leaving the comfort zone: how to stop settling and start demanding more

 Photo Credit: Clem Onojeghuo

Photo Credit: Clem Onojeghuo

I’m going to start this post with a moment of honesty question for all of you:  How many of you right now are settling?  Are ok with being content instead of being happy? Choose to ride the carousel because the roller coaster is too scary to get on?

Been there. And I think it’s a human experience for all of us to go through stages of “settling” throughout life.  Let’s be real: change is hard. The unknown is scary, so we decide to remain in the comfort of the bubble we have built instead of running straight out of into the world of possibilities. Because those possibilities could project us forward or backward.  And the fear of ending up in a spot worse than where we are now is legitimate.

But that’s not an excuse to stay there.  I was in one of those funks a year or two ago, and it was this quote from Shonda Rhimes’ book, “Year of Yes,” that spurred my trajectory out of the world of contentment:

“If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more.”

I read that, and I thought, “You know, she’s right.”  It’s sometimes as simple as that, a line read at 10 o’clock on a Tuesday night while reading in bed, that propels you to change.  But that quote made me realize that I was the catalyst in how I wanted my life to turn out, that if I wanted something more, I needed to stop settling for less.  And so I did.

That wasn’t the only lesson I learned from “Year of Yes,” however, and while I think you should go pick up the book yourself and read the entire thing, I wanted to share with you 3 #LadyBoss lessons I learned from Shonda (she’s responsible for Grey’s and Scandal, so definitely someone you want to listen to) and how you can apply them, guy or girl, in real life.


Here’s the thing about fear: even though it gives us the night sweats, having the courage to face it helps us grow.  It’s gaining that courage that is the difficult part. For some of us, we have to walk into it blindly.  For others, we need someone else to push us to face it.  And sometimes you have to trick yourself on one of your positive days and sign up for a mini-marathon 4 months out when you haven’t run in years. 

For Shonda, her fear came to fruition when she was asked to give the commencement speech at her alma mater, Dartmouth.  And she faced her fear by asking this simple question: What’s the worst that could happen?  Her answer is something straight out of a 5 year-old boy’s mouth (albeit true), but the main point is this: You need to figure out which method works best for you to face your fears and then use that to go tackle them.  Life is not meant to be lived in the comfort zone or the land of “What Ifs.” Don’t allow yourself to become one of the people that gets stuck there.


Read any article about salary negotiations and I guarantee you’ll hear the same theme in each one: you get what you ask for.  No one is going to give you more money if you’re content with making less, and it’s the same in every other aspect of life, too.  Why would your significant other do the laundry if you always do the laundry? Why would your friends want to save money & do a girls night in when you always go out for drinks & dinner? Why would Jimmy Kimmel do a taped segment when he only does live shows? Unless we ask for something, we won’t get it.  Period.

If you aren’t satisfied with your situation, you have to be the one to initiate the change, and that conversation starts with a question.  And the answer to that question may not be what you want, but you’ll at least know where the other party stands.  It’s your decision how you react to it from there.


Ladies, ladies, ladies.  Please read that subheader again.  Now one more time.

Our gender is notorious for always saying “Yes” to everything that is thrown at us, whether that involves volunteering on a board, baking cookies for Dr. Seuss Day at our kids’ school, or hosting Thanksgiving for your entire 40+ person family. And if we do say no, we feel we have to come up with some convoluted reason as to why we can’t. 

But guess what? We don’t have to. No one is living in our shoes, managing our bank accounts, feeling the pressure of our time constraints, or deciding our priorities, and if they aren’t in charge of any of those, then they sure as heck don’t need to know our reason every time we say that we can’t do something. It’s as simple as that.

Now, I’m not saying we don’t need to give a reason for some of our absences, but don’t feel guilty to always have to provide one.  If someone doesn’t like that response, well then judge away, Judgey McJudgerson.  But I don’t have to answer to you.

Alright, guys, that wraps it up for this one.  Like I said before, this book instantly became one of my favorites (I think I read it in 2 days) and would be one of my top reads for any woman (or man) looking for some inspiration to tackle the world.  If you’d like to get a copy for yourself, to stuff in your loved ones’ Christmas stockings, or to share with the ladies in your life, I’ve included a link below where you can purchase “Year of Yes.”  Happy reading!

 Photo Credit: My Life Through a Lens

Photo Credit: My Life Through a Lens