When I was 8 (I think) I joined a swim team. Swim Atlanta. There were a lot of swimmers there who ended up in the Olympics. Needless to say, there were a lot of good swimmers. I was average. Occasionally above average. But it was never due to my incredible work ethic. It was just the talent I was born with. One of my coaches talked about our “comfort zone” and the need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I listened and it all sounded good, but I never actually tried it. I continued to swim off and on through college. At each level I would do what was expected of me, nothing more. I pushed myself as hard and as far as my coach thought I could. I never looked inside to see how far I thought I could go.
I have only recently started to push through my comfort zone. And I do so reluctantly. It’s called a comfort zone for a reason! It’s like a warm bed on a cold morning. It’s were I like to be. But nothing extraordinary happens in the comfort zone. You can’t grow here. You can’t do exceptional things here. I want to do exceptional things! I want to do everything I am capable of doing!
Today I ran hills on the treadmill. 1 min at an incline, 2 minutes flat. There came a time when I found myself leaving my comfort zone. There were several alarms that went off to let me know. The obvious trouble breathing and elevated heart rate were there. But there are other clues. Self doubt sneaks in. Excuses pop into my head. I start to convince myself that I should stop. Thankfully I didn’t listen to the doubt today. I finished and felt great.
I know there will be times when the comfort zone is just too hard to leave. There will be times when I quit, when deep down I know I can do more. I can only hope a majority of the time I will have the strength to move past what is comfortable.