Emily Garcia Of Tribe Mind Body Wellness On How to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone To Grow Both Personally and Professionally
An Interview with Maria Angelova
Starting a business is a daring venture that pushes anyone out of their comfort zone. It requires taking calculated risks, making crucial decisions, and navigating a dynamic and competitive landscape. As an entrepreneur, I ventured into uncharted territory, leaving behind the security of traditional employment at my W2 job and embraced the uncertainties and opportunities that came with owning and running a business.
It feels most comfortable to stick with what we are familiar with. But anyone who has achieved great success will tell you that true growth comes from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. What are some ways that influential people have pushed themselves out of their comfort zone to grow both personally and professionally? As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Garcia.
Emily Garcia is a mental health therapist, as well as founder and owner of Tribe Mind Body Wellness, which is a counseling and wellness company. She has an incredible team of therapists who support children, teens, adults, and couples. Emily is passionate about the work she does to help others. She is always looking for ways to support people to find belonging by hosting wellness retreats, workshops, groups, and a podcast “SoulStirred: Stories of Growth and the Human Experience,” which will launch in January of 2024. Find more about Emily here: www.tribemindbody.com
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
My childhood was tarnished by the presence of an abusive stepfather. Growing up in such a harmful environment, I faced countless challenges. However, when I was 15 years old, a pivotal moment in my life prompted me to take action, setting off a series of events that would ultimately change my life for the better. I knew I couldn’t continue keeping a secret that wasn’t mine to keep. After calling 911 to report the abuse for the first time, Police and Child Welfare agreed, and I was removed from my home.
This marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one filled with both uncertainty and hope. It was at this point that my older sister, who was only 23 herself, stepped in to become my kinship foster mother. Her decision to take me under her wing would prove to be a turning point in my life.
Despite her young age, my sister took on the role of guardian, mentor, and protector. She knew exactly what I needed — love, support, and a structure. Her guidance was unwavering, and she kept a close eye on me, ensuring that I was safe and thriving. Her presence and support became the bedrock of my transformation. It was at that time that I went to therapy for the first time. My first therapist, Fran helped me to change my perception of my life and make better decisions that would help my future
Under my sister’s watchful care, Fran’s support, and the love and guidance of my siblings and other adults, I began to rebuild my life. The turmoil of my earlier years had taken a toll on my academic performance, but with help, my grades began to improve. The adults in my life gave me encouragement and showed me their belief in my potential. This was a driving force in my journey. I started to dream again, to think about my future, and to set goals for myself. Meanwhile, I testified against my stepfather in court and he was convicted on three counts and sentenced to almost two decades in prison.
My journey from a childhood marked by abuse to a future filled with joy and opportunity is a testament to the support of loved ones. Through the darkness of my past, I emerged as a survivor, determined to build a better life. My sister’s unwavering support and belief in me played a pivotal role in this transformation. My story is a reminder that even in the face of adversity, we can find strength, reclaim our lives, and build a brighter future.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Maya Angelou’s quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” holds significant importance to me for several reasons. This quote underscores the immense impact of our interactions with others. It reminds me that the words we say and the actions we take may fade from memory, but the emotions and feelings we evoke in people endure. It emphasizes the importance of empathy and genuine connection in our relationships. It highlights the importance of being compassionate, understanding, and supportive in my interactions with friends, family, and loved ones.
Professionally, it reminds me that the quality of our work and the outcomes we achieve are crucial, but equally important is how we make our colleagues, clients, and coworkers feel during our work together. Positive and meaningful interactions in the workplace foster trust and build strong, lasting relationships.
None of us are perfect, but if we work to be better human beings all of the time, we can positively impact those around us.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I love reading and listening to podcasts.. It’s hard to choose just one book or podcast that sums it up. So, I will give a few:
- Signs by Laura Lynn Jackson. My father passed away earlier this year and this book made me realize that even though his human body is no longer here, I am still incredibly connected to him.
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is a book about how the tiniest changes and habits can create a huge impact on our lives. This book breaks down all that we can do to improve our lives in such small, but influential ways.
- The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu & Douglas Carlton Abrams helps to bring the suffering that we all experience into perspective. Joy is such an important part of the human experience!
- The School of Greatness podcast by Lewis Howes. He brings on fantastic guests and discusses things that are help to make our lives better.
- The Mel Robbins Podcast. Mel looks at life events and gives a new perspective to help people change their mindset.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s start with a basic definition so that all of us are on the same page. What does “getting outside of your comfort zone” mean?
We crave the things that we repeatedly do. When you do things that are new, you can feel uncomfortable in the beginning, so the trick is to do something over and over until it becomes comfortable.
On any given day, we are presented with the choice of remaining snuggled up within the familiarity of our comfort zone. This sanctuary of our habits is a place where our routines and predictable practices unfold. While it may provide a sense of security and contentment, it can also serve as a place of discomfort and stagnation. There are instances when venturing beyond this comfort zone becomes essential for our overall well-being and personal growth. All of that to say that getting out of our comfort zone means that we do things that we wouldn’t normally do. This can be big or small things, i.e. trying out something new at the gym or traveling alone to a new place.
Can you help articulate a few reasons why it is important to get out of your comfort zone?
The comfort zone often holds individual’s hostage in situations that are detrimental to their physical, emotional, and psychological health. People may linger in unhealthy relationships, suffer through toxic professional environments, maintain unhealthy dietary habits that leave them feeling unwell, or hesitate to pursue their dreams.
When we muster the courage to take those initial, tentative steps beyond the boundaries of our comfort zone, we begin to acclimatize to the sensation of discomfort. Interestingly, by repeatedly venturing outside our comfort zone,, we broaden the scope of what we consider to be comfortable.. Although stepping out of your comfort zone is initially challenging, it eventually provides a profound sense of fulfillment, creating more personal growth and self-discovery.
Anything that we don’t normally do, even if it is good for you, can cause discomfort. The discomfort can make you think something is bad for you, even if it isn’t. So, we have to learn how to be uncomfortable.
Is it possible to grow without leaving your comfort zone? Can you explain what you mean?
Of course, it is possible to grow while in your comfort zone, but it isn’t probable. You may be fortunate and able to steadily continue whatever you’re doing with success. But, in my experience, people can become stagnant and even regress if they don’t step outside of their comfort zone.
When we get uncomfortable, we are forced to do things that are new. It is when we do something new that we grow, gain new perspectives, and increase our knowledge. Staying in the comfort zone is often associated with a fear of taking risks. When people avoid taking risks, they miss out on opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Remaining in one’s comfort zone might lead to a sense of underachievement and missed opportunities. Over time, this can erode self-esteem and self-confidence, further discouraging individuals from venturing outside their comfort zone. People may start to think that they aren’t capable of doing anything more than what they have already done. And, that’s a sad way to live.
Can you share some anecdotes from your personal experience? Can you share a story about a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone and how it helped you grow? How does it feel to take those first difficult steps?
I was well into my 30’s before I finally realized how good it was for me to step outside of my comfort zone. Prior to that, I had only occasionally purposely left my comfort zone.. However, in my mid-30’s, I went through a divorce that I hadn’t anticipated and didn’t want. It left me a single mom of two young children. I was devastated, but it was during that time that I personally grew leaps and bounds beyond what I had previously thought possible. I realized that I had been comfortable and content with my life. When I was in fact, leaving a lot on the table. There were opportunities available to me that I was passing up because I didn’t even realize they were there. When I was forced to get outside of my comfort zone and feel my feelings, I grew in my compassion for myself and others. In the meantime, I began to have doors open up to me for professional opportunities that I wouldn’t have even noticed before.
What are your “five ways to push past your comfort zone, to grow both personally and professionally”?
1.Decide that you will create a new story about who you are and what you can do!
- Going through my divorce was a major life upheaval, forcing me to adapt to a new reality. The process involved a myriad of emotional, financial, and logistical challenges. Coping with the end of a marriage made me confront uncertainty, face difficult decisions, create a new story about who I was, and rebuild my life.
2. Embrace Uncertainty
- Starting a business is a daring venture that pushes anyone out of their comfort zone. It requires taking calculated risks, making crucial decisions, and navigating a dynamic and competitive landscape. As an entrepreneur, I ventured into uncharted territory, leaving behind the security of traditional employment at my W2 job and embraced the uncertainties and opportunities that came with owning and running a business.
3. Take Risks & Work on Your Mindset
- As my business grew and continued to grow, I have encountered various obstacles, such as managing increased responsibilities, scaling operations, and continually creating a mindset of abundance about the possibilities that were in front of me. Each step of growth has demanded flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from both successes and setbacks. This continuous process of expansion has pushed me to challenge my comfort zone, fostering personal and professional development.
4. Know That Life is a Teacher
- The unexpected loss of my father was a profound emotional shock. Grief is a profoundly challenging and personal experience, and navigating this process compelled me to confront deeply uncomfortable emotions and adapt to a life-altering change. Coping with such a loss demanded that I reevaluate my life’s priorities and directions. I was able to learn about myself in the midst of the loss and this has helped me understand others in a more profound way, which can only help me personally and professionally.
5. Continually Work to Improve Through Personal Development
- The commitment to personal development through reading signifies a proactive choice to broaden my horizons and challenge my existing knowledge and beliefs. This ongoing pursuit of knowledge encourages me to explore new ideas, question my assumptions, and adapt to an ever-evolving world. Reading stimulates personal growth by pushing me to think critically, expand my perspective, and embrace new challenges and opportunities.
From your experience or perspective, what are some of the common barriers that keep someone from pushing out of their comfort zone?
Fear! Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and fear of success can keep people in their comfort zone. I know, the last one sounds crazy. Who would be scared of success? But, the reality is that success can mean that our life will change and that sounds scary!
There is a well-known quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt that says, “Do something that scares you every day”. What exactly does this mean to you? Is there inherent value in doing something that pushes you out of your comfort zone, even if it does not relate to personal or professional growth? For example, if one is uncomfortable about walking alone at night should they purposely push themselves to do it often for the sake of going beyond their comfort zone? Can you please explain what you mean?
Doing something that scares you on a regular basis is directly associated with personal and potentially professional growth. With that said, this does not mean that you should ignore your gut or you intuition and put yourself in dangerous situations. First and foremost, you have to trust yourself if something doesn’t feel right. Beyond that, doing things as simple as driving a different route that we aren’t familiar with, volunteering to get up and speak at work, or allowing your child a little bit of independence, are all examples of how you can do something that scares you.
When you take chances and do new things, it can feel scary. The cool thing is that if you stick with it and continually challenge yourself, you develop grit and grit is part of what gets you through even bigger and harder times. Other advantages of doing scary things are that you learn to adapt and can maneuver tough situations and you also build confidence. Who doesn’t want to be more confident?!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I want people to feel seen and heard. So many people feel like they don’t quite belong anywhere. My life’s work is to give people the space to show up and be who they are.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I follow Sara Blakely on social media and am continually impressed by her. She is of course an innovative and successful business woman, but she also doesn’t take herself too seriously. She seems like she would be a blast to have lunch with because she appears to be fun, funny, has a good soul, and is a philanthropist.
How can our readers follow you online?
My website is: www.tribemindbody.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at [email protected]. To schedule a free consultation, click here.
Emily Garcia Of Tribe Mind Body Wellness On How to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone To Grow Both… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.