In the past 12 months my comfort zone has been fairly uncomfortable and I’m going to share some reasons why, and my top 5 tips for making your new comfort zone feel like your old slippers in no time.
As humans, in a 24/7 life, we are all guilty of wanting to find comfort in things that are familiar, or even a little luxurious from time to time. Hence the increase in adult onesies, weighted blankets and Uber Eats. We need comfortable stuff on hand at all times! There is nothing wrong with wanting to slip into our favourite onesie and binge on Netflix, while waiting for the Uber person to turn up. But what if we are spending too much time in our comfort zone, to the detriment of experiencing life to its fullest, or creating magical moments that will shape our life forever?
One year ago, I was in the early stages of getting my act together after a decade of onesie wearing. Well, I never actually bought a onesie but I did seem to wear my house slippers 24/7, which is an indication of being too comfy. I was comfortable in my professional life, I relaxed when I could, and I wasn’t about to do anything to change the world anytime soon. In fact, I had become so comfortable I did not really know who I was anymore. Sound familiar?
What sits in your comfort zone personally and professionally versus what sits in mine could be entirely different, but the principles are the same. If we are living in our comfort zone all the time we are not growing, learning, expanding or evolving as individuals or as a collective, and that is not so great for anyone.
The other reality is that many of us spend time, effort and money investing in our professional development whilst our personal development gets largely left unchecked. You could argue that you have a PDP (Personal Development Plan) at work that you signed up to, which included doing some leadership training or first aid certificate, but the truth is that this is not real personal development.
Personal development is about reflection and self-improvement of your soft skills that make up YOU. Your personality, the way you interact, the way you think, the way you relate to others; this is real personal development! A leadership course may expose you to some concepts that help you understand yourself and others better, but what then?
Developing ourselves as individual and as a collective consciousness is about expanding our relationship with ourselves and others. Really tapping into what makes you and others tick and understanding that we are connected to all other living things. Yes, we can walk and talk, but we cannot survive without all the other living things on this planet doing their part.
If you are in your comfort zone, you might check out of this story now! Or you might not, it might spark something in you! Because here is the thing, if you always listen to the same stuff, read the same news, talk to the same people, eat the same food or go to the same places, pretty soon your views will be skewed to what you see and hear most consistently.
When you decide to step outside your comfort zone you will be confronted with things that are different, new, and perhaps not what you are used to. You can adapt, take on new information, learn and grow or sneak back to your comfy sofa and hope no-one noticed you leave. OR, you can decide that you will consistently venture out into the unknown and experience life to its fullest by getting out of your comfort zone as frequently as possible. Safe in the knowledge when you are tired or need some quiet time, your onesie is waiting for you.
So how did my comfort zone start to expand and take on a new shape in the past 12 months.
I decided that I would get fit after a decade of being unfit and overweight. This has been fairly uncomfortable I have to say. But now, I can consistently run 30-40kms per week and I’m 18kgs lighter. Plus, I feel/look 10 years younger.
I rediscovered a long, lost passion and decided to share it with the world. Writing! I started publishing poems and blogs and wrote my first book.
I decided to future proof myself by updating my skills and developing a passive income stream. Did you know that 40-something women experience age related discrimination, so not only do I now look younger, I have the skills of a 30-something with the experience of a 40-something!
I decided to use my skills to help others and accepted a position on a Board where I can add value and practise legacy leadership.
I committed to continual personal development through mindfulness, meditation, journaling and asking myself difficult questions on a regular basis.
I created some boundaries in my once free-range life. This was immensely uncomfortable for a people-pleaser.
I started expanding my social circle and experiencing a whole host of new content, some a bit “woo woo” but mind expanding never-the-less.
I let go of judgement of myself and others and told fear to take a holiday.
I started asking for help! Something very new and very frightening for me.
I admitted to myself that I did not want to go on with the same life as it was, and the only way to change all that was to have some very difficult conversations, and make some new choices.
And that is how my life got very uncomfortable for a while, and rather than hide in a onesie, I decided to accept it, go with it, and release any expectations of how and where things might end up. I surrendered to discomfort and just held on tight.
So here are my top 5 tips to make your new comfort zone as comfortable as old slippers, in no time.
Embrace change and welcome it as your friend. Don’t resist it or think, “Why is this happening to me?” - It just is, so accept it!
Make personal development your focus and friend. By continually updating your soft skills you will leave people wanting more of you each time you see them. Or, you will make new connections that will open up loads more opportunities for you.
Check your boundaries in your personal and professional life and firm up your fences. You can decide what is in and what is out.
Spend as much time as you can in your learning and growth zone, safe in the knowledge that you can sneak back to your comfort zone for a rest whenever you need it.
Listen! Listen more, talk less. Listen to your body, to nature, to children, to the elderly, to your heart.
Follow these top 5 tips and in no time your comfort zone will start expanding and take on a whole new landscape. And if you need someone to listen, I’m here!
This simple diagram explains our Zones of Change and you can use this model in your life.
And if you want to read a poem to inspire you click here https://www.thewellnesspoet.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=206207380