“You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.” – Abraham Maslow
The Comfort Zone
The Comfort Zone is more than just an idea. It is a physical feeling for us all. We feel a particular way – call it comfortable – when we are in the comfort zone; and uncomfortable when we step outside of it. But here is the thing. The opposite of the comfort zone is not the uncomfortable zone. The opposite of the comfort zone is growth, opportunity, increased potential, deeper relationships, adventure, excitement, possibility, greater success, deeper happiness, etc.
The Discomfort Zone is not everything outside of the comfort zone. The discomfort zone is a little ring around the comfort zone that you need to pass through in order to get to the growth zone. The discomfort does not last forever. It dissipates when you move against it and through it. And when you do that, you arrive in the Growth Zone. Plus the other cool thing is that now the comfort zone expands out to meet you.
This is something I was facing recently. I needed to have a ‘tough’ or uncomfortable conversation with someone about a business relationship. We needed to talk ‘money’. And we all know the conversation about money is always very emotional. But leaning into and moving through this ‘tough’ conversation allowed us to come out the other side with a new understanding of each other, and a deeper relationship. I also had a personal conversation that I needed to have with a good friend about how I felt upset (almost to the point of tears) over an incident where I felt I had let them down. In order to have this conversation I needed to be vulnerable and let them know how upset I actually was (dudes talking with other dudes about tears is generally not the easy stuff). Not exactly a comfortable conversation; but I leaned into the discomfort and as a result was able to getter process my own emotions and deepen the relationship we have. Plus we both learned a lot from the conversation.
So know that on the other side of tough conversations, if you stay with them and finally move through them, you arrive in an amazing new place. You can feel free, lighter, more courageous, more confident, more clear, more knowledgeable and a better version of yourself. So I encourage you to lean into those tough conversations with your boss about a pay rise, with your partner about where they see the relationship in 5 years, with your parents over something that has always bothered you and you want closure on, or telling your friend how you feel let down by them. All of these take a great amount of courage, but who you become on the other side of discomfort is an entirely new, more authentic, version of your best self.
My Final Words
Outside the comfort zone is an exciting world of possibility. It just takes you to move through the relatively narrow band of the uncomfortable zone.
Have the tough conversation you have been putting off. Know that what awaits you, on the other side, is the best version of yourself, and a world of opportunity.
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