Could ‘Playing it Safe’ Actually Be Harming You?

courage Jun 05, 2020

Change begins the moment you get the courage and step outside your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
― Roy T. Bennett

When we were young our parents probably took considerable measures to protect us. They keep our hand from touching a hot stove, walking out in the middle of the street, and talking to suspicious strangers.

While these are done with responsibility, love and protection, often the lines can become blurry and this can translate into other areas beyond physical and emotional safety.

Sometimes our parents unconsciously transfer their fears onto us. Maybe they didn’t want us to get hurt with relationships or experience failure or disappointment. Maybe they wanted us to be happy, and this was the best way they knew to teach us.

And so they became too protective and cautioned us to not make mistakes or encouraged us to stay away from painful experiences, the very things that could help us learn and grow. Maybe we heard “better to be safe than sorry” or “remember, curiosity killed the cat”. 

I heard many of these seemingly innocent statements, and I’ve even said them to my own children. However, they can become such an influence in our thinking that it ends up holding us back from discovering who we are and what we’re capable of doing.

A few years ago I began examining patterns in my life more closely and found that ‘playing it safe’ was actually doing more harm than good. Yet on the surface, staying comfortable was very appealing.

Eventually, it became more painful for me to stay stagnant and I decided to step out and live my life no matter how uncomfortable it got.

Uncomfortable is an understatement! I learned a lot about myself in the process, mostly that ‘playing it safe’ was just an illusion and surprisingly had some hidden harmful effects.

‘Playing it safe’ keeps us from our potential and believing in ourselves.

While I could easily list what all my challenges were, I did not know what I was capable of doing or what my strengths were. It affected my confidence, self-image and I became very reliant and ‘needy’ on others. I even believed that God had somehow skipped over me when he gave people talents and because of this belief, I missed out on some great opportunities.

‘Playing it safe’ keeps you from experiencing the joys and lessons life has to offer.

Because I worked hard to stay in my comfort zone, I sacrificed many adventures. I watched other people having fun while I just sat on the sidelines. I was so stuck in my habits and routines because they were familiar and ‘safe’. I didn’t realize that I needed to stretch myself to grow, and instead of pushing through discomfort I retracted and ran back for ‘safety’ every time. I believe if we allow ourselves to become stagnant, there is a great cost and we suffer internally.

‘Playing it safe’ keeps you from having a sense of purpose.

Often I was more willing to ‘help’ others but in reality, I allowed myself to be a doormat. I was drained, resentful and felt little sense of purpose. Yet, on one hand, that felt ‘safer’ because I didn’t like conflict. Thankfully, I realized the damage this had on myself and my relationships. I worked to stop enabling this behavior that kept me from truly living, and was able to overcome many fears. As a result, I found new meaning in my life and began to equip others to find their own ‘inner bold’ and make the necessary changes in life.

Do you desire to be more fully engaged in life?

What areas are you ‘playing it safe’ in your life, in your business.

Where is it limiting your growth? 

I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy going from playing small to stepping into my life’s purpose. It’s a process, yet if you’re committed despite your fears, over time you too can begin experiencing the joys and significance that life is waiting for you to embrace!


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