Finding Comfort in the growth zone
I’ll be straightforward with you- I have made most of the choices in my life out of fear. Even the decisions that have helped me to carve my image as a successful go-getter were made in the fear of what people would say about me if I didn’t go above and beyond. I’m sure there are perfectionists out there who can relate with me on that one.
Today I want to challenge the comfort of making choices that I know other people will be happy with and only taking on challenges when I know I can succeed. When was the last time you made a choice that will lead to your happiness not in this moment, but in the next year, five years, or ten years? Oftentimes, these choices get put off because they are uncomfortable.
Have you ever wanted to start a business, lose weight, invest in a hobby, or travel, but have felt trapped in your present reality? I have. The big dreams that lead to personal fulfillment require a person to get out of their comfort zone and into the growth zone. Amazing things happen to people who get in the growth zone and transform themselves.
The hard thing is that the growth zone isn’t comfortable. To me, it feels like standing on the edge of a cliff. If I leap off, I could fly, which would be the most incredible experience of my life. But if I don’t jump, nothing happens. I just turn around and go back home. I wonder what would have happened if I had jumped. I could have fallen to my death! Best not to risk that. Later, I start to wonder why nothing awesome ever happens in my life. Why do I feel so stale and stagnant? I sure would like to travel to a resort like So-and-so on Instagram. What did XYZ Person do to get that award? I begin to realize that the investments into their lives that these people have taken all entail some risk. They all had to leap off the cliff to get the things they wanted.
So how can we be in the growth zone? I am still growing and figuring this out (getting better everyday, though!) but I have a few thoughts about how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Be surrounded by people who are in the growth zone.
When I was in high school, all of my friends made straight As. So that’s what I did. In college, my friends were involved outside of the classroom and civically engaged. So that’s what I did. I think choosing my friends well was one of the most impactful things I have done in my life as far as my personal development is concerned. I don’t personally feel that it is a bad thing to have friends that aren’t as driven as you are, especially if you can be the person that helps them to realize their untapped potential, but I make a point to spend more time around people who are going to push me to the next level. Remember, you are a product of your environment, so if you don’t like your present reality, take a look around you.
Be okay with failure
After I took a close look at the people who inspire me to get better everyday, I realized that there is no one in this group who hasn’t taken an unsuccessful leap. If this is something that makes you feel too nervous to take the leap, consider doing your own failure audit. Make a list of the people who inspire you, and figure out where they have failed. I bet you won’t find anyone who hasn’t failed. Then when you fail, you can remind yourself that you are not alone, all the greats have failed. Then you can put your focus on getting back up and going for round two.
Success takes time. Personal development takes time. Get ready to live in the growth zone. Keep your end goal in mind but don’t get wrapped up in how much work needs to be done. Enjoy the journey, be present to your current challenges, and savor each small success as they come. One day you will look up and be impressed with how far you have come.