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Comfort Zones + Why It’s Important To Go Beyond Them

They say that nothing good grows outside of our comfort zones. I don’t know if that’s fully true, but I do know that lately, life has been pushing me and everyone around me out of comfort zones. I have a friend who is dealing with a relationship change, I know several people who are in active pursuit of a new personal or professional goals, and we all know that I’m being put out of my comfort zone as my husband and I renovate our new house in preparation for the arrival of our new baby!

As we navigate life, there are several times that we stop and say “waiiiiiit a minute, this is uncomfortable. Can we pause? Go back in time? Maybe what I thought I wanted is too big for me!!” But what if, instead of sitting in the doubt, we dared to dream bigger? Several times throughout my life, I’ve been encouraged to dream bigger and “lean into the discomfort” instead of shrinking away and, to quote one of my favorite movies: “Let the Fear of Striking Out Keep You From Playing The Game.”

I was talking with a friend about a big move she was making recently, and she shared with me her feeling of imposter syndrome. From the outside, she had always been this person with such a clear purpose. As someone who works constantly with helping people find their niche, hers always seemed handled and down to a science. Honestly, looking at her, you would think she was one of the most self-assured people you’d ever met. But as she shared her doubts and fears with me about making an official step into this purpose, I was almost encouraged by her humanity. It made me wonder how many great leaders go around with at least a small sense of imposter syndrome? How many of the people we look up struggle with the same comfort zone anxiety that we do? What would happen, and how much greater would we each be, if we felt the fear and did it anyway? The worst that would happen is that we would have to pivot our plan.

In my job, I listen to a LOT of motivational speakers and leadership gurus, and something they ALL say at some point or another is “get comfortable being uncomfortable”, and after a lot of grappling with that saying because it… makes me uncomfortable… I think that it’s true.

In my experience, life takes turns challenging us personally and professionally. Sometimes those growing pains happen at the same time. But when we lean into the growth that those lessons and challenges offer us, we’re better able to adjust and grow along with those challenges. In some cases, we learn something new about strategies or situations. In other cases, we learn something new about ourselves. But in nearly every case, our willingness to lean into discomfort and step more into our purpose gives others the permission to do the same thing.

I hope you’ll take the challenge and discomfort you’re feeling and do something great with it. I’m cheering for you.

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