Does anyone else feel a little overwhelmed with the attacks on your comfort zone lately? I am all for taking risks, dreaming big and setting goals that light you up however I am not sure that there is anything wrong with some of our comfort zones! A comfort zone to me is a happy place, a place where you are centred and truly at home. At times in the midst of this crazy world a comfort zone is a welcome retreat!
Recently I felt the pressure of all of these messages gathered above from Pinterest, I was in a job that felt a little too comfortable, there was not a lot of challenge or leadership. I knew that I needed to leave this job for the best interests of all involved however I tried to make it work for as long as possible within my own work and life standards.
Until the day that I was offered a job that represented the opposite of my comfort zone, for so many reasons. It involved a lot of commuting, longer hours that would eat into the limited time I have with my family, and it would need me to dig deep into my stores of career drive and motivation.
On the other hand, it was pretty much my dream job, the most divinely perfect next step in my career.
So I launched myself outside of my comfort zone and gave this new job all that I had. I faced the fears, all of the little things that made me uncomfortable as well as the big things that had me in tears most nights. Most often it was the pressure I was putting on myself, the relentless voice in my head telling me that I must not give up, that I must not retreat to my comfort zone from which I came. It went on this way for almost two months, until my birthday trip to Bali which had been booked earlier in the year.
At a deeply personal level, the thought of leaving this job so soon after it started also carried a lot of self imposed guilt. The job had taken me back into the cause that started my career in the charity sector, the cause that took my Mother from me, breast cancer. As well as the pressure to push on through the discomfort there was the dark pull of guilt, the niggling feeling that I would be letting my Mum down, my family down, if I left the breast cancer cause behind now.
It took that little bit of distance in Bali, some lovely long conversations and the time to reflect on my real concerns, and to separate those from the pressure that came from outside. It does not matter what other people think, in the end it only matters how you feel about your decisions, and how you are coping. It has been a difficult year for our family and my commitment to their well-being was the thing that made my decision in the end, that and my belief in me. I know that my Mother would not judge this decision, she was after all the one who taught me about Motherhood. As a single Mother herself, she will always be the standard that I hold myself to.
As is usually the case, the people we worry most about disappointing are the ones who show us how to handle life with grace and maturity. The lesson learned here is that we need to back ourselves, stand tall and confidently in the face of our comfort zones and not let the pressure from outside drown out the knowing voice from inside.
So in the end I did retreat to my comfort zone, and I am absolutely certain that this is where I belong for now.