Imagine yourself with this beautiful view of the ocean, and like the girl in the picture, you’ve found yourself a comfortable place to sit on the rocks to admire the view. And so, for a moment, you sit. In silence. Enjoying the moment.
But at what moment does this comfortable spot on the rocks begin to get uncomfortable?
Do you start to notice your legs first, or perhaps your back where you are leaning against the rocks? Maybe it’s simply the back of your heel, where your foot rubs a sharp piece of rock or roots.
When do you decide that this perfect view and the comfortable spot is now uncomfortable? It’s time to stand up and move on?
You know that you cannot stay sitting here, admiring the view -however wonderful- forever. Some days it might rain. The sun might become scorching hot. The nights might be bitterly cold.
As beautiful and comfortable as this spot is for a moment to enjoy the view, that moment is fleeting and gone, and it’s time to move on.
So it is with your comfort zone — that place you sit after a victory and achievement. When you have reached a level of mastery.
Your comfort zone
Don’t get me wrong — I think that a comfort zone is a great thing to have! It’s a place of security and rest — a place where you are not exhausted or on edge. There is a level of mastery that comes from performing within your comfort zone.
The problems arise when you are constantly within your comfort zone, and you are not working on expanding that arena!
Simone de Beauvoir expressed this as:
If you live long enough, you’ll see that every victory turns into a defeat.
We need only look at history to see how empires rise & fall.
How great athletes either keep training and improving, or how another comes along and breaks their record!
There is a temptation to rest on our laurels.
I finally made it — I’m here!
But if we stay too long in the same position, our muscles will start to atrophy. And then we need to ask ourselves — am I still on the top of my game?
Am I innovating in my business — moving with the changing climate & conditions?
At any time, there is the temptation to think we’ve done enough. But is the reading, growth, and studies that you are doing keeping you ahead of the changes & innovations of your field of expertise?
Do these “upgrades” allow you to create something new? Are you continuing to expand your horizons and the size of your comfort zone?
Or have you allowed yourself to get stuck in a rut?
It’s possible to get stuck in a rut and not even notice it — you are busy checking off your to-do list, but not really getting ahead. You are stuck in “busy”, with days just blurring into each other!
Free time? What for? I totally don’t want to do anything. What is there to look forward to? And so you become a person that is stressed, tired and unfulfilled.
Are you going to stay uncomfortably comfortable in your rut? Or will you make the effort to get out? Are you stuck in your daily routine — that was helpful, but is now a rut? What changes do you need to make in your routine, so that you return to growth and progress?
I am a work in progress
Every one of us is a continual work in progress — it doesn’t matter if we are 8 or 80. If we are not living & developing, we are withering. It doesn’t matter how big or how old the sequoia is in the forest — if it stops growing, it is dying!
Like a lobster, we need to be continually shedding our skin so that we can continue to grow! Are you continually uncluttering your life and letting go of your old view of yourself?
Perhaps you’ve put off your own well-being — “I’m too busy”. Resigned to this fate — the current situation. Have you pushed your goals & dreams away, because you just need to take care of the day-to-day?
Or perhaps you grew fearful of taking risks? You’ve made mistakes in the past and paid for them dearly, and now you would rather just stay in your comfort zone. With fear obscuring the clarity of view — you no longer know what you really want, so there’s nothing to strive for.
Fear can be a compass
Like any other emotion — fear can be resourceful or unresourceful. How will I choose to use my fear? Will I allow it to be a compass that shows me what I hold dear? What is important to me?
Fear allows us to identify what we need to work on in our lives — it tells us “walk through here”. Even though we want to avoid it. Fear tells us “this is important to me”. So yes, it is uncomfortable!
But the only way through is through it! You will have to move — face the fear. That’s the moment to stop sabotaging yourself and seek to confront fear.
We all know that it takes time and effort to effect change — do it anyways. Expand that comfort zone — so that it includes something new. So that your reach is wider than it was before.
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
How many times will you face regret? I could have. I should have. I would have…
Stop shoulding yourself!
“Should” sounds like an obligation — as if you had no choice. But you do have choices — a choice to stay there, uncomfortably comfortable, or a choice to move beyond your comfort zone into the unknown.
Is it time to take control and stop allowing should to drive your life?
When the time comes for you to make a change or to grow, the universe will make you so uncomfortable you will eventually have no choice.
Maybe it’s time to envision –
What do I want?
It’s time to focus — what do I want to do?
“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
— Marcus Aurelius
And then with that clarity — plan and organise, then take action. In order to overcome what is holding you back, it only takes one small step at a time in a new direction.
Time spent focusing on things that you cannot change comes at the expense of the things that you can actually change and control. Focusing our energy — emotional, spiritual, mental — on the things that we cannot control is ultimately a waste of resources and a losing battle.
If your leg went to sleep while you were sitting down, you would simply get up and move around and shake it until it was completely awake and all the blood had come back to all nerves and movement was fluid once more.
Why would you not do this with your life?
Just because you were once comfortable in the place you are now, if it has become uncomfortable, it’s time to get moving! Start shaking things up!
Support moving forward
Start by looking at who is supporting you? Have you got the right network of people that will ask you the questions to get you focused on your next move?}
Have you got clarity on what you want? How to plan & organise this move? What actions will be most effective in moving forward?
Which members of your family or friends can provide you with support and help as you move through this? Do you have a mentor or coach that will ask you the right questions? Do you have a professional adviser to turn to when you lack information?
What is the next level you need to move up to in your life — personally, professionally, emotionally, or physically?
Don’t accept that just because you are uncomfortably comfortable that you have to stay where you are. If the sun is setting and it’s starting to get cold, maybe it’s time to stand up and find a new place to rest.