I think of our comfort zones as a space or structure we build/create that surrounds us and is filled with all that is familiar. They vary in shape – some as solid as a brick wall, other are more permeable like a balloon that can stretch. They also vary in size from small to vast.
Our comfort zones are safe places that help us feel grounded and secure in the world. Yet there are times in each of our lives when we outgrow our current comfort zone. Here are some clues to let you know when you are at the edge of yours, ready to step around, over or through the one you have created.
You are restless
You may like where you are but lately have been feeling an “itch” to do something new or shake things up a bit. You have the sensation of fidgeting or being easily distracted by the unimportant.
Action: take a class in something that you have either always want to explore or that has recently piqued your curiosity
You are seeking or searching for something
You are curious. You may be thinking there has got to be more to life than this – but you are not sure what that is. You find yourself imagining what it would be like to be doing something else – you start noticing what others are doing and wondering what it would be like to do it too.
Action:informally “interview” people whose life and work you find interesting, asking questions that help you see how it would fit your personality, needs and desires.
You are bored
What was once interesting is now boring or static. Your passion has dimmed, sparks are missing – and perhaps you are somewhat drained. The “life” is missing from your life. You go through the motions but your heart is not in it.
Action: Grab a friend and brainstorm how you could add some fun into your life, perhaps activities you could do together
In a rut
You realize you have been doing the same things the same way for a long time. There has been nothing new or different in your life. Your comfort is starting to feel and be limiting.
Action:Change how you do what you do – from the route you take to work to any of your regular routines.
Feeling a pull
There is a sense of yearning, desire and excitement or anticipation for something you want to be doing. You have ideas or know exactly what you would like to do, experience or be – it is so close you can see it and feel it.
Action: write your vision for what you feel pulled toward. Be as descriptive as you can be.
Opportunity is knocking
You receive invitations to the same type of opportunities, ones that are out of your comfort zone. Maybe you are asked to volunteer for something you never tried before or friends suggests a new activity or career path.
Action: say yes to one of these opportunities to test the waters
You are wondering what you are doing with your life – wondering how you got where you are. You are wondering what is next for you, or questioning the impact your life and work is having on you and others around you.
Action:Think about what impact you want your life and work to have.
Several of these clues may fit for you right now. Whichever resonate most, remember that your stretch, and actions, can take many forms, this was just a taste. The key is to take some action now!