Continuing to work through the discussion guide about “Why Quilts Matter“, today I want to focus on:
Given the variety of fabrics and notions available today, what would it take to move you out of your comfort zone to try a new style?
This resonates deeply with me, because I can find myself very, very scared of change. And let’s face it, there are only a few things that are certain in life: change and death (OK, OK, and maybe taxes, too). So I have tried to learn how to recognize when I am feeling very scared when faced with an unexpected something new or different in my life… and the outcome is that I am slowly becoming more adventurous and open to actively seeking out new experiences.
I went looking for advice on how to become comfortable with discomfort, which is what is necessary in order to step outside of our comfort zones, and I found an article called Discomfort Zone: How to Master the Universe that has 5 pieces of advice for starting to master discomfort:
- Pick something that’s not hard. When you were new to quilting, did you jump right in and master paper piecing, free motion quilting, and hand stitching your binding on your first quilt? Probably not. I would also recommend selecting something that interests you, if you can.
- Just do a little. You don’t have to start by doing a queen sized quilt. Make one block. Sew one seam…
- Push out of your comfort zone, a little. The suggestion here is that when you get the urge to stop, or quit, or get up, don’t; when the urge happens again; don’t, when the urge happens the third time, it is time to move on.
- Watch the discomfort.Watch yourself as you get a bit uncomfortable — are you starting to complain (internally)? Are you looking for ways to avoid it? Where do you turn to? What happens if you stay with it, and don’t do anything?
- Smile.This is not trivial advice. If you can smile while being uncomfortable, you can learn to be happy with discomfort, with practice.
By and large, I have to say that I admire this quilting community. I watch as you consistently approach something new and step outside of your comfort zone to tackle a new technique for a block for your swap or friend, to challenge yourself in quilt swaps, to eagerly anticipate learning something new in a class, and to do it with grace an humor. Are there keys to setting up an environment that allows you to step out of a comfort zone and try something new?