From the Desk of Nettio Designs Issue No. 3
It all started when my dad asked if any of us would like to go zip-lining in redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains over New Year’s. A friend of his had been and he thought it might be fun to go.
“Sure,” I said, figuring it would be a good adventure to end the year on a positive note. My husband Adam and I had been zip-lining once before in Hawaii and while I’d been a bit nervous at first, by the end I loved it so much I was volunteering to zip first. I figured, how different could this time be?
My mom and my two sisters refused to go so my dad, Adam and I made a reservation for the morning of New Years Eve.
Our zip lining trip started out innocently enough with a gear introduction and your standard safety brief.
“Don’t touch your gear, we’ll do that for you.”
“Don’t worry, you’re always strapped in.”
“These ropes can hold two elephants worth of weight.”
We did a quick practice zip to learn correct form and braking and then it was time for the first zip.
It was at this point that I started to get nervous. To get to the first zipline platform, you had to cross a rickety-looking rope bridge over to a seemingly small circular platform attached around the trunk of a very large redwood tree 30 feet in the air.
Now let me take this moment to say that heights and I? Not exactly friends. I don’t hate them, but hiking around the rim of the Grand Canyon made me more than a little nervous, and I’m certainly not planning to be sign up to for bungie jumping or skydiving any time soon.
So the thought of crossing that bridge made me more than a little nervous. And by the time I’d hurriedly walked crossed, my hands were shaking and I was starting to think that maybe this wasn’t the best idea.
And then I looked around and realized just how small the platform was and just how high we really were. And the first few zip lines were only going to get higher, with zip #3 maxing out at a whopping 140 feet above the ground.
Have I mentioned these circular platforms couldn’t have stuck out maybe more than maybe 5 feet from the tree?
By this point my brain was screaming at me, “ABORT, ABORT, TURN AROUND WHILE YOU STILL CAN! If you think THIS height is bad, it’s only going to get WORSE!”
But everyone else in our small group seemed to be fine and I didn’t want to be the lone person to take the chicken exit back to solid ground. So I hugged the tree a little tighter (literally) and reminded myself that it was going to be ok, that I’m strapped in and the guides most likely wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t think it was safe.
Then it came time for the first zip. And this is when I realized that in order to get strapped into the zipline, I would have to stand on a very small stool at the very edge of the platform overlooking the ground 30 feet below.
I was scared. Majorly freaking out inside may be a better description. But I’d committed, so I forged ahead with the first zipline.
Hand on brake, feet up & here we go. No turning back now right?
I made it to the next platform and you know what? It wasn’t that bad. It was maybe even a little fun.
Then came the second zipline. And by the time I’d finished with the 3rd and tallest/fastest zipline of the bunch, I had a pretty big grin on my face. 140 feet in the air and all.
With each zipline, my confidence grew. I started looking around more and hugging the tree a little less. Admiring just how pretty the trees were. I even took some photos with my phone (being careful not to drop it into the forest below).
Sure I still wished our guide would strap me in a little faster so I didn’t have to stand overlooking the edge for very long.
But by the time we got to our 7th or 8th zipline, I didn’t want the trip to end. And if you ask me if I’d do it all over again, I totally would.
This is what happens when you step outside your comfort zone.
Your brain’s instinct is to keep you safe. To stay the course. To stick with what you know because it’s safer & easier.
But with each step further you take outside your comfort zone, things get a little easier. Your body starts to relax and your confidence grows. You start to think, “Hey, maybe I can do this.” Before you know it you’re looking back and admiring how far you’ve come. And by the end you’re high-fiving someone from the rush that comes with the realization that “Hey, I CAN do this!”
Stepping outside your creative comfort zone works the same way. Which is why challenging your creative assumptions of what you think you’re capable of is so important to creatively capturing your life adventures.
Because that little voice inside your head is going to try to protect you in it’s own misguided way.
It’s going to tell you that you don’t have the skills. That you can’t scrap the way so-and-so does. That you aren’t creative enough.
But that little voice is wrong. And to prove it to yourself, you have to ignore that voice and push outside your comfort zone in spite of your fear. Because that’s when the magic happens. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Sure, I could have turned around at the sign of the first scary bridge. But then I wouldn’t have this awesome life adventure and smiling photo to share with you would I? Even with a 2nd scary bridge looming in the distance…
And that’s exactly what creatively capturing your life adventures is all about.
Now It’s Your Turn
Your mission this week is to step outside your comfort zone and challenge a creative assumption of your own.
What’s something related to your scrapbooking that you don’t feel you’re capable of doing? That makes you feel a little bit nervous at the thought of actually doing it? Think scrapbooking a layout in a style completely opposite of your own, trying a new technique or scrapping a topic you normally wouldn’t.
Then email me or leave a comment on this blog post and let me know how it went. Did you experience moments of doubt? Did the process feel uncomfortable at all? How do you feel now that you’ve challenged this creative assumption? Are you ready to high-five someone in a totally dorky air-five yet?
I’ll be challenging myself to confront a creative assumption of my own this week (can we say white space? eek!) and I’ll be back next week to share my experience. I’ll see you then!
This post is Issue No 3 of my From The Desk of Nettio Designs weekly email series. Want to get in on the action? Sign up for Nettio Designs emails here.