Are You Abusing Your Comfort Zone?

It’s a fine line. Are you:

  • Pushing yourself to grow, take risks, try something new and brave and seemingly cool and oh-so you, really you?
  • Pushing yourself so far out of the comfort zone of your natural strengths that you're entering  a full-blown state of chronic misery and anxiety?

Not everyone lives like this, but sometimes it's easy to confuse a healthy challenge with an unnatural one that drains all your enthusiasm. Some of us call it "making lives just a wee harder than it needs to be." Others might call it "getting lost on the wrong path" or "barking up the wrong tree."  It could be a simple case of: Trying this, not liking it, time to take a right turn and fast.

What are signs that your challenge is perhaps one to reconsider? How do you know when a state of discomfort is just you blowing through some old cycles and on to new pastures and to just keep going?

Sometimes it's trial and error. But here are a few signs that might signal that you're making yourself walk the plank and it's time to come back to home base.

  • You feel anxietous even when you picture the arrival zone at the end of some short-term challenges.
  • You've lost all motivation and inspiration, even after a holiday, even after a restful weekend, even after [insert whatever here makes your sails flutter].
  • You're starting to feel depressed, melancholic, unsociable.
  • You wonder why you're not more excited about creating this new venture for yourself.
  • When you think of some alternate paths to the one you're on, something in you screams, That one! Yes! Over there!
  • Something in you wants to raise the white flag.
  • When you look at the highlights of the last ten years, they in no way match up to what you're doing. So, if you're trying to adjust to life as a farmer when you love the honking noise of a city and the smell of exhaust, you're probably swimming upstream.
  • When you spend most of your days -- consecutively -- dreaming of going to bed at night.
  • When people post "I love my life" statuses on Facebook and Twitter your automatic response is something along the lines of "F you."

It's great to strive and have ambitions and want to take chances and risks and use a recession for a new opportunity. But if it makes you miserable stop and ask yourself: What am I really good at? What situations do I thrive in? What did I love to do as a kid? The answers are there, just be open for them.

And here's to pursing the right kind of challenges, where you use your strengths and natural gifts and go with the flow of your joyful life. It's not failure to "quit" and take a new turn. Success is knowing when to get out and on to the next best thing.

Go for it!