“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” What a lie?!
I used to like this quote and agree with it for a long time. Till one day, all of a sudden, I figured out that it was a deception. There are actually plenty of things that grow there, in this ‘beautiful’ place. Poor self-esteem, low self-confidence, discontentment, unhappiness, shame, self-judgment, self-hatred, reactivity, victimhood, emptiness and then regret. And why all that, because of the comfort zone.
‘Who moved my cheese’, for Spencer Johnson, was one of the books I read many years ago and which I didn’t put into practice till last year. The comfort zone was extremely comfortable. I was living in my close circle of family, friends, students and colleagues. I felt fulfilled, or at least I thought I was. Years passed and I remained in my warm agreeable spot. Until I was about to turn forty and spared some time to reflect on my life and evaluate it from a meta-state, as if I’m looking at it from the audience’s seat. I started to imagine the end and my current state. My death bed and what I was currently doing. The contrast wasn’t to be missed. I knew I had more potentials than I exhibited. I figured out that I was wasting long hours in meaningless activities and I felt a bitter taste in my throat. It was time to lead myself. To play big. To pull it out of the comfort zone. To force it to invest its decreasing time left on earth in wiser and more meaningful ways. It was time to reexamine who I was and compare it with whom I was created to become.
Success, fame, wealth weren’t what I associated with my future self. A leader was what I knew myself for. A leader without a title. Someone who was created to bring more leaders. Who was created for a mission and who would find her ultimate fulfilment and happiness in touching people’s lives and reaching their hearts. In lending them a gentle hand to unleash their potentials and live with purpose. John C. Maxwell saying reframe it for me: “True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not to enrich the leaders.”
In addition to my previous work as an educator, I started practicing writing and public speaking. I activated my social media channels and started to use them as a platform to answer my calling and fulfil my life purpose. And while doing that I was hit by the concept of ‘followers’ whether on Instagram or Facebook. Followers. Why would we want to have followers? True leaders shouldn’t be interested in having followers. “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders,” as Tom Peters clarified. Hence, we should take the lead, go out of the comfort zone to create more ‘leaders’. I wish social media channels replace their ‘follow’ button with a ‘lead’ one.
When we practice courage, we, unconsciously, give permission to people in our circles to do the same. Going out of our comfort zone is a well of enrichment for our lives and the lives of all mankind.
“The world is waiting. Leadership is a choice – and it starts with YOU.” Elyse Nelson