What are you expecting to find now you’ve opened this article up? A comfort blanket believing that I couldn’t surely be saying that feeling uncomfortable is good for you. Do you believe that it’s just a headline and the content will be very different and we’ll all live happily ever after in the end?
I believe we will live happily every after in the end, but that we will have lots of uncomfortable moments in our life to get there.
You know those feelings of butterflies in your tummy or there’s a churning and you have that knowing that something has to change. That’s feeling uncomfortable.
The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun.
Those feelings of discomfort are often the same as that feeling uncomfortable when you’ve done something wrong, or told a white lie and you now regret it. What I’m noticing from that is that the feeling is telling me it’s uncomfortable for a reason. I’m on the edge of my comfort zone. Will I step out of it into a new arena or fall back inside?
Stepping outside your comfort zone
We’ve all done it at some points in our life. From going to a new school or starting a new job. Even committing to a partner for a long term relationship is one of those big comfort zone steps. Yet we do it don’t we.
For the school and the job they may simply be the obvious next step to take in our life, or it’s what’s expected of us. It can still be very uncomfortable though even if everyone else around us is going through the same thing.
For committing to a long term relationship, I experienced a knowing that I wanted to make that commitment. I had no doubt that marrying this man and committing to living our lives together as a unit was the right thing for me to do. Over the last 22 years of marriage I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d sometimes wondered if we were meant to be together long term! However, that knowing that we’re partners in life holding hands together through the roller coasters life has put in our paths is still the right thing for me.
Welcome to the tipping point
Have you ever had that feeling that you’ve reached a point of no return? That it’s too uncomfortable to stay where you are, but it’s scary to step forward to a new place? That’s what I call the tipping point.
I’ve had many of them in my life, so I’m sure you have too. Some may feel bigger than others. When I’ve worked with clients it’s easier to see from the outside how they are holding on by their fingernails to something that no longer is useful to them, just because it’s comfortable and they know it inside out.
I felt that when I let my first business go. I remember the feeling of making the decision that I could no longer go on as I was and the thing that had to go was that business. Not because it was failing, but because I’d outgrown it (or it had outgrown me maybe?), and I realised that I much preferred to help other people than parcel up packages everyday in a faceless way. As soon as I’d come to that realisation I felt free.
The decisions which came after that moment weren’t easy, but each step of the next few months was based on the fundamental knowledge that I was doing the right thing for me. I’d built a successful business and now it was time to let it go and be loved and nurtured by someone else for whom it was the right thing to do at that time.
The relief I felt! It felt like I shed a skin that day and become a different person. I remember feeling “I’ve found myself again” in that moment.
Yet even now, I know that I’ll still cling to things in my life which no longer serve me. Somehow I’ve either not reached the tipping point, or the discomfort of staying where I am isn’t too uncomfortable, so I’ll sit and watch the view of a new horizon that looks scary.
How do I know it’s scary? I don’t! I’m simply making that up in my imagination because I’ve no idea what lies ahead. You know the saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side”. Our sub-conscious mind is saying, “Ahh, but is it?” 😉 Ha!
Who do you listen to?
Have you ever had a boss or teacher that encouraged you to do something you didn’t think you could possibly do? They saw potential in you you didn’t see for yourself? What did you do? Did you listen to them and put your faith in their experience and knowledge that they only wanted the best for you. Or did you listen to yourself and recognise that they were telling you something you already knew. They simply supported you to do the right thing for you at that time?
It’s interesting isn’t it? We all have friends and teachers and mentors in our lives. You may well be a friend, teacher and mentor to many others. You too may have suggested to others that they should try this or do that. Have they listened to you?
When you know yourself and listen to yourself you’ll ALWAYS find the right answer for you. It’s not always easy, but you know deep down what your next step is. Whether it’s a relationship that has run it’s course, or a job that is no longer fulfilling, you’ll have that inner knowing, or feeling that something needs to change.
It’s strange I think that we can have that inner knowing, we can listen and simply know that something has to change (and sometimes we don’t know what), but it’s still not enough to step outside the comfort zone we’re currently in. What do we think is going to happen to us? Well that’s easy! Our unconscious mind is trying to keep us safe in our “survive” mode. Yet there’s that part of our mind that’s telling us that we we’ll thrive if we move over there and do that.
What do we listen to? Survive or thrive?
I may be challenging thoughts and perceptions for you today. I make no apology about that. We can all choose what we do with our life, and each minute of our day. However uncomfortable you get wherever you are, when you have that knowing that something’s not right you WILL reach a tipping point and have to make a choice. Will you choose to stay “safe” and survive where you are? Or will you choose to step out of your comfort zone and know you’ve got the opportunity to thrive if you simply follow your heart.
Every step we take in our life is on a path. There may be mud we get stuck in. There may be big boulders fallen down to block us. There may be sharp pebbles we have to walk over. We can choose to take each step from a knowing that you’re on the right path even if the steps are uncomfortable. Or we can choose not to go on any journey at all.
The choice is ultimately yours. You don’t have to go on your journey alone though – we’re human and we need to be connected with others. We also need supporters, guides and cheerleaders along the way. Without them it’s a very lonely path and we often don’t make it very far.
Are you feeling uncomfortable now?
I’ve discovered on my life journey that I can only be myself and listen to myself to know my next step. We often don’t trust or believe ourselves so we’ll defer to others and ask their views, opinions, advice. Yet it’s you who are living your life. You get to choose.
You get to choose feeling uncomfortable too! Yes! It’s OK to feel uncomfortable. I’ll talk about tension another day. For today though, let’s just think about listening to yourself and that inner knowing of what’s right for you.
Has your tipping point reached that stage that you know you have to move forward to a new horizon even if it feels scary, because staying where you are is too uncomfortable?
Don’t be alone with your thoughts on this. Please share, or get in touch.
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