A friend asked me about my thoughts about being in and/or coming out of the Comfort zone (CZ). It inspired me to take a deeper look.
Many people, myself included at times, will nudge you to go out of your CZ, to embrace the unknown, to jump into the deep end.
CZ = You
Even if you really, really wanted, it’s impossible to leave your CZ. Going out of the CZ is an oxymoron. It is alive in you, stored in every fiber of your body. All your past experiences are woven into you, and they drive your future decisions.
You are the CZ. You can’t go out of yourself.
For our purposes, let’s see the CZ as a mental construct – a map to chart the territory. Something to give you awareness of where you are.
The CZ is not a bad place to hang out. CZ is a living memory of all your efforts, wins and fails, lessons learned to come to the place where you are now. A place where you feel You. A place where you are comfortable. Like nicely worn shoes. It’s a Comfort Zone, after all, duh?!
Just blindly leaving the CZ negates your past experiences, and it deprives you of a solid foundation. Not only that but also you’re running out of your Genius Zone.
CZ = Genius Zone
I’ve been drawing and crafting and creating since I was a child. My friends were telling me I was a creative person. I ignored them and went into other career pursuits. Creativity to me was so ordinary and familiar, that I took it for granted and I didn’t appreciate it. It turns out Creativity is my CZ, it’s also my Genius zone.
I’ve been unknowingly chipping away at the 10,000 hours to mastery. It has only been in the past 5-6 years that I embraced my Creativity and I started to feel complete inner satisfaction. It happens when I create.
For you the CZ might be sports, music, books, hosting events, making plans, organizing, being the center of attention, geeking out on the latest gadgets, etc. I bet this is also your Genius zone.
Go deep in your CZ, see clearly your strengths, what’s natural to you. What is so easy to you, that you take for granted and you don’t appreciate. Look at what your friends are pointing at as your strengths, look at what you often get positive feedback on.
It won’t feel like you’re risking anything, it will be a good old comfort, sprinkled with excitement.
Clearly what’s beyond your CZ are your weaknesses or underdeveloped potential, otherwise, you wouldn’t feel resistance to them.
Instead of trying to conquer your weaknesses, why not craft your unique strengths, why not claim them? Why not work on your precious stones, so they shine to their fullest?
CZ = charging station
I’ve been living away from my parents since I was 20. Every once in a while when life becomes “too much” I visit them and my old hood. Although I don’t belong there anymore, the familiar old grounds me, I remind myself of my origins and it gives me the confidence to go on.
It’s only natural that after a couple of days I am ready to leave again into the wide world, rested and charged. I know I can always go back and I’ll be welcomed.
The CZ is just like visiting your parents or your old hood. It is a place of rest, a charging station. A place you can always go back to.
There’s nothing wrong to appreciate where you are (CZ), enjoying and charging yourself before you sail out in unfamiliar waters.
Out of CZ = fun picnic
Going out of your CZ doesn’t have to be a big expedition full of drama and a year-long preparation. You don’t have to take a one-way ticket out of CZ territory, quit your job, burn your bridges, sell all your possessions. It will only alert your defense mechanisms, it will only create unnecessary resistance.
Instead, feel good about it. Like consciously indulge in your CZ. Acknowledge how far you’ve come.
There’s nothing wrong to decide to keep your job and do your entrepreneurial/creative ventures on the side.
You can go every day to the out-of-CZ territory, just a little bit, explore, have a picnic, pick some flowers, put them in a vase, and enjoy. Repeat the next day.
I guarantee you when you accept and embrace the CZ, there will be a natural pull to go out of it. You won’t need any (external) motivation or willpower.
Let your Curiosity be your Guide.