On jumping out of your comfort zone

I always learn lessons from my kids and toddlers especially seem to be able to show us (very loudly and passionately) how our minds work without the filter of good manners. When Maggie is happy she is REALLY happy. When she is frustrated, man do we all know about it. There’s very little in between when you are little is there?

Unlike us as adults where we can so often sit right in the in between. Smack bang somewhere in the middle of “sad and the world is going to shit” and “elation, nothing can stop us!” Right there in our comfort zone is where most of us sit in our day to day lives in every aspect of it: personal relationships, our health and fitness, our careers and work – we stay there in the middle because it’s what we know. It’s comfortable. There are no questions asked. It’s not too hard. We know it. It’s usually just easier.

I can think of a few times when I have been well and truly thrown out of that comfort zone though.

I know when I broke up my engagement and long term relationship many moons ago now and turned up at my Mum’s house at the age of 25 asking if I could move back in it was definitely not easy. It was uncomfortable. It was hard. And yuck. But it was the right thing to do.

I know when I had my first daughter and I was home with a new baby and I had NO clue what I was doing and was so stressed out, knew nothing, was completely overwhelmed and uncertain about everything it was not comfortable. It was hard. And worth every bit of uncomfortableness.

When we moved down here to the Highlands 8 years ago and knew no one, I’d left my job and didn’t know what was going to happen. I was unsure about pretty much everything, I felt all those things too.

But you come through the other side and you are a different version of who you were before. Lessons have been learnt and a stronger version of yourself comes out the other side. It’s from leaving the familiar and comfortable.

This year has been a tricky one for me personally with work. I had the book that I was so excited and working towards fall dead and while I thought I was OK with that, I actually wasn’t. And then there was a huge decline in work (and subsequent income) it’s been tough. I would try my best but I couldn’t help but find myself back in the comfort zone with added misery wondering why everything was so hard, poor me, you know.

And then, bit by bit I managed to get my shit together. And you know what it involved? Getting out of comfortable and directly into Uncomfortable. It’s so stressful there. It’s overwhelming, it’s hard because you don’t know what you are doing. It takes self belief and a little confidence. It takes every single day telling yourself “it’s ok, you’ve got this. You’re ok. It’s going to be ok.”

Getting the shop up and running has been a HUGE learning curve. It’s been all those things I mentioned and slowly but surely I am coming through the other side a little wiser and stronger, with lessons learned. I am a more confident version of myself than I was 6 months ago and for that, I am so proud.

I wanted to encourage you, if you are feeling a little stuck right now, to look for ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to a big life changing thing: it could be as simple as going for a walk 3 times a week. Maybe it’s bigger, about leaving your job, looking for a new role, applying for this or that, going back to study. Maybe it’s in a relationship, maybe it’s as simple as if you are deep in the uncomfortable nature of change a reminder and reinforcement from me that it’s going to be OK. Encouragement to keep going, you’ve got this.

I know that the start of a new year is usually a time to make such big promises and ideas about the year ahead. I know that at the start of 2018 I was doing all those things, and while they didn’t turn out as I hoped, I have managed to change tack and here I am somewhere completely different, and isn’t that wonderful?

Life is all for the living. It’s meant to be messy and complicated, at times stressful and hopefully more often than not, wonderful and happy. It’s important to not wait for “that day” or “some day” to make changes. Good things can come from change, it’s not easy, but then nothing good ever came easy did it?

Are you thinking about making a change?
Stuck in a comfort zone you know you need to move out of?
Or deep in the thick of uncomfortable? Its going to be ok, promise.

Comments

  1. Anne Davis says:

    After making one big change 6 years ago, to travel and work around the country, we are now planning to spend more time at home.
    After the flexibility we enjoyed for the last few years, the idea of committing to an office job again was not appealing at all! Also we gained 5 grandchildren in that time so I was looking to do something that would still be adaptable for our lives.
    After months of research and tying my brain up in knots, i finally made the decision to ‘go hard or go home’ !
    In two weeks, I will be taking delivery of a long arm quilting machine to do as a business. I love quilting and have my fingers crossed that I will get enough customers!
    There’s plenty of self-doubt but I’m trying to listen to my ‘support team’ who keep telling me that I’ve got this. It’s a huge step for me, both financially and confidence wise, but I’m giving it a go!
    Having been a stay at home mum for most of our married life, there’s nothing like jumping into your dream career at the age of 55, right?!

  2. melanie tarr says:

    Great post!! Thanks and needed. Hey I don’t thing the book feel flat is it just on hold? A timing thing.

    M

  3. Thank you so much for the post 🙌🏻
    It’s absolutely perfectly timed. I’m about to launch a new job prospect, and have a concept in the works so big I’m freaking out almost daily with not knowing where to start, while also on the brink of having to leave my job to relocate to the south coast for my husbands work.
    There’s big changes afoot and I’m shit scared but crazy excited and just focusing on getting out of my own way to hurl myself into it all head first. I have loved your story since I first read it, and to be on the brink of similar myself is terrifyingly exciting!
    As always, love your work 👏🏻😘

  4. I finally did this! 8 weeks ago I resigned from my corporate job and moved completely away from an industry that I’d work in for 20 years!
    I had always thought that it was financial reasons why I had to stay, good money, flexible hours around the kids, 1000+ hours of sick leave banked! But it was actually my own self belief holding me back!
    What changed for me about 4 months earlier was the way I wake up in the morning, yes it sounds crazy but hear me out. Now every morning I spend 20 minutes on a morning practice of 5 mins stretching, 5 mins meditating or breathing (I use an App to help with this -Oak), 5 mins of reading (personal development content) and 5 mins journalling. I seriously put the change in my mindset down to this. You know once I resigned and did a bit of work about what my passions are and what I want to do, I have had offers of employment coming in every week. I guess you’ve got to create the space to allow the new and exciting things to come in. xx

  5. I retired from my career about a year ago – my choice and the timing was right. Since then there’s been all sorts of uncertainty about what to make of this stage of my life. I’ve tried a bit of this and a bit of that, some creative stuff and some volunteer stuff. Nothing fits right yet but I’m learning by trial and error. I’m definitely happier than a year ago, and even happier than 6 months ago. There was a clear path to becoming qualified for the work I did but retirement is more like motherhood – not much training but absolutely life changing and a bit overwhelming in terms of the big questions of what’s life all about and what am I for? I feel like I’ve made progress but there’s more adjustment and discomfort to go and I’m OK with that.

  6. This is such good advice! I find it’s easy to get into a rut with things – especially as a mum, you don’t often have a lot of energy left over to change things up and try something new! Little by little I’ve been trying different things though and while it might not be big steps away from the comfort zone it’s good to try stretch yourself a bit now and then!

    Hope that you are having a good week so far! I had the day off yesterday which was lovely 🙂

  7. Reminds me of this Passage from Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

    “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

  8. This was just what I needed to read. Thank you Beth.

    I’ve been tossing up whether to play it safe and keep it comfortable (but a bit boring) with some work options or whether to venture out into discomfort but potentially excitement. “A ship in the harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

  9. I’m 42 and I just did this! I’d been working in Special Needs Education for 15 years, full-time permanent position, all school holidays off!!!! But……… could not quiet the voice in my heart saying I should do Youth Work with children in Care. Not just children in Care but those so damaged they cannot be placed in Group Homes or Foster Care. Once I found out about these kids I couldn’t stop thinking about them for two years! Believe me, I tried so hard. Eventually resigned from my job to the shock of everyone I know including myself. Now I’m with these kids and doing 24 and 48 hour shifts. One week I spend two days and nights with them. The next week it’s three. Yep, I have my own kids too 19yrs old and 12, almost 13. ALL our lives had to completely change. My own family have had to step up and do so much more with mum away on shift. I thought I’d DIE from the worry of how they’d cope without me! Guess what? Everyone has done great, thriving even!
    I’m spending a lot of time in Children’s Court, Police Stations, Hospitals and Prisons. It the hardest and most uncomfortable period of my life. I don’t feel confident. I don’t even feel competent yet! I just keep trying. It’s scary and lonely and completely overwhelming but I just keep trying. I want the kids I’m working with to know that someone cares about them and is on their side and that they are safe. I want MY kids to know that we can do hard things! That you can feel scared and uncomfortable but still do it anyway. I talk to them about how I feel. I don’t hide from them that I’m scared and uncomfortable but I’m going anyway. I want them to see a woman that pushes herself out of her comfort zone, is crazy with uncertainty but keeps trying till she succeeds (hopefully!).
    I’ve always believed that my number one job as a mother besides loving them unconditionally was to make them strong. Because life is really hard and shitty things happen and I need them to know that no matter what, they can get back up again. They are strong and they will survive. I figure then I’ll know I’ve done my job. I’m working on it xxxxx

  10. January will definitely be a big step out of my comfort zone. We just have a few loose ends to tie up & then in January I am being put on the list for a heart/lung transplant. The start of something big

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