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Nothing Great Ever Happens in Your Comfort Zone

How many of you enjoy doing things that make you uncomfortable? My guess is not too many hands are shooting up in the air. If you're anything like me, you try to put off uncomfortable situations or tasks as long as possible. The problem with this is that if it's inevitable and can't be avoided forever, you cause yourself more anxiety by not doing the thing instead of just doing the damn thing.

Over the holidays, I received a daily calendar called UNF*CK YOURSELF with a motivational but blunt quote to start each day. I have received similar calendars in the past and usually remember to tear off the pages for the first few days, but then next thing I know, it's June 1, and January 17 is staring back at me. This calendar's direct and unfiltered approach made me excited to see what insight the next day would bring.

January 8, I awoke to this gem, "Nothing great ever happens in your comfort zone." I knew this to some degree but felt the strong desire to explore the idea more. How many things had I been putting off because it made me feel uncomfortable, and how was that lack of action taking away from creating the life I wanted?

On the one hand, I am pretty happy with my life and feel grateful for everything I have achieved. However, on the other hand, I have much more that I want to do in this life, and my biggest fear is not living up to my full potential. So, how do I face this fear and work towards becoming the best possible version of myself? That is the million-dollar question.

I decided the best way to begin this process was by making a list of things that made me uncomfortable because everything is figure-out-able with a list, right? So, I put pen to paper and listed anything and everything that I regularly encountered, which made my body tense at its thought. There were minor things (aka first world problems) like having to get up right when my alarm goes off in the morning and not being able to hit the snooze to stay in my warm, comfy bed for five more minutes (or more because, let's face it, I am a snooze addict!). Then, more significant things fit into the broader category of awkward situations I try to avoid at all costs because they are uncomfortable AF. For example, having a "difficult" conversation with someone or expressing my opinion when it differs from popular belief.

The thing that stuck out to me the most and affected my life in real-time was asking for help. Not for little things like bringing in horses from the field or changing blankets, but for big things that required other people's time, effort, and/or money. I have struggled with this throughout my life for multiple reasons. For instance, I never want to inconvenience people or feel like I'm burdening them, which stems from deeper issues that we don't need to get into right now. That coupled with my firm belief that I am a strong, capable, and independent woman makes for a lethal combo. Why should I ask for help when I'm perfectly capable of doing it myself?!

The harsh reality is that I don't have the time, energy, or money to do all the things, all the time. No one does, and no one should. Once you accept this truth, it is less painful to relinquish some control, put ego aside, and ask for the support you need. Of course, this is easier said than done, but here's what helped me...

  1. Make a clear ask. What do you need in this exact moment? Don't beat around the bush...get to the point.

    1. Right now, I need support to make my dreams of competing at Badminton and Burghley this year a reality. Taking a horse overseas is a massive time, energy, and money commitment. I can't do it alone, and I am asking Team Barry fans for anything they can contribute, and it doesn't have to be financial. I'm all about finding creative ways to make things happen. Maybe you have a product or service that you could donate for me to auction off, which I can then use the proceeds towards the trip. Or perhaps you have a connection to an equestrian brand that would be interested in some form of sponsorship. There are endless opportunities to achieve something when people work together towards a goal.

  2. Solidify your why. What is the deeper purpose behind your ask?

    1. I'm a small-town girl from Wisconsin with an ordinary background, and as much as I knew from a young age I wanted to ride at Kentucky, I understood I would need to work extremely hard and be persistent to make my 5* goals a reality. I want to inspire other riders to pursue their dreams and show them what is possible with dedication. Also, the partnership between horse and rider has always been important to me. My horse, Corvett (aka Barry), was always talented but very quirky, so no one was able to showcase his full abilities before I bought him. I knew he was special, and it was my mission to bring that out in him. I think it's safe to say he is a phenomenal athlete and that we have an extraordinary partnership together. I hope this can encourage others to see greatness in their horses and learn to bring it out through patience and some good old TLC.

  3. Create value for others. How can your ask be mutually beneficial?

    1. As I said earlier, I hope that following my dreams will inspire others to do the same. Also, I understand my responsibility to myself, my horse, and everyone who has helped get me across the pond to put in my best possible performance at these prestigious events. I want all Team Barry supporters to feel like they are a part of something bigger when I'm galloping across the English countryside and riding proudly for the U.S.A. Additionally, I will be sharing my experiences while overseas through more blog posts and social media updates so that everyone can feel like they are a part of the ride!

After all of this, I think it is important to note I have had many people help me throughout the years, and I wouldn't be where I am today without the support of others. However, the support I have gotten so far has been freely given, and I have not had to ask for it. Even though asking for help still makes me uncomfortable, I am pushing past it to seek greatness. So, I am asking you to be a part of Team Barry in any way that works for you because teamwork truly does make the dream work, and together, we can do great things!

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Alexis Kletjian
Alexis Kletjian
Mar 21, 2022

Post: Blog2_Post
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