Variety is the spice of life, I always say. And, like it or not, the only guarantee in life is taxes, death and that change will happen.
Getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing. Change and challenges are exciting. It is how we learn, and how we grow. Taking risks in our life and stretching ourselves is the way we find out what we really are made of, and we build up resilience. However, what I have learnt, is that there is such a thing as your comfort zone, and being pushed outside of this comfort zone (this is where the magic happens!), and then letting yourself go into the danger zone. When we hit the danger zone, we can make everything seem worse because we are already feeling so out of our depth.
We overthink. We overcomplicate. And we panic.
I did this too myself about 2 and a half years ago. I had recently moved to a new city where we didn’t know too many people. I had started a new job, in a new industry, which then turned into a very, very, different, and considerably more senior role than I had ever anticipated. I didn’t have the support network that I had been used to before in previous roles, or even in my personal life. I look back now and I laugh at how great these opportunities were, and how they have shaped me as a person, but at the time, all I saw was my failure, and I was resentful for it.
When you are so driven to succeed, and wired to want to achieve, you naturally put more pressure on yourself to do so. You feel like nothing is good enough, and the 80/20 rule goes out the window. I felt so out of my depth with the culmination of so much change, coupled with a significant career stretch opportunity that I went to work most days waiting for that tap on the shoulder saying “thanks, but no thanks”. I went home and lay awake most nights criticising myself for the things I said (or didn’t say) that day, thinking that surely people would remember and be laughing about.
To compensate for these feelings, I just worked, more and more and more. I stopped making time for myself, my needs, and most certainly stopped believing in myself and my own abilities. I got to the stage where I honestly thought I couldn’t do it and started questioning other parts of my life.
Then, I realised, it was all in my head. No one told me I couldn’t do something. No one told me I wasn’t good enough. I had done that to myself, over time and just grinded away at all of my confidence. In pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I had actually pushed myself into a danger zone that was negative, ineffective and just plain unhealthy.
If I could go back and talk to myself with what I know now, these are the ten things I would remind myself… I like to think this is relevant for anyone taking a big leap of faith, stretching themselves personally, professionally or in any other facet of their life:
- There will always be haters, or cynics, and people with opinions different to your own – the quicker you accept that and move forward, the happier you’ll be and the freer you will feel.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously – no one else does. Enjoy life and remember that no one goes to that grave wishing that they worked more!
- You cannot be all things, to all people, all the time. You are one person and saying no when you need to is ok.
- People will keep taking, if you keep giving, and this is your fault, not theirs. Draw boundaries, and then stick to them, or you’ll end up resentful for missing out on something that you allowed yourself to miss out on.
- Make time every day for yourself, and yourself only, even 10 minutes – (check out my previous blog on self-care for some tips on how to do this here!) – there is only so long you can last doing everything for everyone else, except for you.
- Make sure you stop and celebrate the small things along the way and remember the power of appreciating what is actually happening now – as Eckhart Tolle has recently reminded me “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But, then you miss your whole life, which is never not now”.
- It is ok to ask for help – it is not asking for it when you need it that makes you a tool!
- Don’t do things for people on the basis that you expect they will for you in return. Everyone is different and if you’re only doing something for someone in the hope you will receive it back, when it doesn’t happen, you’ll just be resentful for something you expected from them, that was ultimately self-serving and that they may not even be aware of.
- Everyone is dealing with their own sh*t and just doing the best they can too. Be kind, don’t judge and don’t take other people’s projections onto you personally – they might just be struggling too.
- Get the f*ck out of your own way – you were given the opportunity, or the challenge that you were for a reason – you got this, you CAN do it, so make the most of it!
Once you start accepting and following the above, things start to change. They start to shift, and life becomes all the more positive for you.
Claire Seeber xxx
Strong advocate for helping you get the f*ck out of your own way!