Lessons, musings and advice from the author of ‘The Life I Won’
It is a safe place inside of your comfort zone, warm and fuzzy like you are wrapped in cotton wool. Protected from the world and all of its difficulties and evils. You feel safe and in control inside.
Outside is scary.
Outside makes you feel uncomfortable, uncomforted and exposed.
Outside is a place where you might fail or be hurt, so you stay inside protecting yourself and those you love.
You pass on your comfort zone to your family and loved ones like a fearful legacy.
It’s time to step outside love and show yourself the way.
In four giant steps you can move from comfort to growth. You may have created many buffers to aid your comfort and protect you from the world. I want you to get really honest with yourself and start up a ‘swap shop’.
Extracting yourself from your comfort zone may take time, years even, but if done properly, steadily, mindfully and with a desire to experience life fully then change lies ahead. It won’t be easy, nothing worth doing is easy, but these four big steps can change your life.
Accept that you are living within your comfort zone. Here you feel safe and in control, but you may be living and playing small. You may have introduced substances, behaviours and actions that keep you firmly contained in this zone. Meeting yourself where you currently are and asking yourself what it is that you really want is the starting point. You cannot move away from anything if you don’t know where you are.
Ask yourself these questions:
Where am I now and where do I want to be?
How far away from my goals am I right now?
Who else is in my comfort zone with me and are they holding me here?
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Moving outside requires you to face your fears. Are you affected by the opinions of others, are they holding you there? Do you make excuses rather than taking action? Is your lack of self-confidence a significant factor? Only by dealing with fear can you move towards growth.
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Educate yourself. Deal with your challenges and problems head on. Acquire new skills and start to extend your comfort zone outwards. Make a list of the challenges you currently face, for example if you struggle with your self-confidence, what options are available to you to improve this? Once you know how to improve your self-confidence through help and education you will immediately start to move towards growth.
Make the list as comprehensive as you can and notice how you immediately start to feel more in control.
Embrace growth and expansion. In growth you have found a new purpose and start to live your dreams. You can set new and bigger goals and start to realise your aspirations. Growth through action and education will expand your comfort zone until it becomes a memory.
Inside – Booze, a pain relieving but addictive coping strategy.
Outside – Water. I know it sounds ridiculous to suggest water if you regularly turn to a bottle of wine every evening, but I never said that it was easy to step outside. All your body and mind actually need is water. Like the liquid itself it brings clarity and fluidity. Outside is fluid, it is where learning and growth flow together and combine to create waterfalls, lochs and oceans of experience. When you want that booze, choose water. Be fluid.
Inside – Food. Binging for instant gratification.
Outside – Fuel. Transforming how you view food in your life can be transformative. Fuelling your body in a better way for brain function, body performance and self-care is where education and growth lie. No diets ladies, just good sense, one meal at a time. Just starting by changing one meal from unhealthy to fuel, is a step in the right direction. Replacing sugary snacks with wellbeing breaks like walks in nature, healthier food choices, swimming in the ocean, chatting with a friend, self-care treats like the beauty salon, one snack at a time. I am guilty of cake by the way, but I am changing that one day at a time.
Inside – Box sets and couches.
Outside – Try watching the wonderful movie of life by walking in nature. Breathing in fresh cleansing air. Sign up for education instead of TV. Make swaps that remind you that you are alive instead of watching fictional lives whilst sitting still. Move into life, move into growth.
Inside – Anger and criticism.
Outside – Making time and space for calming activities such as meditation and gratitude. Yoga, Pilates, coffee with a friend and family activities. Put the phone away and re-connect. Look inwards for answers instead of asking outwardly and expecting to feel fulfilled. Swap the anger and frustration for activities and actions which bring you peace.
Inside – Shopping for instant gratification and inviting debt.
Outside – Swap shopping for philanthropy. Find a cause that pulls you, animal cruelty, kids with cancer, stopping hunger, anti-racism, food banks and instead of spending, fund raise. The gratification will be as fulfilling and have a much better economic and personal result.
Inside – Drugs and addiction, self-medication.
Outside – Swap the medicating for people and organisations who offer help and support. Finding others who struggle like you and building a network of support will pave the way to learning and growth. You are not a failure; you just need some help and it’s okay to ask for help on your way to the outside.
Inside – Loneliness.
Outside – Swap loneliness for finding people and connecting with them. Nobody is going to come and find you; it is your job to reach out. As you learn to connect you will start to move through step 3 and educate yourself and into your growth zone. I understand that loneliness can be a dark place, I have been there, believe me, but millions are lonely, even when they are in relationships. You deserve better, someone out there is waiting to connect with you and love you.
My list is not your list, my list is an example. Your list may contain some of these or none of these. You are the creator of your inside-outside list and in creating it you will start to bring yourself back to consciousness. When you are consciously trying to do anything, you will succeed. There may be failures and setbacks along the way, accept this and allow yourself to fail. Failure is a great teacher.
Remember that you are the creator of your life, nobody else has any design patents, the legal entitlement is all yours.
Make the most of this precious gift and stop hiding in your comfort zone. It’s much more exciting outside.