Why Do We Hit the Wall?

What does it mean to you to be comfortable? Does it mean just squeaking by with your bills every month? Having an ok job with fairly reasonable hours? Is your comfort zone that place that’s just a little bit boring but safe from catastrophes like job layoffs, conflicts with your spouse and kids, living a little bit close to the bone but not having too much debt?

As comfortable as an old overstuffed couch might be – is that really how you want your life to be, soft and mushy and hard to get out of? Comfort may not be all it’s cracked up to be and it may also be one of the hardest lifestyle issues to face head on.

Don’t rock the boat. Be happy for what you have. Things could be worse. I’ll get by. Things are calm, I don’t want to make waves. These are all phrases and thoughts that we’ve all had from time to time and they can be life and career stoppers.

And yet, do you watch colleagues at work or friends seem to rocket through their lives, getting promotions, changing jobs, always seeming challenged and excited, trying new things with their families and significant others and wonder how they do it? Here’s a hint: it’s not magic, it’s not where you were brought up, and it’s not the number of college degrees or dollars that you have.

What sets these people apart from you is their willingness to break out of their comfort zones. Sometimes the most uncomfortable place you will ever find yourself is just outside the door to the life you have always wanted and worked for. What makes some people stay the course, and go through that door while others back off of the hot spot and watch another opportunity seem to mysteriously pass them by? Sometimes it’s nothing more than the sheer tenacity and courage it takes to break out of a situation that may be giving you a false sense of security and nothing else.

Find your personal best

First of all, it’s okay to dream. It’s okay to want to shoot for the moon and it’s really okay to want to have a great relationship with your spouse and your kids. Somewhere along the line many of us bought into the notion that we should be ‘happy with what we have’ and not ask for more. With all due respect this is nothing more than fear and a misplaced sense of martyrdom talking. I challenge you right now to take a moment and write down what your life would look like if you were operating at your personal best, pursuing your passions and visions and allowing yourself the opportunity to sail out of your comfort zone. Don’t think about it – just do it.

CEO’s, astronauts, philosophers, scientists, novelists and movie stars, (to name a few) all have something very powerful in common – they have a vision of their lives and they go for it with everything that they have. They don’t wait for things to come to them and they don’t settle for second best. They have a belief in themselves, and an excitement about the possibilities that life holds and they go for them.

Do you find yourself tired all of the time, bored and irritable? Chances are very good that you haven’t given yourself a good challenge lately. It’s okay to start small. Start at the gym. Instead of doing one more brain numbingly boring circuit on the Stairmaster, go to a beginners spinning class, or speed up the treadmill and set it at a small incline. Then challenge yourself to stay at it for 5 minutes longer than your normal workout. Remember to look at what you’ve accomplished when you’re through. Note how many extra miles you covered, extra calories you burned and feel the expansion in your body as it meets the challenge.

If you’ve been at the same job for a long time and you’re just treading water because it’s a little bit to scary to change, take a browse across the web when you get home and look up jobs that you’d love to have. See if there are companies that are in line with what you want to do, research the jobs that are available, look at their websites and consider updating your resume. Or have a chat with your human resource department and find out what the next level at your current company is. Take a training class and make a step towards moving ahead instead of treading water.