Much has been written about the donut – the comfort zone / learning zone / terror’s edge. The best results come from spreading yourself across comfort zone and learning zone. Changing too much at one time can land you in paralyzing terror and not yield the desired outcome.
Long live the comfort zone
I (and many people) have a tendency to hang around in the comfort zone. Not venturing out means, generally, you can predict the outcome. For lack of a better word, it is comfortable.
I found myself deeply comfortable throughout 2017. My husband and I both worked for the same company and had for several years. We lived in a nice apartment complex and had for several years. We carpooled to work together and hit the gym in the evening. On weekends, we traveled or volunteered at a theatre in our neighborhood.
It was nice.
Find the dissatisfier
You might ask, what is wrong with this picture? My biggest dissatisfier was place – I never really felt at home in DC the way I had in San Diego or other cities I lived in. Place was like a pebble in my shoe, making the rest of the equation not quite right.
The powers keeping me in the comfort zone – the sense of the familiar and the known, were strong. I realized that I wouldn’t change without forcing myself out of that reliable and cozy environment.
Make a commitment to change
On New Year’s Eve in 2017, my husband and I made a commitment. We declared that 2018 was the year we would move out of DC. We looked at every city in the US and made a shortlist.
The final decision was Minneapolis. Once the plan was set, the uncomfortable questions and details began to emerge:
- When will I move
- What will I do for work
- Should I take time off
- How do I build a community in Minneapolis
- What if neither of us has health insurance….
These challenges make it easy to slide back into the status quo, to stay safely ensconced in the comfort zone.
The first step was to make that commitment, knowing there is never a great time to upend life. Setting a mandate at the beginning of the year enabled me to take action, even before I sorted out all the details.
What is your mandate for the year?
As 2019 begins – I challenge you to think about your own audacious life change. Are you feeling a little stuck? What could you commit to that would get you moving in a new direction? What mandate will get you out of your comfort zone?