“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone”.
John Maxwell, author and motivational speaker
I’ve been watching my youngest daughter lately in her 2nd season of high school Cross Country running. Last year, as a new runner in her Sophomore year, she had nowhere to go but up – no expectations, no responsibility and no attention (initially). She joined the team because she had decided to take a break from many years of dance, and because she wanted to broaden her social horizons within her high school.
Her body just happens to have a good build for running and so her natural ability began to emerge as the season progressed. She moved from the Frosh/Soph squad to the Varsity squad and she loved everything about it – the exercise, the camaraderie, the fun of the new social interactions and, perhaps lowest on the list, the competitive element.
Really? Why wouldn’t winning be foremost in her list of goals? Because competition was something she was uncomfortable with and unsure how to manage.
So fast forward to a new season…. a new coach, younger, very enthusiastic, very goal oriented and very competitive…..
The training schedule is intensified with double days (5:30am early morning practice 3 days a week), on top of 2-3 hour practices 5 days a week after school and Saturday morning swimming (cross-training) practice for 3 hours. The goal of the stepped-up training was to enable the team to win the State Championships at the end of the season.
During a recent intensive one-on-one practice with her coach in which she was driven temporarily beyond her comfort zone into a new level of achievement, speed and endurance, she began to question her ability, her enjoyment of and dedication to this sport.
She was hitting a wall of energy and pictures and it was painful – both physically and mentally.
The pressure of expectation, responsibility and competition was weighing her down.
Your comfort zone is not a single, solitary, one-dimensional place or area within your life. Rather it is a multi-faceted vibration of energy involving family, friendships, relationships, academic ability, physical ability, mental capacity, spiritual understanding and awareness, social/political/cultural/moral conscience, etc., and the mental image pictures in your space pertaining to all of those aspects.
For example, perhaps your physical comfort zone is formed in part by the genetics of the body you inherited, and in part by the fears of your parents for your well-being. Maybe the trauma of an earlier injury, even though long ago healed, remains seated in the cells of the body and imprinted as a picture in the mind, creating tightness, holding, tension and fear.
How about in relationships? Are you cautious and guarded due to past hurt or rejection? Have you determined your relationship comfort zone in relation to this past pain?
Comfort zones can be a positive tool to use while in the process of recovery or healing – sort of like a band-aid or dressing over a wound, protecting the damaged area until it heals. However, they can become restrictive and controlling when you are attempting to grow and change, creating seemingly invisible boundaries to your forward motion.
Do you have comfort zones that are out of present time, holding you back from achieving your goals? Or are you feeling very comfortable right now? Perhaps you are taking a well-deserved time-out, a vacation from the continual forward motion of growth and development.
If you would like some assistance in determining whether you are simply resting, or stuck in a holding pattern a healing session can shed some light on where you are on your path.
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng.