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The desire to stay in a comfort zone is, like, almost a given. It’s as if we humans, as we grew up into adults, took on this automatic idea that comfort is where it’s at – resist change at all cost! We tend to aim for security in all things, and more often than not, that means sticking with what we know; sticking with what’s comfortable.
I’m here to tell you that comfort is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s not all bad, but it ain’t all good, either!
Ever heard the quote “great things never came from comfort zones”? Well, “anonymous” was NOT lying. And this is how you can make sure that the lie of the comfort zone doesn’t trap you.
(FYI: After the tips, I share my own personal journey with fighting comfort and complacency, and what happened when I FINALLY moved forward to break my own comfort zone lie.)
What you can do to win the battle with comfort and complacency
1. First, find the thing that scares you. Then, do it. I’ve heard said something along the lines of “if it scares you, that’s the thing you need to do.”
Big things that scare you could be:
- Investing money into learning a business you’d like to start up
- Reaching out to publishers for a book you’ve written that’s been collecting dust, or
- Presenting at a large work event or important meeting
Have you heard of the book “Who Moved My Cheese?”? Cute title, right? Well, yes, it is a super simple and easy read. But it is also one of the most powerfully crafted messages about comfort and its dangers I’ve ever read. I read it years ago, and still think about the book from time to time. I strongly recommend reading (or re-reading) this book to get reacclimated with the importance of fighting against complacency and comfort.
You can find “Who Moved My Cheese?” by clicking this link.
2. Take small steps to get acclimated with the feeling of discomfort. If the big thing that scares you is way too overwhelming to take on at the first, find smaller things that scare you. It’s almost like practice. You can strengthen your ability to face discomfort.
Examples could be:
- writing your first blog post and sharing it on Facebook
- researching publishers for the book you’ve written that’s been collecting dust, or
- signing up for a public speaking group or class.
3. Re-evaluate the goals you set for this year. Are they well within your comfort zone? If you know that what you have planned for yourself are things that take you right up to the border, but not into any sort of uncomfortable territory, you need to make some alterations, my dear.
Btw! You can get a FREE comfort zone cheat sheet by signing up below!
4. Incorporate accountability. If it is broadcasting to family and friends that you are conquering these scary goals in the next year, do that. Build it into the goal, exactly how you will be accountable.
But, really. Any new change we are attempting should have an element of serious accountability. Not necessarily choosing to depend on the friend you know is gonna let you slide, but on the person who is going to see the better version of you that you’re trying to create. You want someone who is going to hold you to the commitment to be exactly that.
5. Be consistent and build the habit. As I mentioned before, you can build just about any muscle. It can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Feed it, and it will grow! And being consistent is definitely key. So, what about committing to a daily challenge to do one thing that scares you? The foundation for making it a habit will be built, and that little baby muscle will be on the way to major #gains.
If you’re wanting some more tips on how to apply consistency to skyrocket success with your goals, check out the post by clicking here.
My comfort lesson learned
I used to live in a (insert sarcasm) magical place called Hunstville, Alabama; a place I told myself I’d never live for long. After I finished college, I vowed to be OUTTA there. It’s funny how God laughs at our declarations about our own lives sometimes…
So, yah. Obviously, I stayed a LOT longer than I ever intended to stay.
Don’t get me wrong! It’s a great, steadily growing community, and is wonderful for some. It just wasn’t for this girl. I knew it for a long time that it was a comfort zone for me. Yet, I decided that moving back to California would be too hard. I’d have to potentially be in a long-distance relationship again – UGH. It was way too expensive, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make it without living at home for an eternity.
And, let’s be honest. Any amount of time living at home for me would feel like forever.
I was comfortable with where I was. And my comfort did not equal my happiness, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself that it would ultimately land me there. If I could just accept where I was instead of dreaming of something better, I’d be okay. I could just make this place into what I want, and I’ll eventually be happy with it.
The quote “bloom where you are planted” played in my mind like a broken record during that time of my life. But can I just pause for a moment and comment on the meaning of that quote?
Hindsight is 20/20, right? Looking back, I see a completely different meaning in those five words. I believe the meaning of that quote to be in support of practicing gratefulness for your position in life. I believe it to mean that we should be looking for opportunities to bloom and grow, regardless of where we find ourselves. It was not meant to be used how I wanted to use it. I was hiding behind those words, allowing them to feed into the fear of taking a bigger step for my life. What’s worse is that I used them as an excuse to remain comfortable, and to remain stagnant in a place I knew could not offer me the opportunities I for which I was searching.
Anyway, these were the lies I was feeding myself, knowing good and well I’d never be happy with where I was. I succumbed to allowing fear to take over the greater need I had inside, which was to get the heck up outta that town.
How many times have we done that in other areas of our lives? How many times have we fed ourselves lies about being comfortable with our boy or girlfriend for fear of being #foreveralone? Being comfortable with our jobs because we’re scared the next place might be worse? Not asking for a promotion because it puts us in an insecure and uncomfortable place? Not putting our talents and skills out there for fear of judgment?
When we take a cold, hard look at things, the idea of comfort and security could be running our entire lives and we didn’t e’en know it.
So, I ended up living in Huntsville about four years longer than I should have.
And guess what happened when I finally decided to take the leap. Of course, I did have to lean on family support initially. But in a few short months, I reached my goal of working at another much more fulfilling full-time job, collaborating with wonderful people, and making $10K more than what I was in Alabama. Two and half years later, I had created a new role, received a promotion, helped countless students get one step closer to their goal of changing their lives and finding happiness, and walked away with glowing reviews (and lovely pay increases) under my belt.
What’s more is that about two years after I got that job, I was able to move into a place I could call my own. It was a beautiful roomy studio super close to the job, for an amazing (LA County) price.
I could’ve gotten comfortable right there in that place, but my journey was never meant to end there.
And, if you’re anything like me, you burn inside for more.
What I’m not suggesting you do
I’m not suggesting that anyone should be flighty, changing direction wherever the wind may blow. What I am supporting is the idea that we know what our purpose is, set goals to get there, and not let comfort and fear of change stand in our way.
What I don’t want for you is to look up one day asking yourself, “what if I had…?”
Take creative control of who you are, where you decide to be, who you decide to be with, and where you decide to go. This is your reminder that you are the boss, babe. Don’t leave it to comfort and fear. Trust me, they are undeserving stewards.
All they do is waste valuable time.