I went dancing in the dark a while back. It was an organized event where you drop your shoes at the door, enter a fully darkened room and just dance for an hour. No worries about who else is there or what you look like. It was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time. And while it seems a simple enough idea, I would never have even known about it much less attended if not for the influence of someone outside my normal crowd.
Perhaps even more interestingly, I had wave of new ideas about my business afterwards (and no, we won’t be “coaching in the dark” any time soon). So I couldn’t help but get to pondering – why does it seem so hard to do something different, when clearly it’s a great idea?
What do we give up by staying in our comfort zone? What do we gain by stretching ourselves beyond what we know?
Let’s face it – changing your trajectory is hard by yourself. Pattern disruption, behaviour change, experimentation – all are much easier with outside influences and stimuli (see Charles Duhigg’s fantastic book “The Power of Habit” for science on this, and James Clear’s Atomic Habits to learn how to integrate new behaviors into your life). It’s great when someone or something comes along to shake you up a bit. It’s only then that you realize “Hey, I was really stuck and predictable and probably quite boring!”
My biggest disruption in recent memory occurred when I went to summer camp for adults (yes, really). From that one event has come a perspective-altering expansion of my circle, which now includes triathletes, artists, health and nutrition entrepreneurs, organic gardeners, mediums, ninja warriors and coming out advocates – and people who like dancing in the dark, amongst others.
Because I went to one “different” event, I’ve had new experiences, taken new risks, had amazing new connections and enjoyed new opportunities. I’ve also been uncomfortable – which is a clear sign of being stretched.
Sooooo – I have a challenge for you. What can you do TODAY to shake up your world just a little bit? What can you do in a week? Do something completely different – ideally something that scares you just a little bit. You’ll be better in lots of surprising ways for it. Trust me.