First, let me introduce myself. My name is Leigh Horton. I was raised in Penn Yan, NY, the home of my childhood memories and the beginning chapters of my life story. Fast forward to the current chapter… I live in Georgia, VT with my husband Justin, and our three boys – Foster (15), Parker (13), and Oliver (9). So, what has filled my book so far? What has happened on the pages in between? I know my story page by page, but what would it be like if I had made different choices along the way, not crossed paths with those that mentored me, and perhaps, most importantly, not taken any risks and gotten outside of my comfort zone along the way?
You see, I was the kid growing-up that could never stay overnight at a friend’s house. You know, the one that had to call Mom in the middle of the night (from the home across the street) because she didn’t “feel well”. The one that chose colleges to look at by which ones wanted me on their soccer team and weren’t too far from home…my comfort zone. Looking back, I’m very grateful for how that chapter in my life panned out. If it hadn’t, I’m not so certain I would be where I am today.
So, when did I truly begin to break outside of my comfort zone? I think I actually broke out of it while trying to stay in it. Remember, I was a homebody. So, when Mom and Dad told me they were moving, guess who decided they needed to change colleges to not be so far away from them? Yours truly. I was going into my junior year and if I wanted to continue playing soccer, I would need to tryout as a walk-on at my new college. Trying out as a walk-on wasn’t too bad, but when the head coach told me that I could be on the team but most likely sit the bench, that was a moment I’ll never forget. The kicker is (no pun intended), I was on a partial scholarship at Saint Bonaventure University (D1), and transferred to Plattsburgh State (D3), without a scholarship and told I might be riding the pine for the season… ouch! Sports had always been a part of my life (and not on the bench). So, for me to possibly see it end was crushing. If I didn’t have that, it almost felt like I would lose my identity. A part of me would be missing if I didn’t play soccer at my new school. So, I called my Dad and recall him saying, “You should play. Why not? Why wouldn’t you want to go for it and give it your best, versus walk away from it? Better to move forward knowing you gave it your all than gave-up.” So, that’s what I did. Despite my loss of pride and questioning if I was no longer a collegiate level player, I gave it my all and pushed myself beyond my comfort zone of play. Guess who was on the starting line-up by mid-season?
This was a milestone in my life. Yes…it was just soccer, a short chapter in my book, but it did help set such an important mental foundation for me. It’s ok to get out of your comfort zone and push beyond what your perceived limits are. This is what brings change to your life and success and happiness that perhaps you once believed couldn’t ever happen to you or even better…never imagined!
I look back on the many positive changes in my life, personal and work, and many of them began with me leaving my comfort zone:
- If I didn’t move away from home to VT, I wouldn’t have met Justin and had the experience of working as the Global Brand Marketing Manager for what became Bauer Nike Hockey for 10 years (with a move to NH).
- If I didn’t leave Nike (a company and career I was very settled and comfortable in) so my husband could transition his career, and our 1st new home (that I absolutely loved), I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work as an Account Manager at an amazing VT design firm, JDK Design, for 10 years and raise our boys on beautiful Lake Champlain in the area where Justin grew up.
- If I didn’t decide to leave JDK, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be a Real Estate Agent which I honestly believe was foreshadowed very early in my work career.
These are milestones, substantial life changes, for me and my family that happened by taking leaps of faith and leaving my comfort zone. There has certainly been struggles strewn throughout the journey, but the success, joy, and fulfillment brought by them far outweighs any challenges and it has definitely been worth everything it has taken to achieve them.
I’m pretty happy where my book is going. I know there will be challenging chapters along with the exciting ones – which is a wonderful thing, as the challenges will continue to push me out of my comfort zone. Which maybe…just wasn’t all that comfortable after all…
Leigh Horton is a Real Estate Agent at KW Vermont. To learn more about her journey or her real estate business, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802.233.3982.