I’ve been super inspired by a number of clients recently who have opted out of their current jobs because of poor leadership, limited opportunities, or a crappy culture. They’ve defined their ideal role or next step and then gone and got it. So good!
This is on the back of thinking a lot lately about how attached we can become to the comfort of the status quo and its perceived safety. Now, on the one hand, when our basic needs are taken care of and we are in physical comfort, this can certainly comfort our spirit and even make it easier to tune into our deeper selves.
But, like anything, you can have too much of a good thing. Chocolate, good wine, sun… they’re all great when they’re not overdone.
Comfort is the same. It can start to dampen our spirit. Squash our mojo. Put us in a rut.
After the challenge and change of the last couple of years you’d be forgiven for not wanting to rock your own boat. But keeping things too reined in can have you drifting towards the monotony and sameness of aforesaid rut.
But this focus on comfort, pleasure and security can end up skewing life into too much predictability and not enough freshness, spark and surprise. How often does something surprise or delight you in your day?
Comfort can gradually have us feeling floppy, lethargic, washed out. Comfort can mean we stop growing and evolving because growth comes from change, newness and those uncomfortable situations we try to avoid. It can start to kill our spirit.
Stepping out of it can be messy, unpredictable – and worth every ounce of ouch. Take for example the character Emma Thompson plays in the recently released film, Good Luck to You Leo Grande. In what is probably her career-defining performance, she plays Nancy, a bored, spirit-sapped, unpleasured (yes I just made up that word) widow who books a charming male sex worker in the hopes of finally experiencing pleasurable sex for the first time in her life. “I’ve never done anything interesting in my life… You’re the only adventure I’ve ever had,” she says.
And step out of her comfort zone, does she what?! Her foray is so much more than a physical adventure, it lights her back up again from the inside out. (Beautifully written and cast, and wonderfully directed, it inspired the daylights out of me, check it out here).
Nancy could so easily have never gotten up the courage to make that leap. But she did.
It’s easy to stay put… for now
Comfort is seductive. Because, well, it’s feels quite good!
It’s so easy to never quite get around to doing that new thing. To not try that new sport or join a new club.
I recall deciding to be initiated into the Shambhavi yoga practice on the recommendation of my wise and Zen-like osteopath. The training was excruciating to begin with as my limbs and joints were so stiff doing the movements. And then, to sit for 20-something minutes in a crossed legged position with my back straight? Hideous! It took weeks to not ache and cringe the whole time. Now, almost a year later I do the practice effortlessly most mornings. And it feels great.
It’s easy to stay in a relationship or job or place that is ho-hum. In the short term it takes less effort and requires less energy. In the long run, staying inevitably takes more energy and certainly can minimise the joy, the fulfilment and how alive you feel. In fact, it can suck the very life out of you.
In staying put we don’t have to deal with the uncertainty of an unknown future. Will we find a partner we are happy with? Will we get a business off the ground? Will we find an employer that treats us well?
In not speaking up and asking for more in the job or relationship we’re in, we play it safe too.
We also then don’t have to confront ourselves as to whether we will be chosen, accepted or loved. We don’t risk being rejected. We play it small and we stick with what we’ve got and what we know – because at least that’s something.
It takes courage to call it
It takes nerve to make a move or choose something new. Or to stretch ourselves to make it even better.
I know I have to really lift myself into it sometimes, taking a big breath and consciously stepping up.
But we can do it.
As I’ve written about before, a great life is built on brave moments. Making that decision or taking the first action can be the moment that makes everything even better.
Our mindset, scarcity and limiting beliefs might tell us there’s nothing good (or better) in front of us, when in fact potentially everything is before us.
It’s easy to forget that in the unknown is a blank canvas. The air of possibility. Infinite potential.
Anything is possible.
It’s our belief that makes the most difference.
I’m starting to trust the unknown more and more. Because even when I don’t know what’s going to happen, when I follow my instincts and stay tuned into what matters to me and what I want, life unfolds in beautiful ways.
And yes, I could say ‘trust the universe’ but I want to say trust yourself.
Comfort has its place, but I don’t want to ever let it take priority over my spirit being alive and full of spark and light. I have to watch it, make sure I don’t sink into the couch for too long, but step back out again and see what is new.
We can each step out each day to see what is new.
We can ask ourselves each day – What will make me feel most alive?