Most of us know and recognize that to reach our goals, experience growth, or walk in our purpose and calling, we have to step beyond our comfort zones—which means, we need to be comfortable being uncomfortable. As humans, we dislike discomfort and naturally tend to base our lives around structure, routine, and things that are familiar; things that prevent us from encountering risks and facing losses.
However, some of us spend years stuck in positions and careers that are unfulfilling, ones that we know we don’t love, just so we can maintain stability and get our bills covered every month. The fear and uncertainty of not knowing what’s on the other side of pursuing new opportunities or life changes can cause us to remain stuck and stagnant, leaving us to not move beyond what we are used to—whether it’s in the area of work, relationships, faith, or finances.
When I talk about comfort, I’m not necessarily talking about leaning back and being content with our current state, but I’m talking about being accustomed to what is routine or familiar. A person may not enjoy his or her job but receiving a pay cheque every two weeks may provide them a sense of security and stability. So, that individual may end up settling for that position even though they know that their heart is leading them to do more—they know there’s another level, possibly an opportunity to be promoted to another big position within the company.
In cases such as that one, what ends up happening is the doubts and “what ifs” start to surface. People start having internal dialogues, questioning their abilities, qualifications, and even their readiness. For example, when I was contemplating ending my marriage, I had to make a decision. I had to decide whether I would stay in what I believed was familiar, which was being with someone I had known for nearly 20 years.
I asked myself questions like, “Would I really find anything better? Despite being absolutely betrayed, should I stay in a relationship with this person who I’ve known for so long? Was my future actually going to be greater than what I was leaving behind?” I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I knew I didn’t have all the answers, but I was okay with that.
Deciding to stay in something just because I believed it was familiar, would’ve meant that I would not be satisfied. Taking care of myself was extremely important. If I had chosen to remain in a toxic marriage, I would have neglected my needs and concerned myself with everyone else’s feelings at the expense of my own.
I’ve learned that in order to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, we must each establish the following 4 things:
1. Acknowledge that if we want to move from one level to the next, we must understand that there’s going to be a degree of discomfort.
2. We must allow ourselves permission to be human and own our experiences, understanding that we don’t need to be perfect, things don’t need to be perfect, and we don’t need to have the perfect plan.
3. We don’t have to settle for the toxic behaviours and undesirable circumstances that are thrust into our lives. Just because it’s familiar or because it’s something or someone that we’ve always known, doesn’t mean we have to accept them as the only reality we’ll ever experience.
4. We must identify the steps that need to be taken in order for us to face and move beyond the circumstances and relationships that we’ve grown comfortable with.
As difficult as it may be to press beyond our comforts, remember that you are worthy of being the best version of yourself and deserving of living the best life that you can create for yourself.If you’d like to access what I shared about my experience and gain more insight about how you can master moving beyond your comfort zone, click here for the full conversation!