This is a subject that I’ve actually written about before, probably more than once, but I feel so strongly about it I keep coming back to it. If we lied to other people HALF as much as we lie to ourselves, we’d have no friends or credibility. Think about that for a second. It’s true!
One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves has to do with the existence of a “comfort zone.”
DISCLAIMER: This is the part of the email where I tell you that some of what you’re about to read is considered “tough love,” but I’m not in the business of telling you what you WANT to hear…I tell you what you need to hear. This is one of those.
Tough love fact #1: There is no such thing as a comfort zone. We attribute “comfortable,” or I guess a better word would actually be “familiar,” with secure and it’s simply not true. Unless you’re completely financially independent (I’m talking Bill Gates, Richard Branson, or Forrest Gump after the fruit company, level of financial freedom), you are no more secure hiding in your “comfort zone” than you would be actually taking control and living your life. Let’s face it – you could get laid off tomorrow. You could find out that your CFO has been embezzling money for years and your “stable” job was an entire house of cards and it just collapsed. Your boss decides to get out of whatever business you’re in, sell the company, and close the doors. Just like that…your “comfort zone” is gone. There are a million different scenarios like this.
Tough love fact #2: The idea of your “comfort zone” actually just means you’re most likely unprepared should one of the scenarios listed above actually occur. One of my mentors, Ed Decosta, has a book called “Ascend” and in the book we learn this:
“Psychologists teach us that a comfort zone is an artificial mental boundary within which you maintain a sense of security and out of which you experience great discomfort.”
Like Ed mentions in his book, of course, while these boundaries may be artificial in the eyes of the world’s psychological professionals, they can be very real to you and me. But it’s important to recognize it for what it is…a lie.
Tough love fact #3: Your “comfort zone” is really just a nice way of saying “doing nothing,” because that’s exactly what we do in our comfort zone. Nothing. You’re certainly not growing, because in order to TRULY grow you have to take some sort of action. Growth does not occur within your comfort zone. Period.
“But JR, I’m paralyzed by the fear of what might happen if I leave this warm, cozy, and familiar place,” you say.
Tough love fact #4: You’ve already experienced this AT LEAST once before! Think about it…at some point along the way…what is familiar to you now…was new and unknown. You made a decision to do the things you’re doing now, and the result was your NEW comfort zone.
Tough love fact #5: You’ve already proven that you can change. In fact, you’ve not only proven that you’re capable of making a decision for change, but proven that it CAN work and you CAN be “comfortable!”
DO IT AGAIN!
“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal!” ~Robin S. Sharma
Tough love fact #6: The life you want, and the dreams you “wish” and “want” to come true already exist outside of your comfort zone. All you have to do is go get ’em. The journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step…take it! Create your new normal, and remember that time is not on our side…so start now!
I’ll leave you with this life lesson from Lucille Ball:
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t.”