All great change begins with discomfort.
I am a huge fan of my comfort zone. Things there are predictable and safe. I am content with the familiar. There are no surprises in my comfort zone. I recognize all the people, the things, and the places. I can breathe there. If I could, I would stand firmly in the middle of my comfort zone and grow roots so deep not even a hurricane could shake me into discomfort.
It’s too bad then, that the most amazing events I have experienced in life have happened either at the very boundary of my comfort zone or far, far outside of it. Traveling to New Zealand alone to visit my brother and experience the extreme beauty of a country half way around the world – dancing the edge of my comfort zone. Walking in to my first “big girl” job as a nurse – a step outside of my comfort zone. Becoming a mother – leaps from my safe place. Becoming a single mother – “comfort zone, are you back there?!” Starting a business I knew nothing about – maybe my comfort zone flew back to New Zealand?
There are some adventure seekers, people who live for spontaneity, who embrace change. They love the butterflies of something new. They were born this way. I was born to love the smell of my mom’s kitchen, to light up when I see a familiar face, and to keep myself safe with routine.
I have had to practice leaving the nest of my personal comfort, first by just leaning over the edge, then by leaving with a tether around me, to ensure I would find my way back. But the very first time I spread my wings, turning around to memorize the place I was about to leave, I flew and soared so high I forgot for a moment I even had a nest. And I changed and grew and guess what? My nest stayed exactly where I left it, though on return it was bigger and better.
The crazy thing about comfort zones, they can grow like a muscle. Things that once made me cringe because I was so uncomfortable are now regular parts of my routine. Can you say live videos? The first time I did a live video on social media, I did it with my girlfriend by my side for moral support and had sweaty armpits! Now, I love connecting with people on live who maybe are enjoying lunch at their desk and pop on to say hi, or are just needing to see a familiar face or relate to something I say.
The further I push the boundaries of my discomfort, the more I learn, the more I experience, and the more I love life. Do I sometimes settle back into the comfort? Absolutely, like I said, I do love my comfort zone, like a lot. But I have been uncomfortable enough times at this point to know journeying out doesn’t mean leaving it behind. It’s like a vacation, we love the security of home, but how else are you going to see what the world has to offer if you never leave? Just like we go adventure and explore, drink too much wine (is that just me?), see things we can’t see at home, and take some well thought out selfies – we leave our comfort zone and then return happily as … more. We do more, we create more, we are more. All because we took the risk to ignore our discomfort, and just fly.