more of sun here in Paris ( even if today is cold and rainy .... well, let's hope for tomorrow)
Anyways the reason I'm writing today is not only to talk about the Parisian weather but most importantly to share with you a new and exciting project, a new interview series especially dedicated to the theme of getting out of the comfort zone.
In February I shared a bit of my own story and some tips to start your way to take the leap and live a more fulfilled life, but I wanted to hear the opinion and experience of some amazing people I met on my path.
My first guest is the amazing woman and incredible Parisian Life Coach, Anna Chen, which has been an inspiration for me since I met her for the first time last July ( wow time flies!!)
From the moment we connected online for the first time we clicked immediately, because we share the same passion for living out loud the life of our dreams and helping others do the same.
It's actually thanks to Anna's support and encouragement that I've decided to become a Life Coach as well, and we are close friends since then, and we also travelled together to London last month wondering around healthy cafes, book and crystal shops, yoga studios and just enjoying London ( ah what a bliss!)
I have asked Anna a few questions about what getting out of her comfort zone means for her, and she shared so much goodness and incredible wisdom that you will end up reading full of courage and ready to take the next step!
So, get comfortable and grab a cup of tea and enjoy her very inspiring words :
What is your definition of getting out of your comfort zone?
First before talking about getting out of the comfort zone, I needed to define the comfort zone.
It is what is known, what is safe, what you have always done, what you feel capable of doing…
In self development, we talk a lot about getting out of the comfort zone. There’s nothing wrong about being in the comfort zone. It is ok to be in there. It’s where we spend the most time in our lives.
Out of the comfort zone is scary, unknown and unfamiliar. After saying that, I would not want to get out there lol. We need a strong reason to get out.
But why getting out of the comfort zone then ?
Somehow with time as life unfolds, the comfort zone that is so safe and known might feels a bit tight, small and low profile. You want something more fulfilling, more exciting, bigger, something that resonates with you. Something that is worth being scared for.
Your intuition tells you that your dreams of a happy and fulfilled life is not in the comfort zone but somewhere way further beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone.
Getting out of the comfort is about bringing along your courage to put one feet after another on the path towards your dreams, believing that your dreams is beyond your comfort zone, trusting that you are going in the right direction.
The magic of the comfort zone is that it expands.
Imagine that outside, it’s dark. As soon as you put one feet out, it lights up with your unique light. Step after step, you expand, you grow your soul, your confidence, your possibilities, your experience and your life. Your comfort zone grows with you.
But each time, it is going to be a scary step in the dark.
Is there something you did in the past that looked very brave from the outside, but it was actually "comfortable" for you?
My family has always told me that I was different. In their eyes, I don’t think they meant in a good way. Because I was the first kid to be born in France and I have never lived in China. I was just different. I couldn’t understand their tradition and think like them.
So I took that belief everywhere. I just thought differently. I have my own opinion, my own beliefs.
When everybody choose to pick sides in a debate or give in a popular belief, in my case I follow my lead, my own opinion. I choose to step out of the crowd. It is ingrained in me that I don’t like to be a follower.
For others, it might seem very brave and out of the comfort zone to say the opposite of what everybody thinks. For me it’s vitale.
I always listen to what lies within. I just can’t bear it to be a follower. I prefer to stand alone thinking what I’m thinking than to follow. I suffocate when I am bound by other’s opinion or other’s rules.
When is the last time you did something out of your comfort zone? What was it?
My biggest step out of the comfort zone was the last year when I quit my corporate job to become a life coach. Since then every step is a step ouf of the comfort zone. For me every step in the pursuit of my dream is a step out of the comfort zone.
My very last thing is setting a webinar ! I’ve never done that. I’m in the planning phase. It is already quite uncomfortable just imagining it :)
Do you have some rituals / routines helping you build up courage in these moments ?
Usually my intuition plants a seed in me and inspire me to take an action. It is actually something really not easy for me. It might take quite some time before I step out of the comfort zone.
I want to make sure I really want to do it. I do a check up with myself. I’ve been lost sometimes because I did things for the wrong reason.
- First step: I connect to a strong reason, a strong why, something that truly resonates within me, something that is worth going out of the comfort zone. Otherwise, I won’t be able to carry through my action.
- Second step: I test my determination and my excitement with time. I let it process within me and see how I feel about it as time goes by. I let the inspiration/excitement grow or fade. It is a sign for me if I am really motivated or not.
From there, 2 possibilities: My inspiration either grows more with time. I know that I will end up doing it. My inspiration fades, because either the idea didn’t truly resonate with me, either I let the momentum pass.
- Third step: tell others about your intention to get support or to hold yourself accountable for your actions.
- Last step: I set a deadline to act upon it.
As I get closer to the deadline, I then prepare to jump.
I close my eyes, just jump and play full out. This is where, I feel the cold sweat in my back. I drop the thing and see how it goes. I have the trust that it will go well and I have the ressources to manage it whatever happens.
The whole process is guided by my intuition. As I described, it seems like a process but it happens very naturally. It can take either weeks of seconds.
What are you secretly scared about? Something that may seem small in your daily life, but you know it would make a big difference in your life?
What I’m secretly scared about is to make connection with people. It sounds silly. But making the first step to connect with someone, to suggest to go out and have fun, to catch up, to send a sms, call someone out of the blue is very hard for me. I feel quite vulnerable. I know it’s nothing and it’s so easy for most of people. But for me it’s a big deal.
So with time, I’ve end up being friends with people who made the first step. I didn’t keep in touch with people I appreciate.
That would totally change my life if this was in my comfort zone. I would catch up more easily and have more friends.
In the last couple of years you completely changed your life, you're now a rising star in the personal development in Paris and you did a lot of things out of your comfort zone. What is the step you're most proud of so far? And what was the motivation to finally take the leap?
I’m blushing when you say rising star :)
The step I’m the most proud is quitting my corporate job. It was my personal Everest. It felt it was like a huge unclimbable mountain for me. I didn’t like my job but at the same time I was so scared to lose it . It was my biggest and hardest step of out of my comfort these last years.
With this step, I said no to that scheme where you are supposed to make money with a corporate job, where you are supposed to buy an apartment and raise 2 kids, go on vacation 5 weeks a year. I was running in a rat wheel believing that it would bring me happiness. But I was luring myself. My job was stressing so much It made me terribly sick. I got conscious that I was making myself sick, stressing myself and self destroying by doing something that wasn’t meant for me.
I had an inner knowing that I had to start listening to my heart and do what I love. I couldn't continuously look for external approval and listen living by others rule. For the first time of my life, I wanted to enjoy, find happiness in what I do and allowed myself to pursue that. That is my motivation.
It was a call stronger than ever. That call has always been there but I’ve never allowed myself to truly listen to it. That call you have it too in your heart telling that you are not supposed to live by others rules, you will not find happiness by climbing the social ladder.
It took me several years to dare deciding to climb that my Everest, my mountain of fear. And once I was at the top of the mountain. I’ve decided to jump, let go that world and trust that everything would be fine.
Wow! What a ride!! I'm personally feeling so inspired by Anna's personal story and incredible wisdom, as I do every time I chat with her over a cup of tea :-)
In particular I loved her image of the comfort zone the 4-steps process she shared and I'm gonna try it on myself, especially the last two steps of making your commitment public and set a deadline, that's powerful!
Now it's your turn : What were the highlight of this interview for you? Will you apply any of these tips in the near future? I really hope so, it will change your life!
With love and light,
Something more about our guest :
Anna Chen is a Life coach and Inspirational speaker and writer , she's the creator of the Do What you Love Sisterhood and you can find her in Paris and online : writing her beautiful BLOG : http://www.annachen.fr publishing inspiring pics on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/annachenlifecoach/ Twitter : https://twitter.com/chenanna Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/dowhatyoulovefr/?fref=ts