Vashti Joseph is a jill-of-all-trades. She is the content creator for VeePeeJay.com, a digital strategist and consultant with VashtiAJoseph.com, and the owner of the lifestyle apparel brand Ven & Rose. Additionally, she has co-hosted the Bella Kinks meet up. Her resume is overflowing and her schedule is a wide mix of speaking engagements, strategy talks, writing, and creating new products for her line. On top of all of this, Vashti is a pro at getting out of her comfort zone. If this list of spectacular achievements seems glamorously unattainable, Vashti is here to tell you it’s not. Here, she gives us the secret to living the life that we deserve.
How did you find the courage to step outside of your comfort zone?
VJ: For me the courage comes from doing. For anyone reading this, who may be afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone, I know you may be thinking, “well how can I DO if I’m scared?” I can’t promise you that it will be easy, but I always ask myself if I’m willing to stay in the place where I’m comfortable or do I want to grow. My choice is always growth so even when I feel fear, I still move forward.
I also try not to overthink things too much. I used to be such an over thinker about almost everything. Now when someone offers me an opportunity that really scares me, I almost always say, “YES,” as long as it’s a good fit. The courage to step out of your comfort zone is almost like a muscle that you have to make the choice to exercise day-by-day, opportunity-by-opportunity.
How do you identify what your own comfort zone is in your life, and when it’s time to make a change?
VJ: At the risk of sounding repetitive or cliche, a comfort zone is just that, a safe, comfortable place that doesn’t challenge you. One of my favorite quotes is “a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.”
My comfort zone was being behind the scenes, away from the spotlight. My first effort at stepping out of that comfortable place happened when I made the decision to start my blog VeePeeJay.com and my YouTube channel. At the time, I thought that this was a big deal, because being on video and sharing my thoughts with the world via my blog were not what I was accustomed to.
A few years later I was asked to co-host local Dallas meet ups with my friend Julian of Bella Kinks. I was petrified, because in keeping with my behind the scenes/safe place, public speaking or hosting was something I would NEVER volunteer for. I initially tried to get out of hosting that first meet up, but I couldn’t. Looking back I can definitely say that this was the beginning of REALLY pushing myself far out of my comfort zone.
In a comfort zone... not only do you deprive yourself of growth and opportunities, but you also deprive others who would have been impacted, inspired or served if you did step out.
What can others do to push themselves through the discomfort or fear of trying something new?
VJ: I know from experience that we are often more concerned about the outcome of stepping out of our comfort zone, than the act itself.
“What if I try this new thing and I fail?” “I don’t want to look foolish” “What will people think if I fall flat on my face?” “This is too scary and uncomfortable and it isn’t what I’m used to. I think I’ll just play it safe”
I have found that changing my mindset, and my attachment to the outcome has helped me a lot. I no longer fear failure because I look at it as a learning experience. I still get uncomfortable, scared or nervous depending on the situation, but I do not allow those feelings to cripple me to the point where I don’t act.
Do you think there are risks associated with staying in your comfort zone?
VJ: There’s another quote that says “if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re probably not growing.” By staying within your comfort zone you really deprive yourself opportunities to grow in every area of your life.
Not only do you deprive yourself of growth and opportunities, but you also deprive others who would have been impacted, inspired or served if you did step out.
In that moment I made the decision that “failure" was not something that I would ever be fearful of again.
Are there any particularly memorable breakthrough moments you’ve had?
VJ: I think actually launching Ven & Rose (after thinking about it for really long time) was a really memorable moment for me. Not only was it different type of venture, it was something that was all mine, and a project that really pushed me to confront my fear of failing more than ever before.
I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous, but a few minutes after I launched, I got my first order. I knew that if I could get one, I definitely had what it takes to get many more. In that moment I made the decision that “failure" was not something that I would ever be fearful of again.