I like my comfort zone. A lot. It’s a familiar space. It’s a warm blanket, a cup of coffee, in front of a fire. It’s the crack of the bat against a baseball on a hot July day. It’s hearing that song from when I was eleven and still knowing all the words. I think comfort zones are good, but pushing ourselves out of them, pushing ourselves into unknown territories, those are the places we grow.
The last twelve months have been a lot of growing, and I didn’t even have to push myself to do it. The world did it for me. But there are times when I felt like I had been comfortable for too long, and I needed to push myself to do those things that scared me.
Sometimes that thing was asking for help instead of going deeper down the rabbit hole by myself. Sometimes it was accepting someone’s offer to help. Sometimes it was jumping into a new adventure without all the planning and discussions I would have done if I wanted to make sure the moment was just right. Taking my first dev job, almost two years ago, was pushing myself way out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it’s sharing these moments with others. Some of these things I talk about on this Virtual Coffee podcast episode, which itself is one of the things that I did to force myself out of my comfort zone.
I recently decided I was going to livestream talking through and working on my postpartum wellness app, which was absolutely terrifying. But I was inspired by Drew Clements talking about how he livestreams working on Protege.dev as an accountability tool. It’s not enough that I’m still very much new to React Native. I wanted to add to that the accountability that comes with livestreaming.I’ve only done it a couple of times, but I learned that it’s not about having all of the answers; it’s about communicating when you don’t.
It’s ok to have questions. It’s ok to look things up. It’s ok to forget how to do something you’ve done 100x before. It happens.
It’s about not getting frustrated when you don’t have those things. It’s about learning how to move forward, how to grow. And it’s remembering that process the next time you have that feeling of not being good enough.
There are so many times that I’m mad at myself for not knowing more or for feeling like I should be better at coding than I am. That I should have more done than I do. And that’s not productive; negative self talk does not help me grow. (I’m going to say it again, for the people who need to hear it; also, me. I need to hear it again.) Negative self talk does not help me grow.
Getting out of your comfort zone and growing is hard. And sometimes it means hearing things that are hard to hear. Sometimes, it’s having those hard conversations when you want to ignore the problem and hope it disappears.
A friend said to me the other day, “Bekah, there’s a reason they’re called growing pains. It doesn’t feel good.” I think it’s about embracing that pain by getting out of your comfort zone, but not being stuck in the place you were last time, last week, last tutorial.
You don’t solve problems by ignoring them. You tackle the error in your console one piece at a time. And sometimes it’s minutes and sometimes it’s days, but damn it feels good when you finally have that project up on the screen. And that’s worth it.