I got into a bad habit of waking up at 3:30 in the morning to check my phone. This breaks every tech rule, but it seriously became a compulsion. I had to see the photos of my child.
Let me back up a little so you all understand.
I said NO to the mission trip
And then, as kids will do, she went to her dad. That was just fine, because I was totally confident: my husband would never say yes to this mission trip.
He said yes, but she had to raise half of the funds needed, which was a daunting number for a thirteen-year-old.
Still, thinking we were safe, time passed and life was cruising along, all the while my daughter was baking and selling cookies, sending letters, and quietly amassing the funds for nearly the entire trip!
Uh Oh! Instantly, I am at the edge of my comfort zone
And soon enough, I was compulsively checking my phone at 3:30 in the morning when the leaders would post photos at about 9:30 in the morning in Greece and Sicily.
One morning I saw my child climbing Mount Etna, an ACTIVE volcano. Hello?! Did they realize this same volcano had erupted six weeks prior?
Any parent knows that our children drag us, kicking and screaming oftentimes, to the edge of both reason and our comfort zone. Am I right? (I see you nodding your head!) Well, the ability to drive humans to the edge is not limited to one’s children. Not only that, the edge of our comfort zone can take on many forms and appearances.
I survived my daughter’s trip
…and the volcano did not erupt while she was on it. (Actually, it just erupted again!)
Thinking about this reminds me: sometimes it does take an eruption to cause us to make a change.
All of a sudden, we are hit with a major thing, like a job issue, or an illness. We are never ready for this type of eruption, we are uncomfortable, and yet we must adapt.
We need to become comfortable with the uncomfortable
The eruption may not be fiery, loud, and causing everyone to leave their homes to escape flowing molten lava. Maybe it is just a small eruption, with some sparks flying, like being assigned the project that you don’t want, or a new, super-eager boss who has you on edge.
If you are anything like me, you hang out in a comfortable space for quite a while before shifting outside it, and generally, that shift takes some encouragement or force. I kind of enjoy having people around me who encourage me to grow and change.
Some of you probably know that I am a resource on Mind Body Align’s creative team. I am working with Annamarie on a journal that will eventually be a tool for each of you. My career took some twists over its now 25 years, but one consistent theme has been the written word.
I started off as a lawyer, but soon discovered that sparring in a board room over contract terms was horrifying to me. I made a shift, to a law practice where I was interacting with people, but I was in the middle, a judge, and my decisions were written. It was perfect.
Until it wasn’t.
Isn’t that how it always happens?
I had to make a change; a major shift
Suddenly, I was at home with my son, trying to remember which day of the week it was and what it was like to go to the bathroom by myself. Eventually, at a mom’s group, I encountered the owner of an antiquing journal and public relations firm, who asked me to write and edit for her. Being free and open to this opportunity allowed a totally new career to emerge.
I was chatting with my family about this, and how making a major life change qualifies as “at the edge of my comfort zone.”
We all agreed: where it gets more interesting is in the smaller changes, and even in the way one handles being at the edge when facing both large and small matters. My husband is a former Marine, and he told me that Marine recruits and Navy Seal trainees are both taught the same basic principle:
“You are capable of much more than you believe.”
If we all adopt this, we are all capable of more than we believe. Our capabilities are greater than we can know or even imagine.
Not only that, we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you think about it, one’s comfort zone can be a pretty big zone, and have varying degrees of comfort. You may be only slightly comfortable with starting something new, like a couch to 5K running program, but you can still embrace the small bit of comfort and continue in a positive way.
There are times when what you hear in your mind is screaming.
“This is a disaster!”
“I cannot figure this out.”
It is not actually a disaster, and YES, you can. We can all adopt my husband’s favorite mantra, “I think I am going to be amazed at how this will work out.” Hearing this immediately helps me be open.
Open to the amazing
The mind opens, my eyes begin to see things differently, my ears are listening and hear words that are positive. It is all about your posture, your openness, and just looking for the amazing.
Why wait for the eruption of the volcano? We can also start new good things all on our own.
Most mornings I listen to Sirius XM Morning Mash Up on the way to work. On the first day of each new month, they recommend their listeners start something new. Also, check out this great, quick, three-minute Ted Talk by Matt Cutts on why we should start something new every thirty days.
On the edge of your comfort zone every thirty days? Yikes!
What should we do first?