Nothing Great Ever Happens in Your Comfort Zone

portrait shoot, creative mentor, stylist, carla coulson, mentor, personal branding, fashion inspired portrait

portrait shoot, creative mentor, stylist, carla coulson, mentor, personal branding, fashion inspired portrait

All Photos Copyright of Carla Coulson

Ciao Bella,

I have been away for a while and really missed you.

One of the greatest things about getting away is seeing life with new eyes, feeling, experiencing and meeting new people and getting out of my comfort zone.

What actually is a comfort zone??? It can be so many things, it’s when life is easy, when each day you go about life you know well, when you meet the same people, go to the same places, drive the same car and have more or less the same experiences.

Nothing pushes you or provokes you. Your feathers aren’t ruffled in your comfort zone, your thoughts aren’t provoked, your patience aren’t tested and your experiences aren’t growing.

I like to think I am an expert on comfort zones because that was how I lived my life prior to becoming a photographer. I drove the same car to the same office to speak with the same clients and to sell them the same clothes I had for the previous 13 years. I passed by the same take-away place ordered the same dish each night and on the weekends hooked up with my family and the same friends (still love them).

My life had got to a point where it was flat lining and my comfort zone was no longer comfortable it was choking me to death, one comfortable day at a time.

Travel is one of the great catalysts to get us out of our comfort zone. This summer I visited two different islands of Greece, Sifnos and Serifos and many things have happened in the world in the last couple of years and this year tourism to Greece seems to have grown. On each island we were unable to rent a car or motorbike.

The first time the news was delivered to us was late at night when we arrived tired and hungry on Sifnos to be told there were no cars or bikes to rent and the taxis weren’t available.

I did what any self-respecting girl who is used to playing outside of her comfort zone would do, I photographed the bus schedule and then we jumped on the bus with our luggage and headed off into the unknown. Instead of freaking out, tired as we were we decided not to let this become a ‘bad’ experience but to let it be a part of the adventure.



The bus slowed our pace down to what I really needed and as I knew I couldn’t just jump on our bike at any time and go anywhere at any time, it was totally relaxing.  Instead on the bus I had time to think, to see and to reflect. I had time to dream big and plan all the wonderful things I want to do in this life.

There was no stress where to park it (hey not our problem), where to go and instead it reminded me of the importance of community and how keeping it real gives us the greatest gift of all – connection.

In our quest to understand how the buses worked, where they went, where we needed to stand, we were forced to connect with other souls who had been thrown into the same situation.



If we had a rented a bike or a car we probably would have avoided chatting with others but instead we made delightful new friends, had some good laughs at ourselves and adored rattling around on these old gals.

When the bus became too hot and heavy we walked the ancient paths and found the authenticity of Greece I love. We snuggled cats, old ladies who pointed us in the right direction, saw beautiful chapels and felt part of this beautiful place.

Getting out of your comfort zone even it is as simple as taking a bus or walking a new path when you are not feeling like it or it isn’t something you would normally do is adding to your life experiences.

Yes, that annoying prickly feeling of doing something you may not want to do is actually a positive and if you embrace it you never know what might come from it.

One of the greatest first steps to making big changes in your life is stepping out of your comfort zone. Taking a different road to work, ordering a different sandwich for lunch, going to a dance lesson you were too afraid to do, walking across the room and saving someone looking and feeling awkward.

portrait shoot, creative mentor, stylist, carla coulson, mentor, personal branding, fashion inspired portrait

We have the power to decide how we are going to act when things we ‘perceive’ are going wrong, to throw a tantrum or embrace it and see where it takes you.

If you feel like your life is flat-lining you can add a little spice by doing the following:

  1. Speak to someone you have never bothered to
  2. Smile and say hello to each person you cross paths in on your way to work
  3. Take a dance, karate, photography or language course
  4. Get off a couple of stops early and walk a couple of blocks extra to work
  5. Change something, anything that has become a routine in your life.

Life will reward you with a little magic and possibly the greatest gift of all, human connection.


Ps. If you want to stay in touch jump on my workshop list because a new workshop that will really take you out of your comfort zone is coming soon.

Check out my Portrait Lightroom Presets here.

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