Comfort zones? We hear a lot of talk about this idea. It labels a point in our life, or an area of our lives that we are so familiar with and so comfortable in, that we mire ourselves there quite happily.
But consider…is it REALLY all that comfortable?
A lot of folks will tell you they are happy and are not interested in changing anything, but I don’t buy it anymore.
First of all, consider that if these ‘zones’ are so darn comfy why is it we keep trying to break ourselves out of them? In truth, I think these are more like stuck zones. We are used to the way things are and let’s face it; a lot of the time human beings any change is scary. I mean, it’s how we are wired!
It is after all, human nature to move away from things that are upsetting, scary or stressful. It’s how we are wired! (Thanks evolution!) Change upsets our balance. Our ancestors survived by being really careful about things changing. It could mean the difference between being the predator or the prey!
In fact, someone once said that human beings can find a way to adapt to anything, except constant change. Especially when the shifts are unpredictable. (hello life!)
It’s true. There are millions of cases where people stay in abusive relationships, dead end jobs they hate, neighborhoods they dislike and more all because they resist moving out of this comfort zone.
Difficulties aside, it really is US who stops US from getting what we want.
Parts of our brains view the known threats or discomfort that we can manage and survive, as still safer than the risk of doing a little moving and shaking (or a lot depending!).
You can see why I prefer to look at it as a stuck zone then?
The problem is we can’t grow or improve our lives and selves without a willingness to take steps to move outside this stuck zone. A willingness to take on a bit of risk, (or even a LOT of risk) On top of all of that, it’s isn’t just stressful, but it takes effort; sometimes a lot of work in fact.
I had to make some choices to either remain stuck myself or create a plan to move in a new direction. Becoming a Mindset and Self Care Coach was where I moving to. After all, I had to evolve into my OWN coach in order to survive some pretty serious shit! And I did…I not only survived, I figured out how to freakin THRIVE doing it!
But comfort zones are tricky. I mean, our brains create these comfy seats and tell us we best sit down and enjoy them…or else ‘badness’ will happen! Truly, who else but our own SELVES could do this as well? Our brilliant brains know exactly what fears to point out in order to get us to comply doesn’t it?
For me…it was the ‘who am I thinking I can help other people thrive?’ fear.
So, I sat in that comfy seat prepared especially for me, by my beautiful psyche and figured out some wonderful ways to procrastinate on jumping in with both feet to being a helper for others.
And I did have some REALLY great ways too!
I prepared by becoming certified, reading a TON of books, taking classes, getting mentors, my own coaches, practicing and more. I convinced myself to ‘take it slow and ‘do it right’.
After all, it can still be scary to branch outside of teaching in a classroom. You see, I am very confident in my teaching skills from having years of experience. And in truth, in a lot of ways, it would be easier to stay a full-time teacher, but it would leave me with a feeling of restless stuckness (is that a word? It should be a word) and feeling unfulfilled as a person.
The truth is, I’m growing all the time, but damn it can be scary! But you know, I have learned we always have ways to get where we want to go. It might not look exactly as you imagine, or look like someone else’s journey, but the path is there.
I have been forced to reinvent my life from literally the ground up a couple of times. I also have tossed my hat to the wind and said let’s just go see what happens a few times with varied success!
Looking back, there isn’t much I would change about any of those experiences because even when it sucked (and it really seemed to sometimes) I grew stronger, wiser and learned to appreciate who I am and this life I was given.
I learned to love the sheer will and power I hold within. To trust that I can, and if I choose to, I will.
I also learned the very hard to swallow Truth that I am only ever as stuck as I choose to be. I allow myself to be stuck. I choose it, or I don’t. There is always, always something I can do to begin to get unstuck! (Even if I don’t like it in the moment!)
It’s been a wild ride so far. I’m excited to see what this next chapter brings!
Have you forced yourself to live bigger by leaving your stuck zone? How did you do it?