Before we discuss perspective, let’s take a moment to consider the effects of tapping into your calling. You may discover that following your calling may mean completely
changing your life.
You have to be prepared for that. Discovering your calling may be hard but pursuing it may be even a harder perspective. If you find that your calling is creating quilts, you can do that on the weekends and in your free time.
You may have to change perspective
You can even set up a part time business and sell your creations. However, if your calling is sustainable farming, it can be tough to effectively do that part time and on the weekends. You may have to leave your full time sales job and become a sustainable farmer.
It may be tough to tell your family that you want to move them from the city to a plot of farmland in the country. But if that’s your perspective calling, you have to do it.
You should take some time and sit with that Perspective
I’m not just talking about deciding you want to apply for a new role at the company where you work. I’m talking about discovering your purpose and being prepared to move on that discovery. You should let that marinate in your brain and recognize what that really means.
You should also recognize how important it is that you do this and have a clear perspective.
While you’re letting the thought of completely changing your life swish around in your brain, let’s discuss perspective. I realize that I may have introduced some ideas you’d never seriously considered before. I’m asking you to be open to a change of perspective as it relates to your life overall.
Yes I realize that I’m asking a lot but this book is about stepping outside of your comfort zone and pushing your limits. That means considering that your current way of thinking should be changed. I want to tell you a story about a woman who embraced a change in
perspective and altered her life at a time when most people are preparing to relax and enjoy their golden years.
Anna Mary Robertson
Unless you’re a fan of folk art, you may not be familiar with Anna Mary Robertson more popularly known as Grandma Moses and her perspective. She was a renowned American folk artist whose paintings became immensely popular and well regarded. She was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine September 19, 1960 in honor of her 100th birthday.
All of this happened after she’d lived a full life and was settling into perspective retirement.
Born September 7, 1860 in Greenwich in upstate New York, Anna was the daughter of a farming family. She was one of 10 children and worked on her family farm until she married her husband at the age of 27. She and her husband moved to Virginia and established a farm there. She gave birth to 10 children, five of which died in infancy and
lived her life as a farming wife for the next twenty years with a new perspective.
In 1905 she and her husband moved back to Eagle Bridge, New York not far from
her birthplace. Her husband died in 1927 but she continued to run the farm with her son until her advanced age caused her to retire from farming in 1936. She moved in with one of her daughters and finally had the luxury of relaxing and pursuing her artistic interests.
Always creative, Anna would use her perspective talents to spruce up her home and dream about her new perspective.
She was a practical woman and found ways to channel her creativity into more practical uses. She would decorate the house injecting her creativity where it was most appropriate.
Initially she did embroidery, creating basic rural scenes on worsted wool cloth. Her embroidered pictures were always admired by family and friends. But when she was in her 70’s she started painting.
Some stories say that she started painting because arthritis made it tough for
her to wield a needle. Other stories say she switched to painting because the fabrics used in embroidery could be eaten by moths. Either way, she switched from something she’d done all her life to something with new perspective.
Her early perspective paintings were given as gifts and sold in local shops for $3-$5. Initially they were of the same rural scenes she used in her embroidery pieces. An art collector discovered her pieces on a visit to Eagle Bridge, bought them all and ultimately featured some of them in
an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The 1938 exhibit was called “Contemporary Unknown American Painters”. She was soon officially discovered and featured in her first solo exhibit called “What a Farm Wife Painted” in 1940. That exhibit went well and she started having more. In fact in the 1950’s her exhibits were so popular they broke attendance records all over the world.
She was a source of inspiration to women all over the world. Not only was she a farmer’s wife who changed her life once she stopped farming she followed her perspective creative dreams in the process. She showed women of that time it was possible to be successful doing something outside of being a wife and mother.
When she died in 1961, Grandma Moses was a cultural icon. She inspired many women to pursue their dreams no matter their age. She’s a great example of being open to changing perspective and not giving up on your calling.
Grandma Moses is an excellent example of being open to changing perspective. She did it multiple times over the course of a long, rich life. She was born in a time when women didn’t have a lot of life choices.
As children they followed the lead of their mothers often taking care of the home and/or family farm. Once they got older, they were married off to become the caretaker of their husband and children. Often times they didn’t attend school or if they did, it only lasted until they were needed to work at home.
But Grandma Moses had a creative perspective calling. She found functional ways to express her creativity while living her life as a farmer’s wife and mother. Then when she couldn’t do embroidery any more, she fed her creativity through painting. She could have stopped there and continued to only give her art as gifts but she took it a step further and
began to sell her work.
Not only was she open to expanding her mode of creative expression, she was open to selling it to others. She essentially became a “sell out” as some artists might say because she began to make money from her craft. Granted her pieces weren’t initially going for much money but they’re what helped her get the attention of the New York arts scene
and ultimately the world.
There are a lot of great lessons to be taken from the life of Grandma
Moses. Here are some of them:
1. Never stop following your perspective calling.
How many times have you heard someone say they “gave up their dream” because it was unrealistic or impractical? You should never simply give up on a dream. Yes you may need to alter it but don’t give it up entirely. Our dreams are what make us whole and what fulfills us.
Grandma Moses was always creative and she found ways to feed that spirit. That doesn’t mean she ran away from her responsibilities to become an artist. It means she found ways to work it into her reality.
2. You’re never too old to make a perspective change.
Grandma Moses was in her 70’s before she began painting in earnest. When she came to a crossroads about embroidery, whether it was due to arthritis or the breakdown of materials, she didn’t stop creating art.
She simply moved to another form of expression. It’s hard to say whether it was an easy change to make or if she wrestled with it but she didn’t wrestle long. She made the shift and continued to follow her calling.
3. You can use your perspective calling to make money.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you following your calling and making money in the process. That doesn’t mean you’re exploiting it. It just means you’re making money. We all need an income to survive.
Using what you enjoy most to create that income allows you to actively follow your calling full time. What could possibly be wrong with that? Those are the prevailing lessons that jumped out at me when I discovered the story of Grandma Moses. Her life was definitely one to be admired but you don’t have to wait until you’ve retired to do what
It took courage for her to step outside of her comfort zone and pursue her artistic career. She could have refused to be publicly featured in exhibits. She could have stayed at her daughter’s home and lived out the rest of her years in upstate New York.
I’m sure she enjoyed being with her family. It was well known that she took great pride in her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She could have easily settled into her role as the family matriarch and enjoyed that.
But she didn’t. She continued to create paintings and feature them in different exhibits. She is a great example of stepping outside of your comfort zone with a new perspective.
Not only did she step outside of her comfort zone as a farmer’s wife and mother, she stepped outside of the comfort of her age. If a 70-year-old farmer’s wife can step outside of her comfort zone, you can too.
Stepping Outside of Your perspective Comfort Zone
Don’t worry I’m not to just tell you to do something completely different from what you’ve grown accustomed to doing. I’m going to give you some strategies on how to do it.
1. Do some perspective research.
One of the reasons stepping outside of your comfort zone is a challenge is because of the unknown. When you have no idea what you’re getting into or what will happen when you do, that can cause fear and anxiety. It’s perfectly natural to be afraid of the unknown but
rather than shrinking away from it, you can work to make it less of an unknown. Thanks to the power of the internet, it’s possible to gain knowledge about a topic from the comfort of your own home. Once you’ve identified your calling, do some web searches on it.
Read some magazine articles or books about it. If possible, talk to some people
who do it. Do your best to familiarize yourself with it.
2. Take a perspective class.
Taking a class is a great way to not only learn more about your area of interest, you can also meet other people like you. Deciding to step outside of your comfort zone can be an isolating situation. It’s tough to take people with you when you decide to try something new. You will most likely end up doing it alone. But if you take a class you will meet
other people that share your interest. It gives you an opportunity to
expand your circle while allowing you to actively explore your interest.
3. Join an organization.
There are organizations and groups out there for virtually any area of interest. Find an organization dedicated to your calling and join it. This has a similar effect to taking a class. You find other people with a similar interest while joining a community dedicated to that interest. Not only will you have a space where you can openly explore, you will also
learn how different people do the same. It definitely helps you gain perspective on how to follow your calling when you can talk with other people that are doing it too.
4. Create something.
Now that you’ve tapped into what interests you most put that knowledge to practical use. Find a way to do a project. If you’re in an organization or a class, you will most likely have a project that way but if not, you should find one. You need some time to work within your
interest in a focused way and a project is a great way to do that. Plus it gives you a viable reason to allocate time in your life to this interest.
You can also use the project as a way to incorporate other people in your life as you embark on your journey. Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy. People appreciate routines and stability whether they’re self-imposed or not. It’s helpful to know what to expect on a day to day basis so when you shake up the status quo, it shakes up that feeling of stability.
Depending on the type of comfort zone that you are living in will affect the challenges you will encounter stepping outside of it. There are three different types of comfort zones and each one offers a different amount of stability.
1. Societal comfort zone
We all deal with societal expectations as we go through life. Many of us fall in line and work to meet those expectations without ever realizing that they’re not our own. An example of a societal expectation is that we are expected to get married and start a family. Depending on culture and family structure that expectation may take on slightly
different connotations but it’s a prevailing one. If you live your whole life
and never get married or start a family, you become a societal out lier.
Many people will wonder why you chose that path. You may even get questions from total strangers about it. But by not sticking with that societal expectation, you are stepping outside of a comfort zone. It’s so much easier to find a life partner, get married and start a family than it is not to. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’s easy to do
those things. What I’m saying is that society has a clearly defined comfort zone that makes that the path of least resistance overall. If you choose to do something different, you encounter a different type of resistance that can be uncomfortable.
2. Family comfort zone
Our parents, grandparents and relatives often have an idea of where they see our lives going. If you have a large extended family that is very intertwined, you will most likely have more family members with a vested interest in your future. Their thoughts about your life path are often developed before you’re even born and will be used to create the
initial blueprint of your life.
As we grow up and have life experiences that fall outside of our family members, we may decide to alter that initial blueprint. This can cause a level of discomfort in your life. Often
that discomfort will come from your family not responding well to your decision but its discomfort nonetheless.
3. Self-imposed comfort zone This is the comfort zone we tend to create for ourselves.
Like I said, people appreciate stability and familiarity. Because of this we create habits. Sometimes these habits are an extension of our family comfort zone but even if your family life wasn’t stable, you will still create your own habits. This comfort zone can be the toughest to step outside of because it means going against yourself in a sense. We all create
comfort zones because they make us feel safe and stable. When you step outside of a self-imposed comfort zone, you are changing something you created for your own safety and stability. You are essentially working against yourself in a way. Not only can that be
uncomfortable, it can be painful depending on why you created the comfort zone in the first place.
I want to focus on the self-imposed comfort zone because it’s the toughest one to change. However, I don’t want to gloss over the other two because they’re very important as well. So here are some tips you can use to address the first two.
1. Societal comfort zone
a. Make peace with it Once you realize that you don’t want to stay within the comfort zone
that society has created for you, it’s important that you make peace with that decision. If you decide you don’t want to go to college and would rather pursue a career as a cruise ship performer, do it in peace. You may be asked to explain yourself and it’s up to you whether you will or not. But regardless of how you choose to handle it, make sure
you are comfortable with the decision.b. Don’t be afraid to change your mind Sometimes it’s not the expectations of society that bother us it’s the timelines that come with those expectations. If you step outside of that comfort zone and follow a different path but decide you want to return to the socially accepted route later, that’s fine. There’s nothing to say you can’t do things out of order. You have to ultimately do what works best for you.
2. Family comfort zone
a. Be prepared to explain yourself Even if you don’t feel like you should have to, be prepared to explain your decision and choices. Family is important and you should do
everything in your power to maintain those relationships.
When you decide to step outside of the family comfort zone, they will demand an
explanation. This is usually because they will take your decision personally. You’re not trying to make them agree with your choice.
The purpose of the explanation is to back your choice up with a reason. You may or may not convince them that what you’re doing is best but that’s not the point. You are just honoring your respect and love for family with a reason why you’re shaking things up. By stepping outside of your comfort zone, you are also shaking up their feeling of stability.
Keep that in mind.
b. Be prepared to do it alone
You may not receive support from your family even if they do accept your explanation. When you decide to take an uncharted path, the people close to you may not know how to support you. You may not know how to ask for support either. It’s going to take some time as you figure everything out. This is why it’s important to seek out a community. You can even ask those people how they handled their families own perspective.
You can take those tips and use them to deal with the society and family comfort zones. But like I said, the self-imposed comfort zone can be much more tricky to navigate. It often involves changing personal thought patterns and beliefs that have gotten you through life so far. Let’s dive into that area because it’s integral to truly pushing your limits for success.
Self-Imposed Comfort Zone We all have personal beliefs, values and life systems that we’ve created over the course of our lives. We’ve made decisions about who we are and what those decisions mean for our life goals and perspective.
There are experiences we’ve had that have educated us about our preferences and what we will and won’t accept. Some of our self-imposed comfort zone is based on our family comfort zone but that’s not always the case.
Regardless, when it comes to stepping outside of our self-imposed comfort zones, it takes a lot of internal and external work. The tips I’ve shared previously about stepping outside of your comfort zone definitely apply here but there is often an added layer that must be
addressed.Let me tell you a little secret.
All comfort zones are ultimately self-imposed.
I know I just went through this whole explanation of the three different types of comfort zones and how to address them. This isn’t to say that I made that stuff up. I didn’t. You do have to deal with both familial and societal expectations. Those expectations can create comfort zones that have to be dealt with when you do something different. But when
you experience societal and familial comfort zones you essentially agree to fall in line with them.
I know you may tell me you don’t have a choice and you have to do what society and/or your family expect of you. But you do realize you are choosing the path of least resistance, right? Regardless of what you think should happen or how much pressure you’re getting from outside sources, it’s your life and ultimately your choice.
With that being said, those tips I just shared are definitely valid because you still have to live in society and your family relationships are important. But those comfort zones can sometimes be easier to step outside of because it involves a sense of rebellion. When you do something outside of what is expected of you it makes you a bit of a
It’s not so easy to rebel against yourself which is what you will be doing when you step outside of your self-imposed comfort zone. It sounds kind of odd, right? How the heck do you rebel against yourself?It’s fairly simple and complicated at the same time. By doing something that is different from what you would typically do, you are rebelling
against yourself. It’s uncomfortable and your psyche will likely show up
to challenge you.
This often happens in the form of your inner critic. This is that small voice that asks you things like:
Who do you think you are?
Will you be good at this?
Will you do/say something stupid?
What if you mess everything up?
Do you really know what you’re doing?
These are just a few examples of the things our inner critic comes up with to create self-doubt. It’s possible to tune out the external voices of others but it can be virtually impossible to tune out your internal voice.
That’s why I wanted to pay special attention to this type of comfort zone. It requires more work and effort than the other two because you’re dealing with yourself and limiting beliefs you have.
Before I offer some tips and suggestions for addressing your self-imposed comfort zone, I think it’s important that you incorporate a professional into the mix. I’m not an expert in psychology. I’m someone like you who has had to deal with my own comfort zone and how it held me back from following my dreams. Having a professional to talk to will give you a space to address those limiting beliefs.
However, the tips I’m going to share will allow you to create space outside of the time you spend with a professional.
1. Give yourself permission to be afraid.
Fear is a normal, natural response to the unknown. Your inner critic tends to rear its head when you are doing something new that you’re not familiar with. If you recognize it as fear and give yourself permission to feel the fear, you will find it easier to address. We all
have to overcome our fears as we go through life. Many of us try to stifle our feelings of fear because they can be uncomfortable. Some emotions must be experienced to be overcome. Don’t push your fear away. Let it happen just don’t let it stop you from moving forward.
2. Focus on the positive rather than the negative.
When your inner critic starts to present the negative side of any situation, you should practice focusing on the positive side. It’s not always going to be an easy thing to do which is why it takes practice.
Consider that your inner critic has been showing up the majority of your life in some way. You have years of experience dealing with your inner critic but creating your inner cheerleader will take time. You have to do it intentionally until it becomes automatic. This takes patience but is necessary as you go through this process.
3. Don’t try to be perfect.Trying to do everything perfectly will only add to your frustration.
Rather than trying to do everything perfect, focus on getting things done. When you are actively stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing something different, it’s going to take time for you to become an expert at it. You’re going to make mistakes. But the more you do it, the better you will become at it. If you put the pressure of doing it perfectly
on top of the pressure of pursuing your dreams, you compound the
Don’t compound the pressure by trying to be perfect.
4. Take time and smell the roses.
Don’t be so focused on reaching your goal that you miss out on the journey to get there. By reading this book you are already taking an important step towards reaching your goal and new perspective.You should stop and appreciate this and other small moments. Many people become so super focused on reaching the finish line that they miss the sights along the way. The journey is just as important as the destination. Stop and appreciate it.
5. Applaud your small successes.
Don’t gloss over your small successes. Take the time to enjoy them as they happen. When you reach small goals, you should appreciate them as they happen. This will help you recognize your progress and keep you optimistic along the way. You will need this optimism when you encounter challenges. It will help keep you on your chosen path. It’s
important to recognize all progress even if it’s small steps to your new perspective.
You have to create a life where you make room for your expanding comfort zone and new perspective. This isn’t something you can compartmentalize. It applies to all aspects of your life and should be incorporated accordingly.
When you are working to change your perspective and step outside of your comfort zone it involves making personal adjustments. These adjustments will affect the way you perceive the world at large. You need to be prepared to embrace the changes across the board to find your perspective.