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Ehhh… Ummm… Ahhh
The comfort zone conundrum
There’s a funny thing about comfort zones. These cosy, familiar, safe little nooks, that more often than not we create ourselves for ourself. That gorgeous 100% wool blanket that you cocoon yourself up in, is there waiting for you after a seemingly samey day at the office. You get home and you cocoon. You settle down and find stillness. Suddenly, this blanket feels a little itchy. You feel a little flustered. You scratch. Now you can’t stop scratching. Kick the blanket off, that will solve the issue. Now you’re exposed and cold. So the blanket comes back on. This cycle plays on repeat.
How often have you heard the gazillion quotes along the lines of “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”, “nothing good ever came from staying in your comfort zone”. Well, I can vouch that I agree with these statements… to a certain degree.
It’s only in times where I’ve taken on challenging projects, talks, difficult conversations, new workouts or run routes that I’ve felt elated, reignited and driven after them. However, they also come with a serving of anxiety, prolonged adrenaline and confusion. Perhaps this is just me, but I’ve never really heard anyone mention the benefits of both having comfort zones and stepping outside of them.
Recording a podcast with a lovely soul the other week made me feel sick to my stomach and filled my mind with self-destructive questions like “Why would anyone want to listen to anything I have to say? I’m only gonna ruin this platform they are building. What if ehh, umm and ahh too much”. Imposter. IMPOSTER…ahem, safe to say I spiralled. I wasn’t only confronting this challenge but personal ones alongside of it on the same day. I was running off adrenaline (and…coffee…not the best beverage choice in this circumstance I will admit). I got through it. Of course I did, it’s not groundbreaking stuff. That’s not to say what I might find hard someone else would find easy and vice versa.
We’ve become a society that struggles with discomfort and adversity because of the multitude of conflicting opinions and information we’re fed, 24/7, at an accelerating speed. But comfort zones aren’t always that comfy. They are just familiar and familiarity feels safe when we don’t know what to believe or when the voice in our head tells us we’re not good enough. The safe place shouldn’t be there so you can cocoon but more so to allow you to reminisce, digest and acknowledge growth you might’ve made when leaving it.
You don’t have to completely kick the blanket off. Let your toe peak out. Your leg. An arm. Keep the blanket half on half off. That exposure gets easier over time. Your wool blanket will get old and shabby, then you’ll replace it with a natural linen one only to repeat the cycle. Growth and comfort zones can’t exist without one or the other and your ratio of exposure to comfort will be different to that of another.
So, scratch that itch, ask yourself when was the last time you did something for the first time? Grow, learn, challenge yourself. BUT above all else have faith, grace and patience for the emotions you feel along the way.
Speak soon lovely souls.