Good Wednesday morning to you. This week, we’re focusing on comfort zones and things that get us out of them. A comfort zone is some place where we feel just that: comfort. It’s often somewhere that you aren’t challenged. It’s a lot like water rolling down a hill: it chooses the path of least resistance. That’s all well and good when you’re trying to get to the bottom of a hill as fast as you can, but in life, those places of resistance are our opportunities to grow, change and improve.
This week I’ve been forced to operate outside my own comfort zone because I’ve been sick. While I’ve experienced illness in my life, I’m generally in good health and don’t have to deal with irritations like stomach aches and colds. This week I’ve had to work around a bug that has kept me in bed. It means I haven’t been able to leave the house and am having to find my motivation and inspiration from bed while I recover.
I’m not used to being stuck at home. In fact, even though I love my home, being stuck here is outside my comfort zone. I’m used to picking up and riding whenever I feel like I need new scenery or a dose of inspiration from my favorite coffee spot.
So my circumstances are different right now, but I still have responsibilities that I have to meet. I have a commitment to write a daily blog for you, my readers, and I take that responsibility seriously. I have an investment property business that I also have to stay on top of, especially since we have a unit that needs to be rented now. This just puts me further outside my comfort zone and is a big challenge.
Many people face serious health challenges. In the past couple of years, I’ve had a number of friends stricken with cancer. My daughter has faced a flare up of a chronic illness she has had since childhood; the flare ups have been so sever she’s ended up in the hospital three times in the past 12 months. I have had friends involved in serious accidents that completely altered their lives.
All these illnesses and health issues make my bout with the stomach flu seem pretty small but there is one thing we all have in common: we have to figure out how to keep going in our daily lives despite the health circumstances we are facing. With a lot of illnesses, you can just wait until the sickness passes, but with some things that won’t happen.
For example, I also suffer from epilepsy; even though I haven’t had a seizure in almost 10 years, I will always be an epileptic. I won’t ever be able to have a commercial drivers license; I could never fly an airplane. There are a lot of things I will never be able to do professionally. Sure this bug will pass but some health problems won’t and when that happens to any of us, we have to make decisions.
The way I see it, there are just a few options for anyone facing a serious health crisis:
1. Give up entirely and curl in on yourself.
2. Pretend the illness doesn’t exist and go on with your life as if nothing has happened.
3. Accept your circumstances and work to improve them.
I know people who have faced a serious health crisis in each of these three ways. In fact, after I was diagnosed with epilepsy, I tried to pretend to myself that I could continue to live my life exactly the way I wanted. I continued to burn the candle at both ends; ate poorly; drank too much; didn’t work to alleviate stress in my life. All those things compounded together to cause me to have a serious seizure at work. That in turn led to me losing my job because it was a position that I could not perform if I was at risk of having a seizure since it put my fellow employees in danger because of the heavy equipment I was operating.
Today, I treat my illness with respect but I don’t let it rule my life. I take care of myself but I don’t dwell on my health problems. I take my medication regularly and I watch how much I drink. All of this benefits me and has kept me seizure-free for almost a decade.
I have seen people who gave up their lives completely when they faced illness or suffered an accident that changed their mobility or other ability. I admit, it would be easy to do that. Some of us fall apart when we are forced too far outside our comfort zones. I’m here to tell you, though, that most people can find a new path when faced with the loss of their health if they will only think outside the “comfort zone” box they’ve been in for so long.
I have a good friend who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident a couple of years ago. She was a nurse and was left completely disabled as a result of her injuries. She can’t work in her profession right now because of her disability. And yet, she hasn’t let these circumstances, this move from her comfort zone, ruin her life. In fact, she used it as an opportunity to make a positive change in her personal life and has found new opportunities for a profession that will support her and her young child.
Sure, we all face the irritation of illnesses from time to time and some of us will face something even more serious that will force us from a place of comfort that we prefer. It’s up to us to decide whether or not we emerge stronger and better as a result. The choice is yours.
I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach, telling you to live the life you always wanted, love the people you share your life with, and learn to be the RockStar in your world. Need some help moving outside your comfort zone? I can help. Contact me to see how I can help you.