Not that long ago, I chat with my sister-in-law.

To say my sister-in-law is a wonderful person would be an understatement. She’s all things good in this world. So I will give her the moniker of “Mary Tyler Moore.” She’s all sunshine and blue skies.

“MTM” and I have a fair amount of similarities. I would say we don’t really dig change and like keeping things status quo (among other things). This makes us, shall we say risk adverse.

“I jumped out of a plane,” says “MTM.”

Of course, I laugh because there’s no way “Mary Tyler Moore” jumped outta any plane especially if it was up in the sky rather than on the ground.

Now, my brother, the risk taker who is as close to a saint as this Catholic girl has ever met is another story. The saint part comes from enduring a life of four sisters. So essentially like every good Irish Catholic family he is ‘our’ saint. My brother – the firefighting, motorcycle riding, skydiving daredevil would absolutely jump.

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“MTM” not on your life or hers.

“Col, I really did jump out of a plane,” says “Mary Tyler Moore.”

“What????” I say. “Are you kidding me?! I’m not sure whether to be impressed and proud of you or whether this should be sending me into a full-fledged identity crisis!”

Because let’s be honest, unless you are Bear Grylls or Miley Cyrus who the heck chooses to venture outside their comfort zone? Risk takers are far too dangerous for the average bear.

The rest of us get forced out of our proverbial comfort zones.

So as you can more than likely tell, I am in quite the conundrum.

When my brother jumped out of a plane I was like, “Of course he did, but I don’t have to do that. He’s my brave brother. He fights fires for Pete’s sake. I just call 911. I am the anxiety-ridden younger sister. The worrier. The baby of the family. No one expects the baby to jump out of a plane. The family keeps the baby safe from the otherwise friendly skies. Save the baby!”

“MTM” upped the ante. I mean, I don’t want to jump out of a plane but she’s my otherwise counterpart. If she’s brave enough to do it, shouldn’t I be that bold?

How do I step up or step out?

Elicit the help of a friend:

If you really want to try something new find someone who will take off with you and push you out of the proverbial aircraft. Organize tandem (I am a pun magnet) adventures and tackle whatever activity pushes you way past your current comfort zone. If need be, start off small and work towards the more ambitious reckless, I mean goal worthy new pursuits.

A friend can make the new ‘excitement’ shall we say more distracting and less daunting. They act as a bravery booster shot. They help you laugh in the face of fear I mean fun.

Announce it to the world:

We all know, that once you put it out there, you have put yourself out there. You are now accountable for the fantom mountain which otherwise, you had zero intention of climbing. Facebook friends are going to message you. They will inquire about how that new degree is coming? How that return to the workforce has worked out for you? How Dr. Oz’s diet is truly transforming your otherwise sedentary bod?

You get the point. The quintessential arrow is now pointing at you. You must move out of your comfort zone because you have taunted the ‘Gladys Kravitz of social media’ and they are watching.

Write it down:

I know, this sounds so non-threatening. Big deal. Jot a bit of ink on a piece of paper. Who cares. The world doesn’t know what’s scribbled between the journal pages tucked underneath your mattress. Here’s the thing. Once you write it down, you know it to be truth. It’s a weird internal prophecy. It haunts you. It must now happen. Even more fascinating? Add a date and it will increase the likelihood of happening.

For instance, “Colleen somehow loses her mind and jumps out of an otherwise safe aircraft by October 2017.” Maybe I should have used another example.

Call a counselor:

You had to see this one counseling, I mean coming. For instance, do you really think I am going to jump out of an airplane without a bit of pre-phobia talk down? Seriously, facing fears and moving towards heights we never imagined possible may require some couch time. It can be extremely beneficial to determine why we are afraid of tearing down the walls of comfort and scaling the heights of comfortably uncomfortable.

If you are terrified of heights, small spaces, etc. call a phobia specialist.

Team up with a specialist:

If you are complacent about a daring escapade, research the best experts in that particular field. Take a class with them, attend one of their lectures, do a one-on-one consult – whatever it takes to necessitate their actualizing your risk alarm. The act of  being with those beyond your comfort zone? Shall we say their comforting will soon make you comfortable there?

Suddenly, being in a new space seems magnificent not menacing.

Be inspired by others:

Well, I think you must have seen this one coming.

“MTM” certainly left me in a quandary. My internal jump out of my comfort zone meter vacillated between “Good for “MTM” I don’t want to be that brave – to – Holy Cow “MTM” did it how can I not be that brave?!”

To the cowardly visions of hiring a photographer who would shoot me next to a very sexy skydiving beast of an airplane in full parachute garb which I would brazenly showcase at the next family gathering.


There are many paths to forcing ourselves to be uncomfortable enough with life to experience it more fully. Sometimes, however, surrounding ourselves with those who surprise and motivate us can be the best inspiration. They serve as the quintessential reminders to kick our world up a notch.

It is sky surfing  “Mary Tyler Moore” meets Bear Grylls and Miley Cyrus. 

And introduces them to comfortably land-locked  big baby.

(My sisters and sister-in-law “MTM” to the left of me)

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