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I’m Comfortable in My Comfort Zone

Life usually offers up many opportunities which allow us to get involved with new experiences.  Some are exciting, some unexpected, some exhilarating and some completely terrifying.  There are certainly aspects of my life where if you told me 10 years ago would happen or I’d accomplish, I might have chuckled in your face with disbelief.  Like my writing, involvement with Postpartum Progress, getting my suburban groove on with my driving, jumping up and down to advocate for my son, and even running a few 5Ks – all extremely rewarding – and most definitely outside of my so-called “comfort zone.”

The whole idea of the “comfort zone” is an interesting concept.  By definition, the comfort zone is a place or situation where one feels safe, at ease and/or without stress.  But we’ve all seen the posts on social media such as “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” or “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”  So which is it?   Is the comfort zone actually a bad place to be?  Is there something wrong with wanting to feel at ease, safe and/or not stressed?

Now that I’ve accomplished and/or am in the midst of the experiences that I reference above, I feel like I’m in a good spot and pretty satisfied.  So is this my “new” comfort zone?  I think so, right?  And if I am in this “new” comfort zone, is it okay that I want to just be here for a while?   Cause it’s kinda cool here and I don’t want to leave.  I feel great and want to do “more” with my latest ventures.  I worked really hard to get here – but am I holding myself back if I want to stay?  Will I not grow and develop anymore?

Do we always have to be looking elsewhere for bigger and better?

To answer my own questions, I don’t think we necessarily have to look “outside of the comfort zone” all the time to develop ourselves.  Of course we can advance ourselves and be in the comfort zone at the same time. Just kick it up a notch! I can improve my writing; expand my volunteer efforts; run a 10K (well, that last one is most likely a mere example..!)

I’ll take my previous career in Human Resources as a case in point. I worked at my previous company for 16 years. I started as the Human Resources Assistant and worked my way up to Director.   Many people came and went over those years – and there I was, still working for the same company.   Sometimes when I told folks how long I was there, they looked back at me like I had 2 heads.  I actually started to get embarrassed!   Sure, there were definitely times that I felt that I should probably start to look elsewhere, but at the same time, I consistently received numerous promotional opportunities within the company. My bigger and better happened – but not so much because I opted out of my comfort zone.  It happened because I had amazing mentors right where I was.  That – and a little thing called “working my ass off.” No big splash.

Sometimes if you are comfortable in an environment, it may actually lead you to do your best “work.”   Yes, I felt safe and secure, but I wasn’t stagnant in any way.  I was still increasing my knowledge, skill and abilities – even though I stayed in the same organization.  If you are content, less anxious and less stressed, this may actually help in your journey to success.

Maybe it’s been right in front of you the whole time 

Or – I like to believe that another reason to stay put in your comfort zone is that it’s entirely possible that you made the right choices the first time!  The best example that comes to mind is from when my husband and I were first married. We moved into a great commuter town.  We rented a one bedroom in an apartment building, which was walking distance from the commuter railroad into NYC where we both worked.   After about 4 years we wanted a bigger place, but loved our little town.  We decided to purchase a 2 bedroom/2 bath in the building next door.  I recall a relative making a sarcastic comment about our “big” move saying – only you guys would just make a move to the building next door.  All these years later and I can remember this so vividly. Others said “well, you didn’t really move.” (Side note, we did really move  – and a piece of advice – even if you’re moving next door, please hire movers.   Lesson learned the hard way…)

No major stress of finding a new neighborhood.  We were happy and continued on easily with our merry lives. No need to move out of our comfort zone, pun intended.  You don’t necessary have to make a mad dash out of that comfort zone to have an impact in your life.

If you’re happy, content and satisfied, what can’t you just ‘BE’ for a while? 

Feeling happy and satisfied with your life choices does not make you boring.  You’ve probably worked your butt off to get where you are today!  Wear that pride confidently!  Sure, take those risks and take some chances, if you’d like.  But – if you have fulfilled something in life and you want to “stay there” – do that. Don’t feel that you are incomplete or less accomplished if you choose to hang out in your comfort zone.   Because really, don’t most of these “out of the comfort zone opportunities” actually bring you to the place where you want to be? And when you get to that place, you start to feel satisfied, pleased and at ease – AKA comfortable.  We can stay a while and should not be judged as complacent or in a rut.  You’ve tested the waters and found your current comfort zone.  You don’t have to leave yet – It’s so nice here.

In reality, I believe it is less about going outside of the so-called comfort zone, but more about just growing and developing as you see fit.  Be who you want to be – and need to be – and don’t think any less of yourself for doing so. And when you get that itch to try something new…go ahead and go for it. You’ll be proud when you get there – and once you get to your destination, you have my permission to sit back, kick your feet up and make yourself comfortable for as long as you like.   And let’s face it – there are times in life when we need to be there.  Sometimes circumstances dictate the need to just “be” for a while. There are many unexpected challenges in life – it’s completely acceptable to make things easy on yourself.

Listen to yourself.  You know your desires, your needs and what can bring you peace.  Celebrate who you are and what you’ve accomplished  – and you’ll probably land right in your comfort zone, like I have.  I have acted on dreams and fulfilled many goals in the past few years, I’m going to allow myself the time to enjoy my successes – and revel in it a bit too.

If you need me, you’ll know where I’ll be…hanging out in my comfort zone until I decide when I want to leave again.

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