Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone
In one single day, three different people (both clients and friends) brought up the word “Comfort Zone.” They either wanted to break the surface of it, become free from it, or were actively trying to push the limits of it on a regular basis. Rarely does this word come up in general conversation and never three times in the same day, unless it’s me using this term with my clients. Because of this, I thought the topic ripe for exploration and although I can feel you squirming, sit tight, learning about comfort zones is a good thing and it just might encourage you to push your zone a little further, and to welcome the adventure waiting for you there.
First let’s explore what it is about being “comfortable” that we like so much? Why is “comfortable” so comfortable? It’s predictable. It’s safe. We know what to expect. We can set our emotional speedometer to let’s say somewhere between 20-40…..and, we can coast. We can ride the little bumps here and there with no problem. We can go along as we always have, keeping our ideas about the world, about politics, about race, about ourselves, comfortably locked in the little chamber of our conditioning. We feel completely confident in our comfort zone as if our beliefs about the world are verifiably true, in other words, “we don’t know what we don’t know” and we are ok with that.
Having a “zone” is necessary at first because we have to start identifying with the world around us somehow. Mostly, our early adopted beliefs about the world, and our place in it, come from family and friends. But as we grow, become educated and start forming opinions of our own, we altar those beliefs to fit changing times, things we feel passionate about, our ideas of who we want to be in the world and, how we can fit the World into our belief structure….for example: if I feel clear about my goals, manage to reach them easily and rise quickly through the ranks of my industry, I won’t comprehend why everyone else can’t do the same. “If I can do it, anyone can do it!” Right? So rather then looking at the many parts and entities that make up ones’ success……like education, privilege, strong support system, natural abilities, karma, etc., one can tend to project their method, which worked so easily for them, onto everyone else.
Establishing a comfort zone is one thing, but hanging out there too long is a dangerous thing. What happens when we spend too many years dwelling in our “comfort zone?” As many of you can attest, we fall asleep at the wheel. Life becomes listless, colors become dull, and we struggle greatly with all the realities of life that don’t fit into our mold. Our judgments grow large and our fear can grow disproportionately ominous……what at once would only bend us, now we fear might break us. Life gets too comfortable and the idea of having it any other way scares the living daylights out of us. Many people had this wake-up call during our recent economic recession and I know for certain the forced change altered their priorities…..as it always does! One day, we’re living on top of the world trying to figure out how we’re going to get all the yard work done, play golf, drop the kids off at the baby sitters and make it to that cocktail party by 6PM and the next day, we realize we don’t even have a place to live! Tell me that doesn’t change your priorities just a little?
Mainly what happens in our “comfort zone” is that we stop growing, we stop developing. As human beings we need to explore in order to feel alive. As spiritual beings we need to progress in order to understand the meaning of our life! Without progress and development however homeostasis sets in and life becomes dutifully complacent…..and, far too often, it is in this place where we live out our days. I know this sounds like bliss to many of you but if you look deep inside I’m sure you’ll admit that although it is safe, staying in your comfort zone is also radically boring!
Breaking free from your comfort zone wakes you up! It breathes new life into those wrinkly and tired places and offers such a since of exhilaration – like that of standing on the edge of a cliff on a really windy day and knowing, just knowing, that if you spread your wings out wide and far you could actually fly! Life is not over…..just yet! You can breathe again, spread your wings again, see the world anew again. Doesn’t this sound interesting? Promising? Inspiring?
So what is it that’s keeping you locked away? Are you protecting what you’ve thus far gained? Scared you won’t survive the change? What is it you are uncomfortable with? What is it you have never done that you’ve always been a little afraid to do? Travel to a foreign land? Get on a bus having no idea where it’s going? Make a really big commitment? Work with a part of the population you have strong judgments about? Take dance lessons? Music lessons? Acting classes? What? What is that thing that if you “stepped into it” would really shake things up for you?
A friend of mine just bought her first house……she is 63 years old. For the first time in my life, I am engaged to be married…..I am 50 years old. Another friend, having hardly even travelled out of state, has decided to study yoga in India……she is 65 years old!
See? Isn’t it all so exciting?
I’m declaring the month of May, “Break Out of Your Comfort Zone” month and I challenge you to take part. What is that “thing” you know you need to do? You long to do? You’re being called to do?……In order to breathe again.
You know, you know. Email me and let me know too!