by Stephanie Labbe
Life is about taking risks. It is about discovering what is out there, beyond what we know as “comfortable”. Once we put ourselves into situations that are uncomfortable we start to grow. I thrive in uncomfortable situations. I love to experience the unexpected, and I love the butterflies you get before doing something that once seemed so distant. Experiencing new things is one aspect, but experiencing things that are unfamiliar, and scare you, or make you anxious, that’s a whole new ball game.
Just the other day, I was at the gym going about my business doing my workout, when it came time to do my box jumps. I decided today was the day I would attempt a higher box, one that I have never tried before. I was feeling good, had my music pumping (yes Taylor Swift was pumping me up…so what!), legs were feeling great after the weights, and mentally I knew I could make it. I walked over to some hockey players in the area asking if they could help me move the box into a better location, which they did, and were definitely wondering what I was going to do with a box this high. I lined up, looked up at it and did some self-talk. Bent my knees a little, swung my arms, pushed, and…. smoked my hand on the box in my swing, proceeded to hit my knee on the side and only one leg made it up. Immediately I went red in the face, became embarrassed (as the whole gym was basically watching wondering what I was going to do), chuckled to myself, but it was in that moment I knew this was something bigger than just jumping onto a box. This box to me represented my development as a goalkeeper. It represented a hurdle that was placed in front of me, to challenge me, to push me further along my path to becoming the best I can be. It represented me putting aside what everyone else was seeing, and gave me the chance to prove to myself its only about what I see that matters. I was determined to conquer. I stepped off the box, took another look at the box, stepped towards it and before I knew it I was landing on the top, wanting to do another.
I would never know if I could have made that jump if I didn’t try. The box one step lower was getting easy, repetitive. I had done it for a few sessions before, and it became comfortable. This is the same as life, and all the things we do. It’s easy to continue in a routine that is easy, that’s comfortable, that we don’t have to think about before doing. The hardest thing to do is make the decision to change our environment. Change what is easy, change what feels comfortable. Once we move out of that “comfort zone” we really start to live. We begin to aspire towards greatness, and to accomplish what once seemed impossible. The only person that can put limits on our success and our growth is ourselves. I try to make it a choice to put myself out of my comfort zone once every day, whether its trying a new recipe for dinner, or doing one extra interval on the treadmill, or walking to the coffee shop alone instead of always having company. We grow in so many ways that we don’t even realize, by making these decisions. Someone once said, “If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness”. I challenge my readers to do just that. Step out of your comfort zone, expand your outlook, and allow yourself the opportunity to grow in ways you could have never imagined!
Stephanie Labbe is a goalkeeper currently playing for KIF Örebro in Sweden's Damallsvenskan league as well as the Canadian National Team. She was a member of the Canadian U20 World Cup teams in 2004 and 2006, an alternate for Canada's 2008 Olympic team and a member of Canada's 2011 Women's World Cup squad. In college, Labbe was 2008 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year. Favorite Quote: "Life is a journey, not a destination" About me: I am a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason. We may not always know what that reason is, or where it came from, and thats not what is important. What's important is the journey we are on in life to become the absolute best version of ourself that we can be. I try to live every day knowing that where I am right now, in this moment is exactly where I am supposed to be.