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Cold Comfort

By June 24, 2013December 19th, 2016No Comments

comfort zone‘We are so accustomed to the comforts of “I cannot”, “I do not want to” and “it is too difficult” that we forget to realise when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak.’ – Pandora Poikilos, author of Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out.

I was fortunate enough to spend yesterday morning listening to someone truly inspirational – Gearoid Towey, the Irish Olympic athlete and Atlantic adventurer – talking about the ‘adventurer mindset’. This is a man who not only has represented his country at the highest level of elite sport – for twelve years at Olympic level – but who also attempted to cross the Atlantic in a 23 foot rowing boat. His courage and enthusiasm and inner fire made me think about my own love of challenges (Tough Mudder definitely springs to mind!), but more importantly what it means when we don’t take chances.

What happens when we stay within The Comfort Zone?

What does being in a comfort zone mean to you? Does it mean that you are stable, and able to cope with day to day life without feeling overwhelmed? Maybe – but what it also means is a lack of ability, or perhaps a lack of opportunity, to evolve. It means staying static, not changing, not growing.

Imagine if the late Steve Jobs hadn’t gone back to Apple as its CEO. If he hadn’t invested in PiXAR. If he had been happy to say ‘well, I tried – and it didn’t work, so I will just stay where I think I may be comfortable.’

No iMac. No iPhone. No iPad. No visionary steering Apple to extraodinary heights.

Think of Instagram launching despite a declining market and against all advice. As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, Instagram was a company with “lots of buzz but no business model” – but it didn’t stop him from buying it for US$1billion in September 2012. He recognised the potential of what its creators had seen from the start. And they only saw it because they were prepared to take a chance. They stepped a long way out of their comfort zone – or should that be #comfortzone?

There is no denying that stepping out of the safety of where you are most comfortable is scary as hell. It often means big ups and downs – a rollercoaster rather than a gentle turn on the merry-go-round. You will probably feel as though you are without a safety net much of the time, and that can be extremely confronting.

But just imagine the possibilities.

In business, and in life, there is no free ride. However, we get fantastic opportunities if we are lucky, and often we are too ‘comfy’ to recognise them for what they are. It is those people who are willing to challenge themselves, who make themselves accountable for their own success, and ultimately their own happiness – who recognise that the need to reach that little bit further or higher – who end up with the biggest satisfaction.

See yourself as an adventurer – take the leap. You may stumble a little, admittedly – but ultimately?

You will fly.

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