I think, not that long ago, I could have been a poster child for sticking to the comfort zone. I had become very good at marching along to the same beat, and just zoning out anything that might shake things up. Maybe you have, too. It can be difficult to know when a safe place has become a hideout when it’s as familiar as your comfort zone.
Things really hadn’t changed in my life for quite a while. As a matter of fact, it was downright status quo. But a few years ago, I found myself growing increasingly disappointed, unfulfilled and even angry with some aspects of my life. I realized that even though I was doing the same things I had done for years, it wasn’t what I wanted anymore. I was no longer content to let things be as they had been.
Like the people described in this illuminating video I’m sharing below, I started making changes and then I started getting uncomfortable. Small changes could mean big changes were on the way. And then I could see them on the horizon, and that was really scary. That comfort zone was looking pretty OK for a while.
I realized this was what was holding me back. Not that it was it was all that great to be there, anymore, but it was familiar. I had to get really brave if I was going to embrace this new path that was unfolding before me. Not everyone in my life was onboard, to be sure. Even talk of change meant some upheaval for them, too. Thankfully, I have a small, but supportive network that was a little shocked to hear how much I wanted to change my life, but stepped up and did what they could to help me on my way. Oftentimes, it is all that I could hope for. Sometimes, it isn’t enough. I really have to dig deep to be my own advocate. And the changes start to come.
One if the areas I felt needed changing was my career. Even though I liked my job and the people I worked with were lovely, I started to question my place there. I wasn’t finding it fulfilling. I dreaded going in some days. I was having difficulty seeing it being a part of my life for the long haul.
I began dreaming of being more autonomous and creative. It took root. Today, I find myself with that different career. One that suits me very well, since I can’t wait to get working every day and the hours seem to fly. There were times of fear, and uncertainty, and of wanting to give up because unfamiliar ground can be unnerving. I stuck it out, though, and now that I’ve come through, I know what’s in store for me when other changes need doing. That doesn’t mean that it’ll be easier. It does mean that I know it’ll be worth it.
I still have a lot in store for me. I’m not done following this journey of change. And I’m not exactly sure what will be at the end, since there are a lot of unknowns that need resolved. What I do know is that while it’s uncomfortable, I’m creating something that is truly my own. It’s going to be the best that I can make it, because I’m doing it consciously, strategically, and thoughtfully. One of my favorite quotes during this time of uncertainty gives me direction and a real sense of peace.
You can have this, too. You don’t have to settle for less, especially if you’re questioning aspects of your life. If you start to hear a little voice inside you challenging your status quo, listen. Scary? Maybe. Uncomfortable? Almost guaranteed. Worth it? Absolutely.
I decided to share this rather private part of myself for a couple of reasons.
1. Along my journey, I’ve found several people at different stages of change. Some of them are courageous and are really doing what it takes to see that change through to the end. I’m as supportive to them as I could wish someone would be to me. And if you’re on this path with us, let me know. Sometimes saying things makes them more real. At the very least, you’ve got an enthusiastic cheerleader in me.
2. I know there are many more people out there that either haven’t had a wake up call, but dearly need one, or are just feeling really and truly stuck. If this stirs up something that could mean a happier end to their story, then it’s worth sharing my own experience.
Be brave, take up the challenge of finding what you want or need, and a way to make it happen. Start your new chapter.
At any given moment you have the power to say:
This is not how my story will end.