Tomorrow I am going to a four-day training course to become a Registered Maine Guide. I have wanted this designation all my life, and at the tender age of 40 I am finally going for it. Admittedly, I am a mix of anticipation, excitement and nerves. Thanks to GPS and technology – it’s been years since I’ve had to depend on a compass. While I feel confident in the woods – I am nervous about being put in a “lost person” scenario where it will be up to me, my compass, my training and my instincts to find a “lost person” in the thick woods of Maine. Yup, I am stepping outside of my comfort zone….. something I encourage my clients to do every day. Which makes me wonder – if I am stepping out of my comfort zone – then what the heck am I stepping in to?
Our comfort zones are not where we are the strongest. We stay in our comfort zones because it’s familiar, and predictable – we lay low, we stay still, we are passive and dormant. There are some benefits to staying in your comfort zone – low anxiety and reduced stress. However, dormant beings, that do not grow, eventually weaken and die.
“Isn’t it interesting how a plant seems like it’s either growing or dying? Just like a plant, you’re either growing or dying as well.” T.Harv Ecker
All living things must be split open to grow. When we are conceived, we are just cells – cells that continue to split and break apart until we are fully formed and grown. A chick must crack open it’s shell to grow, and a tiny shoot must break out of it’s seed to grow into a mighty oak, muscle fibers must be torn down in order to build stronger. In order to grow, you must break first.
Next time you feel yourself “breaking”… remind yourself that there is a difference between breaking down, and breaking open. When you break down, you claim defeat, you mire yourself in self-pity, and you wallow in hurt, shame, stress and disease.
When you break open, you acknowledge that the situation that is putting you under stress is serving a purpose – it is the catalyst for growth. When you plant a seed, the expectation is for it to break open and send up a shoot. The shoot is reaching up for water, sun, and nutrients. We tenderly take care of this new growth by providing adequate water, light and nutrients. Just like the tender shoot, reach up to grow, and treat yourself tenderly.
Whether you feel like you are breaking under pressure, or breaking out of your comfort zone – the result is the same – you are growing and becoming resilient and strong.
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~Brian Tracy
Until then, hit the heights!
Priscilla Hansen, CPC – The Natural Leadership Guide