Running a business is a little like standing on the edge of a cliff. The view is awesome but you are in a constant state of trying to keep your feet steady so you don’t take a fall. Sometimes it requires you to take a huge leap in order to climb to the next level. There is anxiety, exhilaration, disappointment and elation. Your emotions run high but through it all you try to keep a level head, making decisions logically, without the emotions that are so close to the surface.
One of the things I rarely experience with respect to Happy Fix is complete and utter comfort. I meet new people, get involved in organizations where I can make a difference, and produce workshops that help people create their happiest life. I do many other things that are out of my comfort zone and are not part of my “normal life.”
While on the surface it may seem masochistic to put myself in situations that are scary and not the norm, it’s not. Am I nervous when I first meet new people? You betcha. Do I get butterflies before a presentation? Absolutely.
Why do I do it? There’s an old saying–well maybe not so old–that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. If you are comfortable, it stands to reason that you are not challenging yourself to be and do more. I am super comfortable when I am sitting in my recliner watching the most recent installment of Call the Midwife or satisfying my latest Netflix addiction. Does that help me build Happy Fix or do anything productive? Nope. Do I need to shut my brain off periodically? Yup. But not for several hours at a time.
We are hardwired to avoid discomfort. Discomfort doesn’t have to be a punch in the nose but it is pain. And pain is no fun. Pain hurts. But pain also signals that something needs to be changed in our lives. It could be our health. It could be our occupation. It could be our relationships. It could be our financial situation.
But here’s the thing with pain–by identifying it, we realize that changes need to be made. By recognizing this, we can make a plan to make those needed changes. By breaking through pain and our fears, we can achieve greatly, setting an example for those around us that you can get what you want out of life if you are willing to be uncomfortable for a bit.
Being comfortable is safe and secure. It doesn’t challenge us. It is, in essence, standing still. In order to experience what life has to offer you have to move forward. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. It’s okay. Mistakes will be made and you will not only get through them, you will learn from them. But, here’s the rub. You have to be okay with discomfort. You have to be okay with not knowing everything. You have to be okay with asking for help when you need it.
Comfort zones should be thought of as a retreat, not as a residence. A vacation home where you can take a break when needed but where, after a short amount of time, you have to leave, refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next opportunity and challenge.
This week, take a minute to commit to a small goal that lives outside of your comfort zone. Step out. Give it a visit and make a plan to achieve it. In doing that, you will expand your zone, give yourself a shot of confidence and show everyone that life outside of your comfort zone is where all the fun stuff is.
Stacy Menzies is founder, president, and Chief Happbassador at Happy Fix. A thought leader and professional educator, she has successfully completed “The Science of Happiness” course through UC Berkeley on the ground-breaking science of positive psychology, exploring the roots of a happy and meaningful life and practical strategies for tapping into and nurturing one’s own happiness. Stacy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Geneseo State University and a Master in Library Science degree from East Carolina University.