Fear of Flying

How I’m getting out of my comfort zone and growing

The smell of freshly brewed coffee mingles with the hum of people chatting about everything from real estate to upcoming exams as I sit in Denver typing on my laptop at Starbucks. I’m out here for a brief 24 hours filming for a client, not a lot of time to explore the sights or get much sun. But we have an hour break right now, so I’m drinking a cappuccino and listening to my favorite songs — finding a sense of home even while being hundreds of miles from Minneapolis. Peaceful moments like this are important right now, especially because I hate flying and I have two flights to get back to Minneapolis tonight. So coffee is currently staving off anxiety.

Comfort zones are a funny thing. We all know that life doesn’t let us stay in our comfort zones, nor do we grow while in them. It’s through stretching ourselves and being uncomfortable that we become better, more skilled, more empathetic, etc.

At the beginning of the year, Jake asked us all to choose a word that would represent our personal goal/journey for the year. Mine was STRETCH. I was starting a new position with a larger team and being asked to manage people and projects when I had previously only ever had to really manage myself. I knew it would be hard, that it would stretch me. But I wanted to lean into that discomfort and become more professionally limber and agile.

Four months in, I’ve been stretched well beyond what I would have been capable of before embracing this journey. There have been conflicts and disagreements, but triumphs too. We’re growing in the type of work we are doing and the number of clients we serve, and that growth, in turn, stretches me a little more each day. The great thing about the painfulness of stretching is it has a cumulative payoff. Eventually everything becomes a little bit easier.

So yeah, I’m going to finish having a great shoot with our client here in Denver, grab some food, and then hop back on a plane and try to not let my worries get the best of me. And the good thing is that next week when we head out to Boston for a couple days of filming, those flights will be a little bit easier.

How have you been stretched this year so far? Maybe it’s an increase in work duties, family responsibilities, personal growth, overcoming fears?  Sometimes after we stretch we can get comfortable doing things we used to be afraid of. I encourage you to find ways in your life to keep stretching.

-Andrew Coons

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