“A man grows most tired while standing still.” -A Chinese Proverb
I had a conversation with a very dear friend earlier this week; really, she’s like a sister. We were talking about the energy and excitement of the new future she saw was possible for her life. We both were very excited just talking about it. I was especially thrilled as a coach and as her best friend who is always seeing a larger vision for her, and I loved every minute. But just as quickly as she moved forward in excitement, something happened. Something “always” happens…LIFE happened. She rapidly, within the same conversation, felt that she was on the edge. The edge of what you ask? The edge of her patterns, her old tapes, her norm and the future she had just crafted for herself in her mind. When life happens to her, she normally lets it get the best of her and she lets her circumstances win — she quits, doubts herself or gives up, she stays with this pattern because it’s comfortable, it’s her norm, it’s her comfort zone to be defeated and sad, almost immobile.
This time was different, though. It was different because she noticed that she was on the edge. She identified her patterns and she owned that she had a choice. I told her that if she chose her old patterns and her comfort zone, she was by default killing her fresh new vision. Yes, killing it. It was a choice and a choice only she could make. She could feel her frustration creep up. She wondered why she was always here — here in her comfort zone, doing the same old routine with the same results (crazy making insanity!). You can either let life happen and be defeated by your comfort zone or you can use the energy, frustration, and emotions to fuel your goal, in essence fueling your future.
It takes guts, sheer will and determination to choose a life outside of your comfort zone. That which is uncomfortable, unknown and potentially scary forces you out of your normal routine and allows space for growth and positive change. The success of reaching your goals or designing a different, bolder life comes in part by how far the effort stretches you to grow and evolve. Also, by doing something new, learning new skills to make it happen builds excitement, momentum, and energy to keep you pushing through the next hurdle. It allows you to continue the journey and push past your own self-imposed limits.
Most people choose comfort because it’s what they know best — it’s where most of us spend the majority of our time. Most of us have lived our whole lives not even realizing there was a choice involved, not even aware that our comfort zone was existent. Your comfort zone wins when you chose easy over the thing you know will get you to your goals, when you chose to not rock the boat when you chose to not do the thing you have wanted to do your whole life.
On the day of our phone conversation, my friend faced a pivotal next step towards reaching her goal and she was considering not taking the next step of action to make it happen (with her comfort zone lurking in the corner of her consciousness). But, with her new bold choice, she decided to follow through with an opportunity and take a chance and it turned out to be “perfect” in her words, which is such a beautiful thing.
All it takes is a choice to make a shift. Your comfort zone can kill your future, but you always have a choice. A choice to do it differently than you normally do. A choice to choose your big bold vision of your future over what you know and think is normal. A choice to choose the life you envision after to achieve your goals. I hope you choose to win and fuel your energy towards your bold future and live a life outside of your comfort zone.