Many years ago, I worked for the Air Force. My job was accounting, or rather collecting monies for delinquent accounts and bounced checks. To this day, and it's been almost twenty years, I can still recite the regulations I had to follow pertaining to collecting monies. Why? Because I knew the desk inside and out. And when a new regulation or policy came along, I was usually the first to challenge it, because I hated change. Because I hated stepping out of my comfort zone. But the Air Force called it progress, keeping up with the times to make the mission run smoother. Sometimes, the change was for the better. Other times, it wasn't.
Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, I still find it hard to step out of comfort zones. Sometimes, I don't have a choice, and I'll stubbornly refuse to do so until I absolutely have to. It's usually then I find I can do something different and the result was better than I first thought it would be. In other words, I amaze myself and wonder why I'd balked in the first place. My latest 'shedding of a comfort zone' came when I went into self-publishing.
Back when I began writing and then found a publisher, I was happy to write the story and let the publisher take care of the rest; the editing, the cover art, placing the book on various sites. Some of that work didn't interest me, especially designing covers. I honestly didn't believe I could do it, mostly because I'm not artistic. I can't draw a straight line with a ruler and my people are stick people. But when I was faced with the decision to either find a new publisher or self-publish, I chose self-publishing, because finding a new publisher meant stepping out of the comfort zone with my previous publisher and starting over with a new one. Not that self-publishing was any better, but at least with self-publishing I could move forward quicker.
I jumped right in with the editing and the uploading files and the cover art and found, to my surprise, that not only could I design cover art, I actually liked designing it. Playing with photographs and colors and fonts in a little box is exciting, rewarding, and a never-ending learning experience. I'm in awe at the things a computer can do with the click of a button. Sometimes, I'll throw a photo on the screen and just play with it for hours. And to think, if I hadn't been forced out of one comfort zone, I'd never be where I am now; in another comfort zone that's always changing. But they're changes I embrace, unlike when I worked for the Air Force.