3 Things I Learned from Breaking Out of My Comfort Zone

Habits and rituals are familiar tools that counteract uncertainty. Whether it’s a daily routine, or how you cook your favorite meal, you have a general idea of what the outcome will be like. Engaging in a ritual or routine is basically one big safety net because there’s an element of reliability. They are grounding experiences that you can always return to: consistent, comfortable, and conventional.

Doing something new and unfamiliar is scary. By staying in your comfort zone, you can avoid something that most of us fear: failure. But by not seeking new challenges, you will never know what you may truly capable of.

When GreyTone of the hip hop duo SG Grey Days approached me about shooting and editing a music video, it was something out of my comfort zone. Knowing that it was for the single of his first EP made it even more nerve-wracking.

I have not done any professional camera work or editing for nearly 6 years (fun fact: I had been a casting assistant and camera operator for a big budget indie film, a major television network, a signed international artist, and seen a handful of B-List to D-List celebrities and their model flings). I’ve made a few YouTube videos here and there for myself, but it’s entirely different having to capture and tell someone else’s vision.

But I did it anyway.

And I learned from it because it helped me —

  • Become Comfortable with the Unfamiliar – It’s a catalyst for productivity. Without a sense of unease, we are inclined to perform at status-quo and put in minimum effort required to get by.

    I was used to having access to more than two cameras, tripods, and an audio set up — basically thousands of dollars of equipment. With nothing but ONE iPhone and my two hands, I had to make do. I’ve also never shot in anything short of a comfortable interior set, so to spend a day outdoors in New York City winter was quite a challenge. Adding onto the nevers is using Adobe Premiere Pro. It was a ready and available resource but I had no working knowledge of it. I spent a week watching all kinds of tutorials and articles.

 

  • Increase Ability to Handle the Unexpected – Things happen. By choosing to take on a new challenge and the uncertainty that comes with it, we better prepare ourselves for the elements of life.I had to redo the whole project from scratch: NINE times. Adobe Premiere deleted my timeline, it kept on crashing, all of the clips suddenly stopped playing, the program stopped working, and more. When I thought nothing else could go wrong, something did. With each new issue, I looked for alternative workarounds. If A didn’t work to get to B, was there a C that could get me there? I saw each problem not as a roadblock, but a challenge to be overcome.

 

  • Spark Creativity – New challenges and skills learned can lead to reflecting on old ideas or coming up with new ones. We have a tendency to stick with the familiar, but new ideas potentially come with better results.In the process of somewhere between the first and ninth time I redid the project, I saw what areas needed change and what I could do better. I wanted to stick with what I had in the versions prior but didn’t. It taught my to trust my gut feeling, and go for something bigger and better.

 

You can see the final product below. What are some things you’d like to do to stretch your personal boundaries?

 

 

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