Finding Your Why; Break Free From Your Comfort Zone

April 19, 2024

In today’s post we’re going to talk about discovering your WHY and how to identify one area where expanding your comfort zone could deepen your sense of personal purpose.

Finding My Comfort Zone

As an entrepreneur with eight diseases, it’s essential that I put my health above work (easier said than done). My most prevalent, and challenging, diseases are diabetes type 3C (it’s similar to Type 1) and chronic pancreatic (CP) disease. When I was diagnosed with CP in the fall of 2015, I thought I could go on doing what I always did.

After my diagnosis, I thought work was going to stay the same and I could “manage” my health in my off time. Within a couple months of the diagnosis I was spending weeks on end hospitalized; allowed nothing by mouth and I was wasting away. My energy was zapped, I was beyond exhausted (from no food and severe pain) and needed help. But my WHY was, as I look back now, slightly off kilter. My WHY for getting better was so I could get back to work. Work was literally my comfort zone.

I was the Chief Digital Marketing Officer of a premier home security company and was still relatively new there. Despite their support in the beginning, they needed me back at the office to build, launch and manage their digital presence – which was the future of the company. And I wanted to be back…I yearned for it. It was most of what I thought about. My WHY was my career.

After months of being in and out of the hospital, I was told I had to return by December 18th to secure my job. So, while in the hospital yet again, I informed my doctors that I’d be checking out on December 17th. They pulled out every trick in the book to make it happen, but it didn’t work. My poor, ailing body needed continual fluids and organ rest. I kept pushing. On December 28th I went back to the office hooked up to a feeding tube, taking three meds for nausea and three narcotics for pain, including Dilaudid and Fentanyl. I was a hot mess BUT, I was back. And, as I told them, my pancreas is what’s sick, not my brain, so I can do this. Boy was I in for an awakening…my comfort zone was about to get very uncomfortable.

The problem is, work was my primary passion and purpose in life. My doctors and family encouraged me to apply for disability, take a sabbatical, anything but work. I was insistent! I had my comfort zone of work, where I felt good, and I wanted to stay in it! Does this sound familiar?

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is an interesting thing. In some ways, it makes you feel safe and protected. But as you grow to be more confident, the boundaries of your old comfort zone can start to feel restrictive and suffocating.

If you want to grow your abilities and confidence, your comfort zone needs to keep expanding. Here’s why: each time you make a bet on yourself by stretching what you can do, you get a little more comfortable with the unknown. When you do that, you put yourself in a position to take slightly bigger – and in some cases, much bigger risks and with risk comes reward!

I have a client, Sara, that’s been growing leaps and bounds in recent months. She’s looking to make a career change and she’s been applying for roles that were unheard of for her even 12 months ago. She’s growing, and it’s been hard, but it’s working. Sara’s expertise was marketing but what she really needed to do was build her leadership muscles. We’ve focused on this intensely and now Sara is primed and ready for a Senior Vice President role leading both the human and financial aspects of the business. Her WHY shifted from delivering the work to leading her team which allowed her to expand her horizons. She has pushed outside her comfort zone professionally and it’s leading to big rewards.

Finding Your WHY

As of today, I’ve settled in to my new health routine (lots of doctor appts and procedures), focused my energy on yoga and meditation for my mind and body and opened two new businesses. I never would have gone into business for myself – and stayed in it (we celebrate 5 years this year) – unless I had been pushed OUT of my comfort zone. Sure, my WHY became my health but this new “me” has blossomed and I love it.

Just like a successful company that can scale from 10 people to 1,000, you need a system for thinking bigger, too. Give yourself a clear picture of the growth you want most and how it connects to the end results you desire. Once you’re clear on those, taking action to fuel your success is much simpler. Remember, as you scale your goals, your comfort zone will expand.