Why Its Never Smooth Sailing
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” — Brian Tracy
When we take responsibility for our life, serendipitous events unfold and lead us to awaken our inherent wisdom. At this level we must be willing to step out of our comfort zone and meet life with passion and fervour. Here’s an all too common scenario that plays out in people’s lives, illustrating how settling sometimes can lead to apathy and comfort. Life hands us lemons — well at least that’s what we suspect from where we stand. We may be sick and tired of being in rut. Feeling uninspired, emotionally drained and lacking direction. We mustn’t despair since we may simply be experiencing an internal shift. From time to time, we may suffer periods of uncertainty, which on the surface appears as though our world is sinking. We might feel helpless and unable to navigate our journey ahead. Though we can’t quite put our finger on it, something isn’t quite right — we know that part at least. Life seems harder and requires more effort than usual. Everything is a chore. We feel emotional turbulence at the slightest episode when things don’t go according to plan. Can you relate to feeling this way on previous occasions? Rest assured life isn’t always smooth sailing. Seeking refuge in that statement liberates us from having to push against the forces of life. Like any journey, the intention to reach one’s destination is typically heralded by a goal or a plan, though we may not anticipate the rough waters ahead. That is, we might have to sail our boat in uncharted waters to reach our final destination. Life’s journey is filled with countless lessons, which many fail to concede when embroiled in their drama.
Why Change Can Be Debilitating
“Get out of that comfortable rut.” ― Denis Waitley, The Psychology of Winning
In Paulo Coelho’s acclaimed book The Alchemist, the young shepherd boy Santiago undertakes a quest around to traverse the world in order to find treasure and his personal legend. Ultimately as he draws to the end of his journey, he discovers his treasure was right where he started. He recognises his trek across the world filled him with wisdom and a great deal of knowledge owing to the people he meets along the way. His journey had not been a waste of time, for he has gained much from his experience in search of his treasure. I wish to remind you that contained within every effort, every step, and every so called failure draws you closer to your treasure — your pot of gold. Nothing is wasted. No effort has been in vain. There is a rhythm and timing to the universe we must abide with if we wish to realise our potential. With that in mind stepping out of our comfort zone may be paralysing to some, since there is a level of anxiety associated with uncertainty. We become accustomed to the familiar that to rock the boat, destabilises our equilibrium. It was the spiritual author Neale Donald Walsch of the acclaimed spiritual book series, Conversations With God who reminds us: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Dealing with uncertainty and change can be debilitating in terms of our imposed stress, yet seemingly to live a compelling future requires stepping out of the familiar to reach new horizons. Remember, it is our response to life which is paramount to the level of personal growth we undertake. Most people thrive in ideal situations, although this does not test one’s character. Our response to life’s uncertainties determines our level of inner growth, especially when the tides are against us. For example, entrepreneurs require confidence to never give up on their plan or vision, since the economic forces are constantly against them. There must be an inherent self-belief, an unyielding motivation and a desire to prevail. Considering this, I encourage you to adopt a similar quality in your pursuit to step out of your comfort zone. Do not rest on your laurels since it is easy — remember, easy is not where the fruit of your success lies. You must be willing to take risks, whether big or small and gradually move in the direction of your dreams. Moreover, I invite you to think big and act big, to gain the greater rewards in life. Are you comfortable putting this advice to practice in your life? I trust you are because sometimes the small step towards your goals can lead to giant strides of momentum.
Success Leaves Clues
“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.” — Robin S. Sharma
It was author David J. Schwartz who wrote the bestselling book The Magic of Thinking Big. In the book he reminds us of the power of our beliefs as a measure of pursuing our dreams with a powerful intensity: “Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can’t, cannot. Belief triggers the power to do.” Familiarity keeps us safe and oftentimes stuck and stagnant. Most people are quite content to sail through life impervious to their potential. They rather not take risks in the event life does not emerge as they hope for. Subsequently, their self-esteem takes a hit and they perceive themselves as failures. Yet failure and self-esteem are not inextricably linked. You are not a failure because your goals fail to materialise the way you hoped for. You may have been unsuccessful in reaching your goal, although you may be drawing closer to success each time, yet unaware of it. The American motivational author and speaker Tony Robbins once said: “Success leaves clues.”
Stepping of our comfort requires us to extend our personal boundaries in order to create a fulfilling life. Those successful people whom we look up to, have pushed past their comfort zone in order to reach their current level of mastery. They broke through many a glass ceiling to create a new way of life and similarly paved the way for others to follow. That is the inviting aspect of pushing past our comfort zone — we serve as a guidepost for others to follow, by breaking ground in our pursuit. Yet as alluring as it might seem to push through our comfort zone, we do not want to make it a constant quest. Integrating our experiences becomes paramount, since it is defined by our learning and inner growth, which becomes the focal point of pushing past our comfort level. With that in mind, reflect on a current goal, project or dream you’re pursuing. Write down three actions you should be taking to venture out of your comfort zone? Don’t get hung up on the hows for now, merely give your attention to the action required. Are you willing to stretch yourself a little each time to get closer to your goal? Are you willing to get uncomfortable for a while as you venture into endless possibilities? Your response will dictate whether you take inspired action or lament a missed opportunity: choose wisely my friend!