Finding your comfort zone
Don’t leave your comfort zone — find it, then own it and expand from it!
When I was a kid, I used to spend my summer vacations in the beautiful lakes in the northeast part of Poland called Mazury. I would spend my entire days by swimming in the water. Unfortunately, as many kids with protective parents, I was constantly told to watch out for boats and for other people in the water, to not go in the water on a full stomach, to not jump, to not go too far. I was even told to watch out for a Slavic spirits of water called “Topielec” — it’s a spirit of human soul that died drowning, residing in the element of their own demise. He would suck people into swamps and lakes. This was mentioned just for fun, however sadly I believed that “Topielec” was real…..hey! I was only 8 years old!
I took all of these warnings to heart (I was the first person who wished not to drown!) so my ability to swim and capacity to feel safe in the water simply did not develop. I rather developed fear and resistance to water, to associate it with something very unsafe for…ever.
It is only now that I realize how these events in my life really demonstrated my relationship with my comfort zone. For the next 20 years (and especially when I moved to Sicily) each time I would be swimming in the open sea I would be terrified! However I would still tell myself and show others that “I can go out from my comfort zone and just jump from that 4 meter cliff without a problem! …….Each time I experienced one of two very unsettling choices:
Actually deciding not to jump: After 10–15 min of a fight between myself & myself, ruining the moment for everyone, I decided not to actually jump. It is a very sad moment when everyone around me almost squeals from how much they feel alive right now and did something fun while I sat there all tense, left out, failing at sounding reasonable when trying to prove that “it is not because I fear, that kept me from jumping” and providing a myriad of poor excuses.
Jumping and literally sh@#&ing my pants. This resulted in me feeling emotional distress, sweat, dizziness and finally slight numbness of my limbs that of course did not help my survival in the water.
The things that you do to go out of your comfort zone, right!?
Understanding your comfort zone
Comfort zones is a place where we feel at best, where we indeed feel very safe and comfortable. Things in that zone are predictable, and well-known to us, almost like a safe ritual that creates no mental or emotional strain.The idea of pushing out of it, for our brains may already create a distress and if not done properly it is an easy way to experience burnout or instability that we cannot bear mentally or physically. Our brains crave this routine and mental security. Therefore it is important to:
Discover your comfort zone — become aware of what it is that actually makes you feel safe, loved, taken care of, stable.
Choose your comfort zone — not automatically, not as an unconscious escape, but rather as a place where you choose to go to recharge, refill your tank and a safe place where your well-being is respected.
Expand on it — make your comfort zone as big as possible, as it is in our comfort zone where we actually feel best, where we nail things, where we possess all of our strengths with ease, operating with a full power engine.
Move the edge a little — we think that change can only occur if we take big steps which, most of the time, means that we we do not even start. After all, the big steps are too much to ask from ourselves and environment we live in.Taking little baby steps has been proven that is a much more stable and successful approach for change, and that bigger steps and opportunities begin to naturally appear.
Fight the “all in or nothing!” approach and instead choose to nudge slightly beyond what is comfortable.
Don't be your own enemy, work with yourself
Once you are in your comfort zone (feeling safe and at best) decide with your own consent — to take a little step out of it. For example: you want to change your morning routine from coffee and first checking your email? Then instead of planning a whole new kickass morning routine from Forbes top 100 lists etc, start with just one change. Maybe even something as simple as replacing your coffee with water in the morning and, each time you do this, honour yourself that you made a change! That one thing! When the challenge is not hard enough and you stopped feeling proud of yourself for that, move to the next thing, little stretch, add another activity that you wish longed for applying but in a measure that it feels achievable.
Our body is here to serve us, to make our living habitable on this planet, so once it has received an input from you, it thinks that “this is how YOU feel safe, and let’s do more of that”. It obeys, so if you instal a new habit, it will obey and do more of that! However, if you try to push too much or too fast out from where you have been for most of your lifetime, you may feel more resistant, more stress, and failure will be the result of you trying to achieve anything. Start small and cherish each step and every step forward is a success!
Let’s take a swim in the deep ocean
It took me a looong time to actually realize (I was in the water swimming when it happened) that going completely out of my comfort zone doesn’t work! I ended up actually with million reasons backing up WHY this whole water thing was not for me! I would get dizzy, my legs would go numb because of the fear to go far from the edge of the water. I thought in that moment, maybe I am just not a swimmer. NOT TRUE. I realized one day while the fear was coming up, that I can decide and go back those 2 meters closer to edge of the water, and by being deeply in connection with myself, taking an approach where I felt in complete control of my decision I began to feel… at ease, confident, and able to … be in the water. Every time I choose to go out farther I knew that “I can decide if I want to go back and when”. This allowed me to feel joy while swimming and actually going very far away from coast. I expanded my comfort zone: as comfort zone is different for everyone, our edge is different from everyone elses — and we often measure ourselves up to other people. Whereas it has different shapes and activities involved, as we are all different individuals, with different needs and experience — but one things about it is common among us:
We all create that safe space inside us, and then it materializes in the outer world.
Therefore we can be there whenever we want and how we want.
And then the glory comes!
This blog post is aimed to support you in going out of your comfort zone, as let’s be honest — new things still happen when you are out of it. This is the sphere where learning, discovery, personal development and your dreams are achieved.
If you want something that you don’t have, you have to do something that you have never done.
So never stop of going out from there, just in this upcoming year do it smartly, so you can actually achieve what you always wanted and feeling freaky successful!!!! Happy New Year’s resolutions to all of you unstoppable achievers!