I hate roller coasters.
I hate water slides.
I dislike black ski slopes. I always have.
I remember going skiing with my family when I was about 10 years old. I told my parents repeatedly that I didn’t like anything about speed or downhill skiing. My knees shake, my stomach hurts and I hate it. So I asked nicely, in my quiet way, to only go on the green and blue slopes. But my amazing parents (and they are amazing) believed that we should always push ourselves.
My family is very active and they all love adventure and sports. I didn’t get that gene and I am generally clumsy at sports. I prefer dancing and walking.
They decided to take me on a black slope.
My fear was so great that I can still remember my whole body shaking. All that I could do with such paralyzing fear was sit down and cry. I remember everyone yelling at me to stop being frightened and to just do it. They yelled, my Dad walked up the slope again and I just sat there and cried until a ski patroller came, put me on his back and helped me down the hill.
You can imagine the shame I felt and the sadness I had about what happened.
From then on I was clear about what I would not do and I did not care about the social pressure from other kids or from my family.
Do we need to constantly challenge ourselves to go outside of our comfort zone?
Is that necessary in order to learn, grow and find fulfillment and success in life?
What do you think?
I believe the answer is yes AND only when we want to.
I believe the answer is also NO when we know ourselves enough to say that something is not for us. Or not for us right now.
It is about honouring ourselves AND also permitting ourselves to feel uncomfortable and scared when we want to take that step.
I love being in my comfort zone when exercising. I do not need to go downhill skiing or mountain biking. I love the tranquility of snowshoeing and walking. That makes me happy. I do not need an adrenaline rush.
I am perfectly fine yelling to the world that I will never ride a roller coaster.
I also know that as a coach and solopreneur I have to constantly challenge myself to do new and uncomfortable things. That is the only way I can improve, try new things and move forward in my career. I do it with fear and discomfort but I believe that there is a benefit to pushing myself.
AND yet, even in those circumstances, I have learned that sometimes I can give it my all and be at my best and sometimes I have to be happy with good enough. Some days I have the energy, the passion, the time and the desire, others I might not.
If we try to constantly be the best in all areas of our lives (as a parent, child, spouse, friend, professional, community member, etc) we will burn out.
It is important to acknowledge that we have a CHOICE.
- We can choose to stay inside of our comfort zone when it is the right thing for us. We can just be, enjoying our lives and going with the flow.
- We have a choice about when to push ourselves. It is true that a lot of the things that we want in our lives are outside of our comfort zone.
- We can choose how large or small of a step into the unknown we are willing to take. It can be a dive into the ocean or a small step with just our toes into the water.
- We can choose when we want to give it our all and try to be at our very best.
- We can choose when good enough is fantastic.
As we enjoy these wonderful warm summer days I invite you to slow down. Breathe in the small things around you. Breathe in special moments.
I invite you to reflect on what parts of yourself and your life you are ready to accept and what parts you know need change and are ready to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.