What would classify as being outside of my comfort zone but still within good sense? Quite precisely, her first two pieces of advice. Seeing these three parts come together as a bull's-eye is intimidating in its own right, but they have long been at the tip of self-realizations.
A few months ago, I put myself 100% out of my comfort zone with an equal degree of conviction that what I was doing was worth it. Normally, putting ourselves outside of our comfort zone forces us to engage in things with the the hope that they can offer something. But should we want for ourselves other than what our Lord wants for us?
On might argue then, "If Allah wants something for you, He would facilitate it." True. He always does, but He has requirements and He orders us to make an effort.
There is no easy way to benefit by being outside of one's comfort zone except with constant prayers, reflections, and to attach the act or the effort to Allah, intending it for His sake alone.
Consider the example of going to swim in the sea when one does not know how to swim. This is clearly outside of one's comfort zone because it contains the key element of fear, but the act itself is in vain if not preceded by deeper intentions nor concluded with humble gratitude. And truly, there is no act that is sandwiched by both phenomena except that it is bereft of fear and regret.
As I considered the state of both heart and mind, my decision to act in an uncharacteristic way was attached primarily to the advice of a scholar - Allahu yahfazuhu - (given almost a year prior) and assisted by the counsel of a sincere friend.
I was awestruck by the shaykh's words, doubting that I understood him correctly due to my severe challenges in Arabic, yet allowing my surprise to distract me entirely from paying attention to the translation in English. He spoke of the character of Khadijah radhi Allahu 'anha pointing out her courage which did not indulge fear but only sought khayr (that which is best) or benefit. May Allah unite the believing women with lady Khadijah in this world and the next wa ij'alni wa ahbaabi minhunna, ameen.
For better or worse, this journey of tapping into discomfort for the sake of greater good is likely a constant life exercise forcing the heart and brain to unite on mutually agreeable terms. It is a lot of work but it eliminates "risks" entirely when wedded to high intentions.
My brain is tiring just trying to articulate these thoughts. In the least, I hope the basic gist is clear so perhaps when these meanings are lost to me in the weeks to come I will, insha Allah, have a somewhat-comprehensible reminder to help push me along the way.