Hey, don’t you think it is all too easy to repeat what for the most part is working? Sometimes, repeating what works is fine. Remember the idiom, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? That is a great advice for mechanical device. But when it comes to personal growth, staying within the boundaries of WHAT WORKS when there is room for improvement is a sure way to stagnation.
One wonderful thing about staying in the discomfort zone is the chance to explore who we think we are. Instead of running on autopilot, being uncomfortable in a new situation allows us to question self-imposed beliefs and limits. We might even discover aspects of ourselves that delight and surprise us as we dance on the edge of certainty.
A similar sentiment was expressed by Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM, while reflecting on her own career: “ Growth and comfort do not coexist. ” Whether you’re growing a business, taking on a new role, learning a new skill, making a change or taking a chance in any area of your life, embracing what is uncomfortable is a prerequisite for learning what you need to learn so you can grow into who you’re capable of becoming.
Well, I know what you’re thinking. RISK! Isn’t it?
There will always be risk.
However, what we often discount or ignore is the risk of NOT TAKING A RISK. Playing it safe can put us far steeper and add on a hidden tax on our future than we like to acknowledge.
Discomfort can be the joyful key that opens up everything for you. You can beat procrastination, start a new habit, learn a new language, make it through challenges and physically grueling events, explore new things, speak on a stage, and even embrace the minimalist lifestyle.
Of course, this runs absolutely opposite to our psychological wiring which is programmed to shore up on safety, security and social approval, not to risk it. We may live modern urban lives, but we still inhabit brains that were wired in our cave-dwelling days. The times when we were failure to be hyper-alert to the risks lurking around every corner meant risking an early departure from earthly shores.
I want you to take a moment to think of what you are most proud of in your life to date. I’ll guarantee you that it won’t be something that was easy or something that didn’t really stretch you. In fact, it’s likely something that challenged and stretched you in many new ways. That’s how life works. We don’t grow from the times life is easy and everything goes according to plan. Rather, we grow when we are stretched, when we have to adapt to change or we’re thrown a curveball that requires us to dig deep.
But hey! Listen up. Unless you’re clear about “why” you need to put yourself OUT THERE where the fainthearted don’t dare to go, you’ll never ever accomplish what you’re capable of doing, what the world needs you to do and you are guaranteed to go to your grave with the song still in you.
Just take that first step… growth over comfort.
Tomorrow, take another.
Whether you reach the goal or not will ultimately matter far less than the person you become by daring to pursue it.