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Beyond the Comfort Zone

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Familiar feels comfortable. It feels safe. It feels certain. There is a certain lull you get from performing the same routine, from knowing what to expect, from having been in that particular situation before. For example, if you have worked at the same job, in the same location, with the same colleagues for the last six years you know what’s what: where to buy lunch, how to excel at your job, etc. Even if going to work every day fills you with a sense of dread, you are good at what you do and know how to do it at this point. You know what the dresscode is, how far you can push deadlines, what meetings you can dodge and what corporate events have the best food. You know how to inspire your team, perk up your boss and be excellent at what you are required to do. This is comfortable and it is familiar. It has become a routine, one that you have perfected (or at least have enough knowledge to perfect should you choose to).

 

It could be the same thing with relationships. You might have been dating/engaged to someone long enough to know them inside and out. Or been part of a group of friends where you understand the dynamic and know what role each person plays. You may not even be compatible or share chemistry with this person/people, but because you have learned how to float along in the relationship(s) without rocking the boat or causing waves you continue on the journey. Among your friends, you know who will disappoint you and who to appoint when there is a serious crisis. You know who you can depend on and who is just there to borrow money and break promises. In the relationship, you are likely conversant of love language the person speaks and what words and actions will put a smile on their face. You probably know when they are in a bad mood and what often makes them feel better. In these cases, you might be coexisting without true connection or partnership, but because it feels familiar and perhaps even because of the expectations of others you remain dutifully there.

 

This comfort zone situation applies to all situations across life. For the purposes of this discussion everything that is taking place in our proverbial ‘comfort zone’ is settling. You know, settling? The act of ticking boxes, doing the bare minimum, experiencing little to no contentment or deep satisfaction. A place where you are barely coasting in that job, relationship, plan, purpose, etc, while deciding to just ‘manage it’ or reminding yourself ‘it could be worse.’ You are marking a register, ticking an attendance sheet but life and time are moving on. Remember, just because you are living and maybe even excelling in your comfort zone that does not mean there isn’t more out there. It does not mean there is not a higher purpose or a more tailor made life that will fit you better and propel you into your destiny.

 

How do you know your comfort zone is better than the unfamiliar? How are you sure the places you have never gone (because you refuse to break your routine) will not feel more like home? How do you know that what you are yet to experience is not the best form of your existence you’ve ever had? When we stay stubbornly with who, what and where we know we rob ourselves of the opportunity to be and have more. We are shortchanging ourselves by refusing to at least entertain the possibility of change. If you are already living the life of your dreams, then you are not in your comfort zone; you are in your high performance zone. This is excellent. It is where we should all aspire to be. Congratulations!!

 

However, if you are living in a place where you are barely satisfied, longing for more, simply getting by and your dreams are far from your reality – you need to start to let go of what you know. You cannot reach out for what exists beyond your comfort zone if you refuse to loosen your grip. Mentally, physically and spiritually you need to be open to more. You need to be willing to explore your real dreams, passions and purpose and start aligning yourself with how to deliver, participate and relate to them. If you hate your job then start thinking of what your talents and skills were really created for. If your friends drain your positive energy and fuel your bad decisions, start to let go of those who do not resonate with your soul and open yourself up to the possibility of meeting new people better aligned with your self growth. If your relationship does not make you both better, brighter, happier and healthier consider making major adjustments or letting each other go.

 

There is life outside the comfort zone. It is often a better life, reserved from those who are bold enough not to play it safe. It is for those who are honest about their intentions, courageous about their decisions, in tune with their inner desires and aligned with their divine destiny. It belongs to the risk takers, to those who push the envelope and demand more from life and more from themselves. Those who are unwilling to simply fall into a routine and coast as days, weeks, months and years go by. Because of their refusal to settle in their comfort zones and their willingness to reach for the more, they are able to grasp the truly fulfilling (and sometimes unconventional) careers, professions, paths and relationships that live in the beyond. They are able to connect with those who truly are on the same wavelength to experience deep and fulfilling relationships built on purpose and not merely sustained by convenience.

 

It is an uncomfortable process stepping off the world’s prescribed path and embracing your tailor made journey. However it is extremely worthwhile and fulfilling. What a shame it would be to be the only you and to walk through life without ever walking in your truth. What sets your soul on fire? Do that. What excites your creative and constructive energy? Build that. What resembles true love and partnership to you? Engage in that. What life do you see yourself living in your dreams? Live that!

Zeni St. John

  • SR St John

    Yes, yes!!! I know first hand the mountains that present when you look to leave the comfort zone. What strengthens your feet to climb the Sankwala life dreams ( Sankwala mountain range, 1800m, Cross River State, Nigeria) is a certain fire within the spirit.
    So, you have seen the peak of your pursuits and desires from the comfort zone at the base but seeing isn’t enough. You gear up and you climb to the summit.
    I hiked Obudu mountains on the 31st and last night of 2005. The beauty, the breathlessness of the thousands of feet altitude, the mountain configurations viewed from the top were so well worth it. A certain called sense of fulfillment fills your mind and soul even though the body may ache. And then the in their most resplendent array of colours welcomed me and the one came and perched on my finger!!!.
    There is indeed beauty and breath and life beyond the comfort zone as you said in work, relationships and life. It’s not easy as I it’s still the 80/20 ratio who do it. If and when you do though, you’ll know that it’s for freedom that one has been set free upon Terra Firma!! Spirits enclosed in “hide”.

    July 31, 2018 at 8:00 am Reply

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