“Do one thing every day that scares you.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
We got out of our Honda Pilot near the trailhead to one of our favorite hikes – one of the busiest, most beautiful hikes 30 minutes out of the city: Eagle Creek trail in the Columbia River Gorge. I pulled out the bright pink spandex pants, took one last look around and slipped on the tight fitting bun-huggers.
Now I would be outside of my comfortable box for the next 3 hours as hundreds of regular hikers would look, laugh and comment on the tight fitting bright pink pants I had on.
Some people would just come out and say “those pants are amazing” or “I wish I had them.” Some would just have that startled look and wouldn’t say much until you hear them mumble something 50 yards away.
I’m not quite sure what everyone was thinking, but know I was only second in popularity that day to the guys who had a wire across the river canyon, balancing and doing yoga 800 feet above the rivers surface. I hope this story and post inspires you to break down your box and step out of your comfort zone. It could possibly help you grow or at least see things from a new perspective, which can only improve your life.
Why Pink Spandex Pants
This story started 6 months ago for me when I discovered blogging and building a website. I realized right away that I loved it and was super passionate about it. I don’t remember which book or blog post it was that I read, but the author basically said that a good way to get out of the box is to do this; Go into a crowded coffee shop and lay on the floor for 1 minute and don’t say a word. Then get up and walk away.
This is something that would not be easy for me. Like Elanor Roosevelt’s quote above. These are the periods when you grow as a person. I had made it a goal, to do this act and go “All in” on my online business. Yesterday, I did it my own way, but think it was every bit as powerful as the coffee shop example.
Weird clothes are totally normal for many people where I am from (Portland, OR). Ever hear of “Keep Portland Weird?” But, that’s not me: I am the fishing, hunting, hiking, camping dude who has 2 young kids and has always been pretty reserved in public.
Megan, my partner on the other hand is the opposite. The night before our hike, as we were talking about our plan for a local hiking group, she brought up the fact that she had these pink pants. We talked about pink pants vs a skin colored body suit. Maybe the skin tight body suit for the next hike?
The Pink Spandex Feel
My shot at being weird! The person that everyone is looking and laughing at. It felt alkword at first, but by the end of the trail hike I was more comfortable in the pants than I thought I would have been. The tight spandex is actually pretty comfortable and even a little refreshing.
As people hiked past us I didn’t give a reaction most of the time. A couple of times I smiled, but mostly just acted like everything was normal – I left it to them to figure out why some dude would be wearing pink pants.
By the time I got back to the car, I was feeling pretty good. There were a few strangers near our car looking and probably wondering what a guy with a female partner, a toddler and a 4 month old baby would be doing wearing these pants.
But, as soon as I put my green REI light cargo pants over the bright stretch pants, the curiosity would end for everyone. Now we were just a normal family, in a normal SUV, packing up the kids to head home. We were back to being normal just like everyone else.
What I Gained
So, it was a little scary, fun and refreshing to put on bright pink pants and do a 3 hour hike…. but it was also empowering. From this silly “exercise” in clownery, I was able to break the shackles off and try out a more free version of myself.
It started with a decision to try something new and scary. I chose something that would tickle my partner because, frankly, we need some humor in or personal lives. It definitely impressed her, which is a huge bonus for me and or relationship.
But, the best part is that this decision + action will ripple out and start a small revolution in my being: a movement towards positive change that broadens my experience on this planet.
Your Call to Action
It wasn’t that bad. It was scary at first, but felt so much better afterwards. So, I send this off to you and ask you if you have done something that scares you today? Are you stuck in a rut and need something to shake it up. I’m not saying that wearing pink pants for a trail hike is your thing.
Find that thing that scares you or allows you to step out of the box. Do it today or tomorrow or this week, but plan on doing it. You will feel so much better for it.
This is easier for me today than it would have been 3 years ago because I have a partner who lives for this type of stuff, two young kids that love when we laugh and a new business that benefits from my getting outside of the box.
Look at this blog post if you are interested in taking a glimpse at how the last three years of my life has rolled out. It hasn’t all been fun and games, but I have learned and grown a lot. I have had a few huge wins during this time including quitting chewing tobacco.
I have never been the type of guy to wear tight fitting bright pink spandex pants. Especially not for a trail hike. But, I did it because I wanted to get outside of my comfort zone. I did it for Megan, for our two girls and for my new business. I hope you get a little inspiration to get out of your comfort zone soon.
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If you have been outside, scared yourself today or plan on doing something different this month, leave a comment below. If you have your own pink spandex pants story, share it here. Or just click on the Facebook or Twitter link above to share my story with others.