Do you remember the energy you had when you first entered your career and were just learning how far your wings might take you?
With it came dreams about how life could be when you really hit your stride at some idyllic future point. Maybe your dreams were about the lifestyle you could afford, or maybe they were about the difference you’d be making in the world. Maybe both.
How’s that working out for you these days? Have you noticed a gap between the life you’re living and the life you dreamed of earlier in your career?
If so, what happened?
You probably know a lot more about reality now than you did in those naïve early days. You’ve certainly gained some scars and battle wounds along the way. Perhaps some cynicism has crept in along with all the hard-earned wisdom you’ve gained.
Most likely you’ve also reached a comfort zone. Heck, getting to the comfort zone may even have been part of the goal back when.
Comfort zones come with a cost, though.
Before you were in your comfort zone, you took risks. Without risks, you stop learning and growing. You miss out on all the future possible discoveries that only happen in the unknown.
The routines that come with your comfort zone make you lazy. They can lull you into forgetting about your lofty goals. You start to blend in with the crowd and miss the opportunity to live your own unique best life. You become a follower, even if your job title includes “leader”.
Comfort zones are sneaky. They grow into impassable briar hedges while we aren’t looking, becoming barriers we can’t see over, under, around or through.
It takes awareness, intention and determination to break out of a comfort zone. It also takes courage. You had that kind of courage earlier in your career. And what was all that pain and growth for, if your courage today isn’t bigger than it was then?
Your best life might be on the other side of that barrier. What kind of courage would it take to cross it?
Lorri Anderson is an expert consultant to businesses and a powerful coach to individuals. After a long and rich career as a strategic HR executive, she is driven to give back by changing the Human Experience in today’s workplaces, one business or human at a time.