I’m the type of person who’s always willing to put myself out there, meet new people and try new things. BUT, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy or enjoyable or comfortable. Sometimes I think, if you could only see or hear what’s happening in my brain right now, you might be surprised…
Ode to the comfort zone
Oh comfort zone, how we all love you! You make life easy, safe, reliable. Nothing really bad ever happens to you in the comfort zone, right? Although it’s true, and we should all be thankful for the comfort zone, it is really exciting to BUST OUT, and do something new, unique and maybe a little scary. Why? Because it makes you feel ALIVE.
But the comfort zone is so easy. You think, “They know me here. Everyone likes me here. I know what I’m doing here. They have my favorite snacks and books and I can wear whatever I want, here.”
What else is happening here, though? Are you meeting anyone new? Are you going on any new adventures? Learning? Failing? Growing? Sharing your unique talents here?
We get too comfortable. We get set in our ways. We go on “auto-pilot”. We make excuses. We put everyone else before ourselves. We wait for permission to branch out. We start to forget how AWESOME we truly are.
Busting out of your comfort zone can put you back into your zone. You know, your zone where you do the things that you love and excite you, that ZONE. The things that make you feel alive. The things that as adults we forget about. The things that we think are for our past lives. The “I used to do that” type of things. The things you remember loving to do before you became a grown up. The things you did before other people started telling you about the right path as if they know better than you do.
When you realize you’ve been out of your Zone for awhile you start seeking out things that could be fun and interesting. This month I’ve done a lot of things to push myself out of my comfort zone and into my zone, including participating in the 1st Annual Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon.
Hack a what?
A hack a what? A Hackathon. It has nothing to do with Hacky Sack, by the way…which is funny, because several people asked about that when I told them what I was doing.
Anyway, this Hackathon was a 36 hour weekend challenge bringing together people interested solving real problems facing brands in the fashion industry. Best described as an “invention marathon” with the goal of building a working prototype to present to judges.
Being my first time participating in this type of event, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Going into it without a team, and not really having a lot of tech skills, it would’ve been really easy to talk myself out of it, but I thought it would be a good challenge and have been feeling like I needed a project like this to keep expanding my skills. I was really happy to meet so many people who are passionate about the same things I am and willing to compete in this “mental marathon”, learning new things and creating real world solutions.
There were times throughout the weekend that I wasn’t certain if people would continue; there were moments when I was having fun and at the same time thinking “this is hard, why am I doing this?”. It was mentally exhausting and very rewarding.
In the end, the top 2 teams got to pitch for a panel of judges, including our team. Both teams were so creative and put a lot of thought, research and energy into the design solutions. In the end, the winner was… my team, Team Hackabon!!
I wish you could’ve seen my face when they announced that we won. I’m sure the look on my face was one of complete shock. Not that I didn’t think our team deserved it, but shock of ” Wow! I did that!”, ” I was a part of that!”.
I’m proud of my team (and myself) for trusting each other and prevailing through times of uncertainty. It was amazing to go from just meeting each other for the first time on Friday, to giving our pitch and winning on Sunday! It was a fun and unique experience. I encourage everyone to take a risk and try something new, you will probably end up surprising yourself and learning a lot of new things too!
Sometimes you need a win. You need an experience that reaffirms the skills you have and all you can do and also gives you a chance to be surprised in a wonderful way. I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate in an event like this one. I truly appreciate the time and energy the founders and mentors put into it and their vision of creating an event to encourage so many different people to come together and collaborate.
Just do it!
What do you want to do? What have you always wanted to try? How are you busting out of your comfort zone?
I’d love to hear about it!
Thanks again to my friends and family for your support and helping me celebrate my victories!