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This is a guest submission from Jill Stanton from screwtheninetofive.com

An incredibly smart man by the name of Stan Dale once said, “Comfort zones are plush lined coffins. When you stay in your plush lined coffin, you die.”

Okay, so it’s a little morbid, but damn was he on to something and sadly, it was something I could relate to just a short while ago.

You see, a few years ago I was living in Toronto, loathing life and feeling uninspired. I was still working the same bar job, dating the wrong guys and packing on the pounds.

Why?

Because it was comfortable. And at that time, I dug comfort. Yet as the days wore on I started feeling completely directionless in my self-created status quo and started yearning for a change.

So what is a girl to do?

Move to the other side of the world! Duh.

Get As Far Away from Comfortable as Possible

In Autumn 2009 I packed my bags, booked a one-way ticket out of Canada and flipped a big ol’ “F You” to my old life.

After a sleepless 24 hour flight where I was close to crawling out of my damn skin, I landed in sunny Australia. That first step off the plane had me feeling invigorated for the first time in years.

Now, if I’m really being honest, that invigorating I-can-take-on-the-world feeling didn’t last very long. In fact, 5 days later I felt homesick, lonely, miserable and was thissss close to hopping a flight back home.

Looking back, it was half jet lag (it can be a bitch!) and half missing the comfortability of my old life that made me want to run back home. Thank gawd I didn’t cave.

Just to back peddle for a hot second, right before moving I happened to meet and fall for an Aussie who was traveling through Toronto.

Three long weeks after arriving in Oz, that same traveling Aussie was at my doorstep, and I knew I had made the right decision to pack up and leave.

Now that Aussie is my husband, Josh, and we have spent our years building a profitable online business and traveling the world together. Sure, it sounds like my transition was quick and painless, but good God damn that couldn’t be further from the truth…

Get Rid of Your ‘What Ifs’

Peep this: When I was living in The Great White North (or, Toronto if you want to be all specific about it) I found myself over analyzing every. single. decision.

My brain was a constant circle of “Should I make this product? What if people don’t like it? Can I handle this?” It was exhausting and self-destructive.

This vicious cycle of self-doubt can stifle you and more importantly, it can cripple your business.

Now, I use these ‘what ifs’ as a way of connecting with my audience. Using surveys and feedback from my email list, I can now use my ‘what ifs’ to find out what my audience truly needs, and these over-analyzed scenarios turn into opportunities rather than pitfalls.

Follow Your Fear

fears

When you are scared of something do you ever get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? I know I sure did – ahem…still do sometimes.

I used to run at the first sign of that feeling, but now I let it guide me.

Feeling fearful doesn’t need to be a bad thing. Fear of the unknown can be calmed by taking a leap of faith and hoping for the best. Yea it’s easier said than done, but seriously; just leap.

When Josh and I first started our business, anytime I thought of a product idea I would get this crippling fear that our audience wouldn’t like it.

What I realized was that this uncomfortable feeling—or resistance, if you will—was preventing me from creating great work.

Now I freak out for a few moments (don’t pretend you’ve never done it) and then embrace the shit out of that fear and use it to fuel my desire to succeed.

When You Fall, Stand Back Up Again

The one thing I can say with certainty is that when you finally decide to screw that 9-5 and find your own little slice of uncomfortable, you will have those just-hit-rock-bottom-i’m-a-failure type of days. Trust me – it happens to the best of us.

The key here is to not let yourself give up, which brings me to a little story of professional failure and ugly crying. But don’t worry, there’s a happy ending!

To put it bluntly, the very first product Josh and I released was a massive flop. I’m talking a poorly-executed-dive-that-went-belly-flop kind of a flop.

We spent 4 months pouring our heart, soul, knowledge and money into a product that we were convinced people wanted and would fly off the virtual shelf.

On the day of the launch, I literally sat there in front of my laptop and kept refreshing my screen waiting for a sale to come in.

Yet, no sales.

To say I was devastated would be an understatement. Cue the ugly crying.

After settling down, we realized this was an opportunity to get to know our audience better and find out what they truly wanted.

Ultimately this “failure” led to a rebranding that has made a world of difference for our business and without it, we may have been on the same downward spiral from ages or worse – working Loi Kroh to pay the bills. (Kidding – and seriously, if you’re ever in Chiang Mai avoid this street unless you want to get robbed of your wallet…and dignity!)

What I’m trying to say here is that everything that has made me feel uncomfortable has turned out to be an opportunity to better myself.

You just need to grab that fear by the balls and run with it.

After all, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

 

About Jill

Jill is a wanderluster and affiliate marketer who—along with her hubby, Josh—teaches people how to escape their 9-to-5 grind and live the life they want to live, not the life they think they have to live.

She can usually be found traipsing around South East Asia, scrolling through Facebook, or hanging out over at ScrewtheNineToFive.com. Hit her up, but be warned, she’s a talker!

 

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