Are you comfortable right now? Do you have your large drink and are you sitting some place soft and cozy? Everyone one needs a sanctuary, a place to recharge their batteries. At the same time everyone needs a dream, a passion so deep that it ignites your soul makes you hungry to leave your comfort zone and chase it.
I had a dream. My dream was to have my waist back, but this isn’t a weight loss story. This is the story of how dreams come true. This is about leaving your comfort zone and finding a new happy place.
Exercising in public may not be outside your comfort zone, but it was outside of mine. I wanted to run the beach — I just didn’t want anyone else on it. I wanted to work out in my own living room without giggling children or mocking adults. That was less likely than the empty beach.
The question was, did I want to change bad enough to leave my comfort zone? Was I willing to get comfortable with discomfort and enter the uncomfortable zone? Did I have the energy to change and how would my family deal with my changes?
I made a plan to go so deep into the uncomfortable zone I should have been required to carry a Passport. This is what I learned:
Start with a dream
. Create a vision of who you want to be, or what changes you want to make for your family. Involve your family or share it with family. If this is hard, recognize that sometimes life is so difficult we find ourselves on auto pilot and dreaming becomes frightening. Dreams can feel like another way to fail or lose something you never had. Remember how to dream and how to fly in your dreams just a little higher. Your children see your example and gain the courage to try new things.
Examine your comfort zone
. Spend time reflecting on how you got to where you are now. Ask yourself what you love about it. What in this comfort zone is your friend and ally and makes you feel safe? Then examine the cost of staying in your comfort zone. Is your couch and big screen T.V. the throne in your palace or is it really a gilded cage keeping your from the joy of growth and adventure? Fear is contagious. Are your children afraid of the same things?
Work on being comfortable feeling uncomfortable
. The only bars on the prison of your comfort zone are the barriers in your mind. You have created barriers for good reasons. They have been your friends, protected you and kept you or your family safe. Change can be uncomfortable for you and your family.
Think positively. Daniel G. Amen, M.D., world renown CEO of Amen Clinics, which specialize in brain research, tells us to, “...recognize that thoughts are real and they have consequences in the real world.” Remind yourself and your family to trust you and know you will care for them. Use the same praise and positive language you use on children, on yourself.
Set small goals and celebrate successes
Set small goals. Break a big change into small goals and reward yourself each step along the way. Try the timer method. For example, if you are afraid of paying bills, set a timer for 15 minutes. When it goes off, reward yourself and stop for at least an hour. Schedule another 15 minutes later.
Take it one tiny step at a time. Jeff Wise, author of, “Your mind in danger,” said, “Think small: A truly daunting task can drive even the toughest into discouragement. One trick is to just focus on the little piece in front of you…”
Clue in loved ones
. When we begin to change our loved ones often want us to change back. We are impacting their comfort zone. For example, when we go on a diet our spouse may buy us candy. His sabotaging behavior may unintentional. Learn to gently ask for help to reach your goals.
. We learn by making mistakes. Success is so much sweeter if it follows failure. Everyone loves to watch the underdog come from behind and prove the world wrong by winning. Failure doesn’t have to be the end of the story. It can be a step on your amazing journey.
Carlin Flora, author and past editor for Psychology Today, said of failure, “Unless we learn to embrace failure (whether it's led by an unavoidable mishap, a moral lapse, or a risk miscalculated), we remain snugly tucked inside our comfort zone. The pressure to be perfect leaves us tip-toeing around family members or coasting on automatic pilot at work, feeling safe but stagnated — and not quite alive….What's holding us back? A fear of failure.” She points out that employers and parents encourage us to try to and be innovative or creative and then punish us when we fail. Our children learn to lose with grace when they watch us recover from failing.
A wise man said, “"Try not! Do, or do not, there is no try.” (OK, Yoda said it in Star Wars, but the quote made Wikipedia and he is right.) Turn and face your dreams. Put one foot in front of the other. Move outside your comfort zone and in the direction of dreams and adventures.
Two years ago, older and broader than the shy 30-year old who ran country roads, I ran the beach. After just a few minutes I discovered something amazing. Something absolutely mind-blowing. I loved every minute of it. You couldn’t wipe the grin off my face and I didn’t care who looked at me.
Just like fear is contagious so is courage. Travel outside your and your family's comfort zone. Teach by example. Dream, think positive and make your family’s life just a little brighter and their world just a little larger. Get your Passport to uncomfortable.
Shannon Symonds, Author of Safe House due to be released July 2017 by Cedar Fort, has 15 years experience working as an Advocate for victims of domestic and sexual violence while raising 6 children in Seaside Oregon. She loves to write, run and Laugh