Hey there, it’s Dan the man (no one calls me that) here to chat about expanding your horizons a little bit. We often hear the phrase “go outside of your comfort zone” but why the hell would we want to do that? Let’s discuss.
getting out of the zone
I’m not sure what Miriam Webster’s opinion is, but I feel like there’s a big difference between discomfort and being uncomfortable. And the problem is, so many of us associate discomfort with “feeling bad” but I don’t think that’s the case at all.
I’m finding that the biggest misconception about “getting out of your comfort zone” is that you have to stay out of it. Nuts to that. We can always return to the feelings of safety, solidity and certainty whenever we want.
I think it’s more about taking a couple steps outside the zone, recognizing that it’s not as scary as you thought, and then slowly beginning renovations on your comfort zone, moving some walls out and adding a cute yet functional addition on the back (luckily, no need for building permits!
running from comfort
Some people are built to challenge themselves – they have an innate instinct to do the things they haven’t done. I’m not that guy. I’ve always been pretty healthily obsessed with personal growth, but historically I’ve had some pretty hard edges in my comfort zone. Luckily, especially lately, I’ve begun to really understand the power of expanding that zone, and I’ve never felt better!
A while back I shared how I was not the biggest athlete when I was a kid. As in, I used to conveniently “go to Grandma’s house” the week that track and field took place every year. And I’ll never forget hobbling along with shin splints during the Canada Fitness Test in grade 9 where I came in second last in my grade in the running test. Good times.
So, you can imagine my shock that last weekend I ran my first 10k race! What?
Even though I was cold, nervous, tired plus wildly unpracticed and unprepared, I dealt with the discomfort of a higher-than-normal heart rate and a twinge in my knee and I just kept going.
With about a kilometer left, my playlist blessed me with my girl Kelly Clarkson singing “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” (she’s right you know) and I just started running faster. I know you’re supposed to figure out pacing and all that jazz, but I was just givin’ it. I finally passed this older gentleman who had been kicking my ass the whole time and approached the end where I saw Steve (who I assumed had finished ages ago) waiting to run the last little bit with me.
I did way better than I’d anticipated. Out of 300 runners I got 66th place! 23rd in my age group! 49 minutes and 10 seconds. I’ll take it! Steve totally crushed it and came in 24th. While not surprised I was super impressed. (He then went home and ran the dog another 10k. Show off!)
Before you get it twisted – this is not going to turn into some revelation of me falling in love with running. Hahahaha. No. Running is hard, man!
I do not identify as a runner. I ran. I did run. I runned.
Truthfully, I just wanted to show myself I could do it. I did it!
And now the walls of my comfort zone have expanded to allow a little room to run… once in a while.
trying new things is good for you
We’ve created a pretty cozy-cool place to try new avenues of self care, yet sometimes people come in a bit nervous to experience our newfangled wellness wonderland. People’s comfort zones for wellness are sometimes relegated to massages, facials, spa days, etc. and not necessarily the new-age “techy” version of wellness we’re bringing to the table.
Some people who are claustrophobic look at the Somadome – our glowing, futuristic (and surprisingly roomy) meditation pod – and they’ll say “ooo, I couldn’t do that”. The fear is usually that the space will feel tight, freak them out and they’ll be uncomfortable. Then they get inside and realize the dome creates the illusion of infinite space, and it’s actually super comfortable. Then, they dive into an immersive meditation and emerge rejuvenated. New level unlocked.
Or the infrared session. It’s…warm. 140°F to be precise. In the sauna there’s a beautiful dance of “I’m sweating my ass off and it feels great!” and “It’s f!$%in’ HOT in here get me out!” The positive stress this session places on your body is super beneficial, and people always feel amazing after – the discomfort actually leads to feeling good! What a concept!
So when’s the last time you dipped a toe outside of your comfort zone? And when’s the last time you gave yourself credit for all the things you’ve done and continue to do to become more of who you are?
Remember, expansion is impossible if we keep playing small. I know this because I have to remind myself daily.
So whether your comfort zone looks like a tiny cabin or a massive castle, let’s take a sledgehammer to the walls and make some room to grow.