We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.

~Max DePree~  

It’s less than one month until the fourth.  I always said I was not going to be one of those people who looked at the “day” with dread.  So, each year, I’ve tried to create something positive on the anniversary of Stephen’s death.  Last year, it was Just One Little Thing.  In less than a year, over 10,000 people (fondly known as JOLT’ers) from 20 different countries have joined me to find gratitude in the simple things.  Not a cure for a rare disease I know, but I am proud of how it has grown, and how it shifts the perspective of me and others towards gratitude.

This year, I decided to take that positive energy and focus on my health with the 100 day JOLT challenge.  I want to continue to do good in this world as a way of honoring Stephen and Brendan, and improving my physical health can only better enable me to complete the task.

So, with one month left, and 70 days punched, let’s talk about The Comfort Zone.

The Comfort Zone.  It’s so secure, it’s a safe place I know.  It feels like an old quilt on a cold fall night.  It’s the one place where I know I’m okay, no one pushes you to be something you’re not.  The comfort zone serves snacks.  The comfort zone does not judge….most of the time.   It is a place that keeps anything different at arm’s length; could be people, foods, physical activity, potential for change, potential relationships,  or personal growth.  There is a sign on the door of the Comfort Zone that says, “No different allowed.”

Is it all bad?  Hell no.  Sometimes, it feels good to sit in it for a while.  Sometimes, we just need comfort, in whatever form we can get it.  But here’s a couple of points I’ve been pondering.

  • We all have one, and we all need to go there from time to time. But if we live in the zone, are we really alive?  For me, I am discovering a zest for life by pushing myself a little harder than I would have in the past.  Is life not made for challenge? Our comfort zone can sedate us into thinking that life is supposed to be without struggle.  And, let’s face it, that is a load of horse manure.  Life is a balance of struggle and peace, and our mission is to find the happiness in both.
  • In the zone, you cannot fail.  It is designed for preservation.  But the flip side is you cannot really succeed either.  Not at those big lofty goals that sit outside of the confines of your area of comfort.  And this is where your desire for change comes in…when you want it bad enough, the walls that kept change out become barriers to your success that you must push down.  For me, I was ready for renovation!
  • The zone can keep you busy, but what are you really doing?  Are you busy keeping yourself safe from life’s fluctuations or are you busy riding the wave of change towards what you want.  The one thing I know for sure is that no matter how hard you try to fortify the walls of your comfort zone, change comes anyway.
  • Looking at my own life, I realized it just wasn’t all that comfortable.  In fact, as each month passed, I feel like I don’t need to be in the safe place anymore. I have become more comfortable with exercise, with sweat, with blisters, with hunger, with drinking enough water,  and with feeling the feelings that may have been previously medicated with toasted coconut ice cream from Kilwins.  I still go back to my safe place, as we all do, but I know that it is just one of many rooms in my house. 

The comfort zone.  After seventy days of stepping outside of it, I now realize it wasn’t all that comfortable. It didn’t really comfort me.  It only served as a place of illusion, preventing me from seeing not only the things that need to change, but my strength and ability to make those changes happen.

The comfort zone exists because of fear….fear that we are not good enough, that we are not strong enough, that we can’t lose the weight, get the job, find the partner, make a change……but the truth is, you can do whatever the hell you want in this life.  You just have to decide.  I have this posted on the bulletin board in my office,  and wanted to share with you:





That is what fear is….nothing more.

I hope that my fellow JOLT’ers who are part of this 100 day challenge are having as much fun as I am, and learning that our fears are only illusions, and not an indicator of our capabilities for success.

Here’s a big shout out to discomfort…..all kinds of discomfort…changing me one challenge at a time.