Putting on Your Big Girl Panties

big-girl-pantiesPutting on Your Big Girl Panties

Next week is a scary week for me. I have committed to three projects that take me way outside my comfort zone. All three of them are paralyzingly frightening.  I am really going to have to “psych” myself up for them. So, what scares you?

  • Giving a speech?

  • Socializing with strangers?

  • Passing a test?

  • Going on dates?

  • Making a big sale?

The list goes on and one. And if you’ve really taken the time to think about all the things you hate to do, well, it’s probably because those things are’t “comfortable” to you.

As terrifying as my tasks next week sound to me, I am going to “put my big girl panties” on and do them. And sometimes, that’s exactly the way we have to conquer life; by sucking it up and just “doing it.”  Here’s a way to move forward:

Connect with your inner voice

It is when we step outside the coziness of our familiar zone that we step into a growth zone. In order to move forward in our life we must grow. Stepping outside of the comfort zone, after all, is about taking risks.

The key is that we need to know how to modulate risks to stretch, but not break. We don’t want to take “foolish” (un-calculated) risks and must trust our instincts to know the difference between a growth zone and danger zone.


For example, for me, jumping out of an airplane would constitute a danger zone at this point in my life; it puts me at physical risk of injury for what for me represents too big of a risk. Pushing the edges between growth and danger is a fine art and one that is dictated by our inner voice.

Listen carefully to your voice before you calculate your choices. If you say no to something, why did you say no? What did your inner voice tell you? What is the real danger (I could break a bone jumping out of an airplane) vs. the perceived danger (I’m afraid of heights and don’t want to do it.)

Some Anxiety is Good

A psychological theory known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law proposed that “Anxiety improves performance until a certain optimum level of arousal has been reached. Beyond that point, performance deteriorates as higher levels of anxiety are attained.”

The take away from this is that we need a certain level of anxiety in order for us to function effectively. We are always taught that anxiety is a bad, negative thing. Well, according to this law that is accurate after an optimum level. Prior to that level anxiety is a good thing because it sharpens our senses and provides the tension for us to perform at our best.

Looking at the Yerkes-Dodson graph it shows that as our anxiety rises, our performance gets better – up to a point.

Stress curveSo in order to step out of the comfort zone into the growth zone we should embrace our anxiety and recognize the benefit of it. In other words, when there is no actual risk, feeling a little anxious over taking a test, or having a job interview is a good thing. It is healthy to have a little rush of adrenaline at times.

Don’t over think it

Remember when you were little and took the first jump at the edge of the pool. You had to just close your eyes and jump. Stepping outside the comfort zone is about letting go and trusting yourself enough do what needs to get done.

Pulling on your “big girl panties” is about acknowledging that you need to get something  that feels scary done, but are sucking it up and moving forward despite your anxiety.

a giant leapThe more you think about how scary it is to accomplish something – starting a business, quitting a job, changing careers, etc. – the more you give yourself a chance to back out of it. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, grit your teeth, and do it.

Reward yourself for being willing to take the risk

Reinforcing ourselves for our courage is important. That feeling of “WooHoo, I did it” is also worthy of celebration. And don’t just think of the big things. Sometimes, small victories deserve a polite nod, too.

Eleanor Roosevelt said,  “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Ok, Eleanor, I am with you. I will do that today and tomorrow, too. Will you join me? What takes you out of your comfort zone? Have you had to” wear big girl panties”  lately?

Project111-150x150Dr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’ve  been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well being, join her ecourse.

By |2017-10-16T17:32:49+00:00November 3rd, 2014|Emotions, Life Tools|36 Comments


  1. Carol Cassara November 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    I agree–anxiety can propel us to new heights in life, if we allow it to!

  2. Karen D. Austin November 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I’m a very assertive person, so it’s being quiet, watching-and-waiting, being patient, and trusting others to take the lead that scares the crap out of me. I’m reading more devotional literature lately in an attempt to be more trusting of the world that is beyond my control. Ohm! Great insights about taking risks for those who need a nudge. So I will adopt this to taking the risk of the sentiment “let it be.”

  3. Nancy Hill (@Nerthus) November 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Congrats on living on the edge… of comfort… that is how we grow! I would live in a cave if it had wifi, but every once in a while it is good to get out and stretch our selves.

    • Ines November 4, 2014 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      I would love a cave with wifi too – sounds great – but I know we have to step out and join the world but it would be great to join you in that cave

  4. Janie Emaus November 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    I think it would be great to do one thing each day that scares me. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

    • Ines November 4, 2014 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      Oh – I hope you adopt that stance and take a measured risk each day – it is quite invigorating

  5. Kim Tackett November 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    I agree with you that a little anxiety is good!

  6. Roz Warren November 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    I tried to live in such a way that I stay 100% inside my Comfort Zone. (It’s called Comfort Zone for a reason.) On the other hand, when I was invited onto the Today Show, I said yes, even though being on live TV in front of 5 million people was ludicrously outside my comfort zone. But I did it (August 2013) and it turned out fine. You’re absolutely right — sometimes you just have to go for it, even if it isn’t familiar or comfortable.

    • Ines November 4, 2014 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      Oh that sounds scary and exciting too. What an opportunity and what a great memory for you.

  7. Cathy Chester November 3, 2014 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I have a fear of public speaking so I am going to try to face my fear and do it! Now where….

    These are such good tips and I appreciate you writing about them!

    • Ines November 4, 2014 at 10:52 pm - Reply

      Me too – my scary things involved speaking engagements so I share you fear of stepping into the light of public speaking

    • Tina November 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm - Reply

      Toastmasters!! Find a Toastmasters near you!! You won’t be sorry!!

  8. Donna November 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    I have been on the edge of anxiety overload for years. I am only finally getting a grip on it. I am glad to read some of it is good. I wish you could teach me more on this. Fear has been my enemy for quite a while.

    • Ines November 4, 2014 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Donna – I am glad you found it useful. I agree that fear is one of the big elements that holds us back. I make it a point to try and focus that in the teaching and lecturing that I do. I include it in my ecourse too. I will keep writing on this and this theme because I think it is that important – so please stay tune.

  9. Ellen Dolgen November 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Taking risks is often causes crazy anxiety – but after you feel so good that you did it. Thanks for the great tips!

  10. Jackie November 3, 2014 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    I am definitely exploring the whole “moving out of my comfort zone” thing lately. I’ll let you know how it goes! I think I definitely “needed” to read this today. Thank you.

  11. Elin Stebbins Waldal November 3, 2014 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Wonderful tips. Living with fear is exhausting…and letting it go (within reason) can be so liberating.

  12. WendysHat November 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    I love reading about things like this to understand life better. I would NOT however think that its would be good for me to test it on jumping out of a plane! Good luck with your events this week.

  13. Lois Alter Mark November 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    It’s always good to step out of your comfort zone — but I agree that I will not be stepping out of any planes to go skydiving. Are big girl panties the same as granny panties now?!

  14. Ruth Curran November 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    I love this piece Ines. I try very hard, to move the walls of my comfort zone out bit by bit. Sometimes, like your week ahead sounds, you really do just have to dive in and trust yourself to be able to handle it. Can’t wait to hear how your excursion in to the scary goes :)!

    • Ines November 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      Thank you Ruth – my excursions into the “growth zone” turned out quite well. They were scary but I made it!! Hurrah

  15. Carpool Goddess November 4, 2014 at 12:34 am - Reply

    Great advice! I tend to over think things a lot which, as you know, does more harm than good. I do try to step out of my comfort zone when I can.

  16. Angela Weight November 4, 2014 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Very informative. I agree with the need for some anxiety. I’m getting ready to release my first ebook. The whole project has been an exercise in “quit thinking about it and do it.” My mantra over and over.

  17. Tina November 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    This is a very timely blog for me! I’m working heavily and diligently to promote Roadrunner Florist and Basket Express during the next few weeks before Christmas. Our 2 new websites are amazing but not yet “up there” on Google. Our web designer wrote me to “put on your big girl panties” and get out there to promote before the holiday! So I spent one evening working on a “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, offering a discounted item and a free gift for each day (ok, 2 follow the song…2 the second day, 3 the third etc) and then he said it was too complicated!) So I’m back to KISS, which can be very difficult for me!

  18. Roslyn Tanner Evans November 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    The one thing I do when facing challenges that scare me is I remind myself of how far I’ve come because I stepped out of my comfort zone. I also know I will take my fears with me. They may even show in the beginning, but will fade as I find myself, my grove and create a new comfort zone.

  19. Nate November 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    I love what you said about not over thinking it. I believe that people over think things before they take action. What happens from that is that they become paralyzed and they allow fear to control them. Sometimes you just have to go in, with no expectations, get in, get out and get it done!

  20. Meryl Hershey Beck November 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Steeping out of your comfort zone is quite scary but once you do doesn’t it feel amazing when you accomplish new things? Every step we take forward allows us to take another step and pretty soon our steps become bigger and far greater than we ever though possible.

  21. Beverley Golden November 5, 2014 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Love this post Ines, as I am all about moving people out of their comfort zone. One of my monikers is “Complacency Shaker”, as I really want to see people stretch and grow in their lives. And yes, a little bit of nervousness or stress is good, as it allows us to step up our game and preform at a higher level. Appreciate the “big girl panties” reference too!

  22. Lorii Abela November 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Ines, for sharing this. Yes, I agree that little showing of anxiety is good.

  23. Javel Weston November 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    I agree now that i took the leap of faith about a year ago. Getting out and networking face to face is vital in my business. So I know all to well about stepping out of your comfort zone. I do it just about every day now and its creating a lager comfort zone. Anxiety, whats that?

  24. MamaRed November 6, 2014 at 11:44 am - Reply

    Oh yeah, the big girl panties and getting out of my comfort zone. Definitely have been doing a bunch of that lately…I was much more comfortable outside my comfort zone when I was young and, as some said, brash. One of my biggies is stopping the insanity of being a “good girl” and wanting everyone to “like me” (whatever the h*** that is, eh?)

    The last year has pushed me in ways I thought I could never handle…and I’m here, so that’s what I’m focusing on at the moment.

    Now to work on my fear of “asking” for exactly what I want! Eeek…

    Thanks for the great article…and the reminder to stop overthinking it. Guilty as charged!

    Laugh lots, Love more!

  25. Barbara Keen November 6, 2014 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Great Advice Ines! I do struggle with moving out of my comfort zone! I have been working on starting my own on~line business for the past 2 years. This is something I have never even though of let alone accomplish. There are times that I don’t have a choice but to move out of the comfort zone just so I can learn as much as possible even though it scares me to death. But I know that I will never be a success if I stay comfortable. I do have to say that when I move out of the comfort zone and get more of my business done I am excited and can’t wait to move to the next step! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Alexandra McAllister November 6, 2014 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    I love this post. A little anxiety is a good thing…scary but still good! I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone as well…a little step at a time. 🙂 Keep it up! Looking forward to your updates!

  27. Pat Moon November 6, 2014 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    As I was reading this, I was thinking of 2 different times or events I can a relate your article to. One was when I needed to climb a ladder and actually step from the ladder to the roof. It took lots of courage and an encouraging hubby but I did it and was able to help with the building project. Otherwise, I am thinking of singing a solo. It takes lots of courage and practice to actually do it. Also, being somewhat stressed out sometimes helps me to actually perform at my best.

  28. Takara Shelor November 8, 2014 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    I would definitely not be nearly the person I have become or accomplish any of the things I have accomplished without putting on my big girl panties and jumping when others were too afraid to. Lots of people think some of the risks I take are outrageously ridiculous and to them actually dangerous. I, on the other hand, know that they are exactly what I need to do in order to thrive and enjoy life to its fullest. GREAT post.

  29. Sharon G. Cobb November 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Great article! I agree that we need to push through the small anxieties in order to grow. I’ve always tried to teach my children to never let fear (anxiety) stop them and to do a lot of self talk to get through it!

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