Photo by Jen Armstrong on Unsplash

A Complete List of Places That Are Outside My Comfort Zone

And what those places say about personal growth.

I have a lot of fucking courage, man. I mean, really. I sing on stages in front of thous — errr, dozens — of people. I write my darkest insecurities on the Internet using my real name. I travel through foreign countries alone. I run marathons. I am impossibly flirtatious and carnal in my sexuality. I bet on myself, over and over again, and often win. And so on. That being said … I’m not 100% confident everywhere. Today, we’re going to name those places. There’s a few.

In front of a camera.

Yeah, we’ve talked about this before. I don’t like the way I look. Although I feel sexy in the bedroom, I don’t feel sexy in portrait mode. I actively avoid having my picture taken, and I don’t exactly light up in front of a DSL-R. Good luck getting me on a catwalk. I’m more comfortable at a cat cafe. See also: pool parties, on a beach, at the gym, or at a high-end clothing store telling the stylist to “fix my broken self-image.”

On a dance floor.

Weddings? See you at the open bar. Clubs? See you at the actual bar. Dance halls? LOL do I look like I live in Texas? I look like an octopus falling out of a tree when the beat drops. And I know it. And so unless I’m a fifth deep into a bottle of Hendricks, there ain’t no way you’re catching me dead shaking what god gave me. And if I am? Come collect me. Salsa, tango, foxtrot, two-step, Charleston, swing, does not fucking matter. Mr. Steal Your Girl becomes Mr. Ghost His Own Soulmate once the music plays.

In any physical harm’s way.

I never learned to throw a punch. Why? I never needed to. I’m smooth AF. Why? Because I had to be. I’m not built Ford Tough. I’m built Mini Cooper Cute. I’m the corgi of alpha males. I get by on charm. People find me endearing. I am not an action hero. I would survive the zombie apocalypse by simply sailing to Seychelles. I have never even shot a real gun. So, you can say goodbye to ever seeing me in a boxing ring, on a football field, in a bar-brawl, at a shooting range, or marking off 50 paces.

In sales of any kind.

You know Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross? I ain’t ABC. I’m NBC. Never. Be. Closing. I can convince you of anything — so long as there isn’t a transaction hanging in the balance at the end of the story. And don’t let it stop there, I’m also notoriously bad at: negotiating, job interviews, first dates, pitches … anything where I need to explain that, yes, I have something of value to offer you, and no, you can’t live without it. I’ve written two full books. Ask me if they’re published. (Spoiler: They’re not.) I can’t even sell my best skill to people who are actively looking for it. I would absolutely suck on a trading floor.

That’s the full list. I’ve grown as a person by leaning into my strengths, rather than addressing my perceived weaknesses. I’ve gotten good at things I already liked doing, or already had a knack for, and built my confidence that way. But is that the right way to grow?

Yes, but also: fuck no. What I’m doing is trying to defeat my demons by running up the score, rather than vanquish them by learning to play defense. It’s like trying to gain financial freedom by earning a bunch of money instead of just learning to set a budget. Like, yes, it can work, but it requires running faster than the bear instead of staring the fucker down and slaying it. (All due respect to bears.)

We’re going to talk in the coming months about how to step outside of your comfort zone. And we’re going to use my insecurities as a bit of an experiment. I’ll be Patient Zero, and you can come along for the ride. Yes, there are two ways to grow as a person: lean into your strengths, or lean into your weaknesses. One takes practice and discipline. The other takes courage and confidence. I took the path of least resistance. And that’s how I ended up here. But to go somewhere new, I’ll need to travel down a different road. And, frankly, if this resonated at all with you, you’ll need to do the same.

*** Did you like this? Feel free to bang that clap button. Want more? Follow me on Instagram, or read more here. ***




Essayist and storyteller on life, liberty and the battle for happiness. Several million served. Words at Human Parts, Forge and PS I Love You. IG: heygorman

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John Gorman

John Gorman

Essayist and storyteller on life, liberty and the battle for happiness. Several million served. Words at Human Parts, Forge and PS I Love You. IG: heygorman

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