It’s mildly annoying that so much of the language of coaching is cliche, because it can be deadening, it can cease to have meaning. But as I learned once – at a wine-tasting course – of all places, a cliche is often a big seller. Something which is popular and reaches a lot of people, and at which it is oh so easy to sneer, is often intrinsically very good indeed. People are not stupid, they will not buy something in large numbers forever if it is bad. So it is with cliche. It is precisely because it reaches a lot of people that it is good but becomes meaningless so soon.
Which brings me to my topic of the day, your comfort zone, my comfort zone.
It’s comfy here, isn’t it?
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to move very much outside it. And yet I must. It is my work to encourage my clients to do it too, every day.
“Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.” ― Khalil Gibran
Today alone I have spoken to two women who have resigned their “day jobs” and another who’s gone to live in another country. They were all scared, in part, and rightly so.
The ways in which my clients have to get outside of their comfort zones, in order to have what they would prefer, include leaving relationships and jobs which drain every ounce of joie de vivre from their very soul and making the leap. They include asking for the business as self-employed people, often at least one more time than we are truly comfortable with. We don’t want to “badger” our potential clients, after all.
Immediately you leave the CZ there’s a drop. A drop in income. A drop in living standards. A drop from apparently safety into scarcity. And that’s what we fear. But it’s OK. It doesn’t kill us; it’s just what we have to go through in order to get to what we want. And it’s why we either don’t do it at all or delay it as long as we do. It’s really comfy here in the half life.
The tentacles of the CZ are very sticky and they do their job really well. Their job is to keep us stuck and to make the CZ as seductive as possible. And yet some of us manage to extricate ourselves, feeling bad all the while for those we leave behind as we liberate ourselves. And feeling the fear of the new, even to the point of emotional shakes and wobbles and tears.
But even when it’s worse, it’s also better. It is amazing to discover that there’s light after anything you’ve dreaded – divorce, death, disappointment, redundancy. There’s hope and abundance, even after the money runs out. There’s exhilaration after making the leap. There are miracles lurking in the dark just waiting for you to have the time and emotional space to look over there in those dusty recesses.
Even the bad times are good. [Yup, that’s a line from a song. The Tremeloes (don’t ask) circa 1967.]
But look, Team. You know I’m talking sense here, cliche or no. You’ve had enough of this sort of change forced on you, ready or not, to know that something good comes out of something bad, but only afterwards. There’s the drop first. Then the climb back up. It’s gotta happen. Something’s gotta change, something’s gotta give. I know you know that. And so do I. So let’s do it together.
I don’t advocate change or discomfort for its own sake. I do want us all to recognise when we are clinging to the wreckage inappropriately, seeking comfort which no longer lives there and long after we should.
If you are happy with comfy forever, and that’s enough for you, I envy you. For the rest of us? Quit comfy now and again. Do something brave. Go slightly beyond and see what happens. Risk a little, risk a lot (don’t go barmy, not without training and preparation), make the leap and see the net magically appear. Your ship is safe enough to leave harbour and deliver you safely – via adventure – to new shores where the welcoming party are all standing on the dock, saving and cheering. I’m with them. I’ll be there.
How does “comfy” look to you right now? And how can I encourage you to extricate yourself en route to something more exciting, happier and ultimately more fulfilling?