There are many instances in my life where I have felt like a fish out of water.

I recall one Sunday morning church service in Richmond Virginia where I attended a pentecostal holiness service at an all African American and mostly female church. While I did not feel uncomfortable because of race, the prolonged free style worship was new to me and at times, made feel like an outsider.

Two years ago, my husband took me skeet shooting at a local sporting club. I had to be instructed on how to hold the gun, where to point it, when to pull etc. My lack of familiarity with fire arms of all kinds, as well as my inexperience with such sport, certainly made me feel like I didn’t belong.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I took my brother and his girlfriend on a short hike. His girlfriend was born and raised in Florida, and this was her first hike. I am confident she felt at times, uncomfortable as we flew down the path toward  the rocky overlook.

We have all had experiences where we felt uncomfortable, nervous. Participating in something new often causes anxiety, and yet, aren’t we usually glad we did it?

Didn’t we learn something new about ourselves?

This fall, in addition to my long lists of Fun Fall activities, I am going to strive to be a fish out of water so to speak.

I want to participate in some outdoor activities I have never done before. I want to be bold, and adventurous. I want to stop relying on my safe places for comfort and rest.

Likewise, I am going to invite friends to step out of their comfort zones to do something new.

Who wants to join me at yoga?

Who wants to go mountain biking with me? Looks scary.

What about a late night trail run? Ugh – I know I will fall on my face.

Anyone interested in a canoe paddle trip? Sounds fun to me  – never been.

I am beginning to realize how important it is to try new things, see new places, push yourself. I am beginning to realize that the hard stuff can be rewarding, and just as fulfilling as your favorite activities.

So for the next four weeks I am going to write about folks who make it their job to help the rest of us learn and grow. I will feature 4 people who can teach us all new tricks, sports, and provide new adventures.

Stay tuned and hopefully, we can grow from being nervous outsiders, into grateful participators.

Maybe by this Winter I won’t be such a scaredy cat when it comes to heights. Maybe I can even step out on this ledge to enjoy to view.