Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is tricky. It can keep you safe, or hold you back. Working with it effectively can be harder that it sounds. 

The term originally described the ideal temperature for humans to exist in. I’m using it to describe the condition in which you feel most at ease. It can be physical, emotional, mental, or even spiritual. Knowing when, and how hard, to push against it is crucial to your growth.

For a number of reasons I had some pretty dramatic accidents when I was a child. My mother’s diligent efforts to protect me let me survive to adulthood. Her warning voice in my head still helps me to intuit danger in safe-seeming situations. But, sometimes it gets in the way. 

The first time I ever tried snowboarding was a challenge. I was at the top of a mountain for the first time. I was attached to my board with the wrong foot forward. My friends left me to figure things out while they did somer runs. 

I got up, and fell, again and again. After a particularly bad fall I heard my mom, loud and clear, “Be careful Brian, you’re going to hurt yourself.” I kept going until I was so tired, frustrated, and sore, that I started to walk down the hill. I ended up riding down the hill with the ski patrol. I’m lucky I didn’t seriously injure myself. 

I pushed out of my comfort zone too far, too fast, and with absolutely no wisdom. In my case challenging my inner need for caution is usually a good thing. But, doing it recklessly is never a good idea.

The story ends well. I eventually used my frustration to build determination. I took some snowboarding lessons. I conquered my fear by building skills. That was the wise course of action.

Next week we’ll explore the other side. When we allow fear, or complacency, to hold us in a comfort zone that isn’t good for us any more.

Do you agree that recklessly pushing out of your comfort zone could spell disaster? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

Connect with Brian

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