I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about comfort zones lately. Likely because I’ve been feeling stagnant l– and growth occurs outside of your comfort zone. I know this is true.
What is your comfort zone and what is keeping you there? Is your comfort zone simply being happy with the status quo? Are you there because it is just too much effort to break out? Or are you stuck there because of someone (your boss, your job, your family)? Are you just too lazy to exert the effort? Is it fear, complacency, the weather, too sunny, too cloudy, etc? Let those excuses continue to build, and they will box you in. Eventually, it may become a prison.
As I think about this, I realize that I don’t have just one comfort zone. Pretty sure I can identify at least 12 areas in my life that I consider having comfort zones. Right now, they are edging toward or are in the danger zone.
I think about a continuum with apathy being one end, and joie de vivre as the other. Neither is a solid end point, more a direction of the continuum. Comfort Zone lives along the line, and I can see that it edges toward the apathy direction more than joie de vivre.
Comfort zones are not meant to be lived in. They can easily become a prison-and a danger zone.
My goals have sadly fallen into a comfort zone. I know this because none of my goals are scary or big anymore. I understand that sometimes, making it through the day is a true big goal, maybe even scary for some. Thankfully, it is not for me. But sometimes it is my goal – because – apathy. It’s easier to choose something totally not challenging, one that I know will happen without thought or effort.
Why? So many reasons…am I worth making those big scary goals? …might take too much time and energy? …listening to people around me saying that the big goals are too big? …fear of reaching the big goal? …doubting myself?
All of those reasons play a part. I take ownership of the problem. Time to do a hard reset. I know that in the past I set some pretty outrageous goals and surpassed them. It was a process and took some practice. Time to dust off the practice skills and restart the process. The things that excited me and challenged me in terms of goals then are not the same now.
The how part sounds easy – surround myself with positive, motivational people. Study people that are successfully accomplishing the goals I identify – seek out encouragers. Believe that I can do this (actually, this is the first and most important “how”). Divest myself of the people that bring negativity to the table.
It seems that as a society, we have a preponderance of blame shifters instead of those willing to take ownership of their lives. It has become easier to blame everyone (our bosses/coworkers/friends/teachers/government/etc.) else for our failures or mediocrity. Instead of working for something we want, we expect to have it fall into our lap.
How? With a good measure of grace and compassion. With effort, with failure, with starting over again – and again – and again until I succeed. Celebrating the baby steps and slips that signal forward progress. Being on the lookout for new goals once the current ones are accomplished or within reach.
If not now, when? Yesterday would have been better…
When things get stagnant, they start to stink…like attitudes, opinions, swamps….
To be continued…