Challenges allow you to see what you can do.

comfort zone 3089646 1280“I’ve learned in my life that it’s important to be able to step outside your comfort zone and be challenged with something you’re not familiar or accustomed to. That challenge will allow you to see what you can do.” J. R. Martinez

A few years ago, as a surprise to my mom for her 75th birthday, I took her on a special trip to Trinidad. It was perfect in every way – except for one tiny detail. When I got to the rental car, I noticed something I wasn’t expecting. The steering wheel was on the “wrong” side of the car. Tentatively, I asked the agent, “What side of the road do you drive on here.” and he let me know that I would be driving on the left – for the first time ever.

At that moment, I wanted to change my mind about this whole driving thing. Don’t they have Uber here? (No.) Wouldn’t a cab be easier? (No.) With a knot in my stomach, I got behind the wheel, took a deep breath, and drove. My mother only had to remind me three or four times, “left, left, left!”

It wouldn’t have been so bad if the Waze app didn’t choose the mountain pass – the scenic route – to get us to our destination. The roads are very narrow, not in great condition, and there are huge ditches on each side, just waiting to swallow up economy-sized rental cars. All that – and it was raining. It was definitely a “baptism by fire.”

I had several goals for driving – keep mom safe, see as much of the island as possible, and return the car unscathed to the rental car agency. Thankfully, I’m happy to report that I accomplished all three goals.

So what happens when you are scared to death of something new or unexpected? Do you go ahead, throw caution to the wind, and embark on a potentially exciting new endeavor? Or do you choose the safer, saner, more comfortable option?

What’s the lesson for this week? Sometimes you’ve just gotta go for it!

PS – Although this is not the video I took, it’s a better showing of one of the many amazing experiences my mother and I experienced, the red ibis returning to the Caroni Swamp:

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