Imagine spending thousands of pounds to build a beautiful home, that is everything your dreamed it could be….and then not living in it. Crazy right? Now imagine the investment of time, effort and achievement that has gone into making you the person that you are today. Are you maximising that? Are you relaxing in your dream home? Or are you dwelling in the safety of your comfort zone?
It’s an interesting question, and somewhat ironically, it’s one which I was required to pose to myself, when writing this (and every) article. Writing is not my trade. It is not something that I would list as one of my key strengths. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) always feels like a pretty big risk. Would I be good enough, could I write something worth reading?
The Comfort Zone is defined as a behavioural space where your activities and behaviours minimise stress and risk. This is something that we should all recognise as being pertinent to at least one area of our life. And this is because the creation of a comfort zone is a necessary choice for much of our daily lives.
But is it healthy in all aspects of life? My own personal perspective is that living every moment of your life in a place of minimal stress, no real challenge and zero risk, is a life wasted. When I try and picture this in my mind, all I see is a grey existence. A boat moored in the safety of the harbour, a lifetime of wasted opportunity.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in security, a roof over your head and a steady income. I have never been a candidate for travelling the world with a backpack or jumping off a bridge attached to a piece of elastic. But within that “sensible existence” I still feel that there must be an element of pushing oneself forward, seeing what is possible, dipping a toe into the water and seeing if its warm enough to jump in.
As a parent / sibling / friend, you set the tone. You may be surprised to see that by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you also inspire your children to push themselves a little more. As your new behaviour becomes part of your routine, your comfort zone will continue to expand. Taking in more challenges and new skills, and this will further inspire those around you.
Stress and the Comfort Zone
However, many of us may still choose to exist in a place of minimal stress. This is because we are relentlessly being told stress is a bad thing. It must be avoided at all costs. It is simply irresponsible for a person to place themselves under stress…isn’t it?
Well not exactly. Stress is bad for you if you experience too much of it. But there is also such a thing as good stress. Stress that motivates you, gives you a bit of a nudge in the scary direction. It’s known as “Optimal Anxiety” and can be recognised as the slightly uncomfortable state of mind which pushes us to rise to the challenge.
There is a careful balance to strike here. Too much anxiety can significantly limit performance. So you need to be careful to pay attention to how you are feeling. Look for signs that you recognise as being your threshold for “bad” stress.
So what can we learn from all of this? As individuals, there is no question that there are benefits to living a full and varied life. Of reaching our potential and feeling a sense of achievement at the end of each day. The scale of individual achievement will vary from person to person. For example, I am feeling a huge sense of achievement that you have made it all the way to the end of this article – but the impact is the same.
A person who lives just outside of their comfort zone has reignited their curiosity for what is possible. And that is the key to a life well spent.
Do you need support in identifying your goals and how you could move beyond your comfort zone? Why not book in for a free no obligation discovery session and lets chat about what is possible for you.