We’ve all got our edge, you know, the thing that sits just outside the comfort zone and usually doesn’t want to be pushed. Whether it’s running 2 more miles, or holding your leg out at 90 degrees for 5 more breaths– it requires effort, sometimes pain.
There’s also the mental comfort zone. The part of the brain that wants to take it easy, not rock the boat or create any upheaval. To push past this requires a shift in mindset. Maybe it’s convincing yourself to get out of bed for a 7am workout. Or have that confrontation with your friend who’s kid threw rocks in your daughter’s face at the playground. The circumstances can vary, but the attitude is the same… I don’t want to do this!
As an early bird, I prefer AM yoga. So when I was asked to do a write-up on an 8pm class, my initial reaction was I don’t want to do this! I’m usually cozying up on the couch at that hour – heading out to Brooklyn in the evening rush did not appeal!
I came across the Overshare Show podcast with director Catherine Gund. Her film Born To Fly documents choreographer Elizabeth Streb who’s dance performances could qualify as extreme sports. Her dancers take risks, big time. From jumping off the Millennium Bridge to crashing into cinder block walls, they’re testing the limits of force, velocity and risk while illuminating the idea of living life to the fullest. Gund said:
“We should all be adrenaline seekers. It doesn’t have to be something that risks your life, but there should be a way we can have a bigger life than most of us have.”
Our risks all look different. What may have high stakes for me, could be considered normal for you. And stepping out of the comfort zone doesn’t have to be a monumental endeavor like giving a Ted Talk or climbing Mt. Everest. It’s important to recognize your edge so you know how to stretch beyond it. Gund also said:
“Everything you do, make sure it’s a decision of choice so you’re not falling into habits that are limiting and dulling.”
Flying on the trapeze was a big break out of my comfort zone. It took months of me watching others go first–jumping into the fear of uncertainty –before I finally found myself on the tiny platform, 23 feet above the ground.
But that was last year. My edge has shifted as it should on the path of personal growth.
Today, pushing my limits could mean going green in my home. Or showing up regularly to an evening meditation group. Or swimming (I am SO uncomfortable in the water!) The point is: only you know which edge needs to be pushed so you can move forward in your life.
Oh, one more thing to keep in mind as you step outside your comfort zone:
“You can’t make risk transformational unless there is trust.”
Gund was talking about the dancers under the direction of Elizabeth Streb. But I’ve found knowing that someone’s got my back– either another person, myself, or even something greater — can be a considerable catalyst in taking that leap.
What can you do to push out of your regular routine this week?