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Editor’s Note:  This post was written by Rach from Project Breathe.  To find out more about Rach, please visit her website here and her contributor page here at Our Small Hours.  Be sure to follow Project Breathe on social media:  Instagram, TwitterG+ and Pinterest.

Living in the Comfort Zone

I had a realisation this week. I’m living very nicely within a comfort zone. This thing is that I’ve been telling myself that I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone because I started a business.

To clarify, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with living within a comfort zone. Sometimes it’s really nice to be comfortable, safe and secure. In fact, sometimes it’s really necessary. But there are times in our lives where to develop and grow we need change.

My So-Called adventure

Starting a business has been a huge deal for me. It’s financially challenging and insecure. I’ve had to learn a lot of new skills. I have and still do experience tonnes of self-doubt. Because of these terrifying things I really believed that I was bravely taking on some kind of wild survival adventure.

But when I stopped to think about it I realised owning a business is not really that brave for me. I grew up in a small business family. My father is a long time entrepreneur who passed his skills and wisdom onto me over the years. I’m qualified in the areas that I’m selling and I’m qualified in running a business. And, I’m fortunate enough that my family isn’t financially dependent on my income alone. When I laid out these facts it seems rather natural and safe.

The Need for Change

I love my work and have big plans for its development. I intend to be financially and emotionally successful. But my work is not something that is really taking me out of my comfort zone and I think I’m at a stage in my life where I need to really leave the comfort zone and do something different. I need to grow. Plus, I want to have stories to tell my grandchildren.

This realisation came about when my husband suggested a six month stint living in an apartment in the city. For a girl who’s always lived in the suburbs and always had a backyard this would be a huge change. I realised that I want to run toward this change with open arms. I felt like an adventure. I’d have to learn to live differently and tackle new problems that I’ve never encountered.

The Questions

This stream of thoughts got me thinking though about how often we lead ourselves to believe that we are stepping outside our comfort zones when really, we’re actually staying firmly within it.

If a traveler leaves one destination for another in the name of adventure, are they really leaving their comfort zone or are they simply taking the comfort zone with them? Likewise if a corporate professional leaves one firm and heads to another are they taking on an adventure or are they living the same life in a different place?

If it isn’t so easy to identify our comfort zone how do we figure out when it’s time to move out of said comfort zone and how do we know what to do to really leave the comfort zone?

Looking through the lens of my new found perspective I don’t believe that doing something that feels hard is necessarily taking ourselves out of our comfort zones. It’s just hard. And doing something meaningful and enjoyable within your comfort zone isn’t bad.

If the traveler took on a corporate job now that would be outside the comfort zone. And if the corporate professional left work to travel for the first time in his life then that would definitely be outside the comfort zone. If I get to live in a city apartment for 6 months I’ll be outside my comfort zone.

The Common Thread

The common thread here is that our comfort zone is where we feel familiar and where we can tackle life’s problems in a familiar way even if they are different problems and in different places. That means then that going outside of the comfort zone means taking on the unfamiliar and learning to tackle problems in new ways even if they are the same type of problems.

Following this theory of mine we don’t need to move or travel or do the typical ‘I’m going out of my comfort zone’ things to get away from our comfort zone. We just need to be prepared to tackle life in a new and unfamiliar way.

So, here’s to adventures… the big, the small and unfamiliar.

You can keep updated on the ‘big move’ by following me on Instagram.

Living in the Comfort Zone pin

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