It’s easy to see that we are pushing our comfort zone if we let a great big hairy tarantula creep up our arm, pluck up the courage to ask the hot guy out at work, shave our head or cling to a 200-foot rock face.
It’s not so easy to pick when the confines of our comfort zone appear as part of our everyday challenges. It’s hard to recognise, but it’s our comfort zone creeping in when we feel tired, busy or vulnerable and it’s our comfort zone that uses excuses like—that’s just not me—to prevent us from moving forward.
In these times it is so much harder to spot—so much sneakier in the way it tricks us into thinking these barriers are to be listened to. No doubt about it, it’s our comfort; an invisible barrier that can dress itself up in all sorts of disguises, nudging us back, walling us in.
I’ll let you in on a secret; my comfort zone appears in its cloaked form as the guardian of perfection. I justify to myself that I won’t write, won’t finish a piece, or complete a task because I am not in the right mood, so I won’t produce my best work.
The truth is—like so many of us—I’m frightened of not being good enough. So I use the excuse that I’m tired—uninspired, a state not conducive to creating great work. That’s my comfort zone keeping me small. It seems reasonable at the time, but it’s just fear hiding behind life.
Yes, it would be nice if circumstances collided perfectly: well slept, a sharp mind, favourite music, great ideas. Sadly, if we can only produce or complete things when everything feels right—we are never going to get from good to great.
You and me both, we must learn to do what we set out to do, no matter how we feel.
If I dwell too long on all that has to be done to bring my vision to life, my comfort zone rises up like a great phantom in the night and I know if I look, acknowledge its presence—my eyes will fall out and I will turn to dust.
I have learned not to look; I know it’s there, that uncomfortable feeling. Instead of letting it stop me in my tracks or send me off on some trivial diversion. I tell myself this feeling is my flag signalling that I am in the right place, on the edge where it heats up, and the outcome is uncertain. All I must do is ignore that familiar trap and keep going.
Let’s make a pact? Let’s agree not to stop. When your gut says it is right, but your comfort zone is rebelling—don’t stop. The outcome may not be perfect, but it will be a darn sight better than not done at all.
What’s keeping you stuck, how is the sneakiness of your comfort zone turning up in your life? (It may be doing it right now as you consider commenting!)