Picture your life like a Venn diagram. It’s comprised of three circles – the things you’re good at, the things you can get paid for, and the things you actually love doing. Now, each one of these circles overlaps so that there’s a small intersection of the three right in the middle. And when I say small, I really mean it: tiny, infinitesimal, absurdly minute.
You hear people say that you need to step outside of your comfort zone. In fact, there is often a graphical depiction of this, similar to my verbal picture above, that has a circle denoted as “your comfort zone,” and a tiny point way outside the circle denoted as “where the magic happens.” But what if I told you this was wrong? What if I told you that instead of the magic happening outside the circle of your comfort zone, it actually happens inside the intersection of the three circles of your life? Well, brace yourself, because that’s what I’m telling you.
However, living in the center of your life, residing in the triple overlap of your personal Venn diagram, is also a movement away from your comfort zone. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. Trying to find the “thing” or group of things that you’re good at, can be paid for, and truly enjoy, is difficult. It’s a long journey on an uncomfortable path, one often laden with missteps, potholes, failures, but hopefully, ultimate triumphs.
But don’t fret! Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. No matter where you are in life, you should always be searching for the triple intersection of your life’s unique value. To help you on your path, when you wake up every morning, commit to the following three actions. If you can do it, day-after-day (don’t worry, not every day, no one’s perfect), you’ll eventually find yourself smack dab in the middle of your life’s Venn diagram, and far away from the numb comfort you once knew.
Keep a Morning Routine
Life always starts somewhere, right? Everything you do throughout the day builds off of some foundation – a firm layer on which you build your hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, many of us don’t even know we have a foundation, which means, often times it’s made of material as solid as sand.
When we talk about comfort zones, what we’re really saying is a feeling of numbness. A mindset of reactionary thought and action where our emotions dictate our reality, and not the other way around. What a terrible way to live. When you stay within your comfort zone, you’re letting the outside forces of the world enact upon you. You wake up, go to work, lose your energy, skip the gym, come home tired, drink a beer, and go to bed, only to do it all over again the next day.
However, if you focus on a morning routine, you can quickly change your foundation of sand into one of limestone and brick. Then, your thoughts, emotions, and actions that you experience throughout the day will be firmly planted on something positive, allowing you to actively make decisions that better your life. A morning routine makes it possible to intentionally move yourself from a random point on your triple Venn diagram toward your center.
The best part? Your morning routine is just that: yours! I always advocate for meditation and gratitude, but it’s for you to decide. However, if you’d like to heed my advice, then I’ll say it frankly: meditate for 15 – 20 minutes every morning and then immediately write down four things you’re grateful for. These simple actions will strengthen your mind to the point where you begin to act on the world, and not the other way around. Only then will you be able to confidently move outside your comfort zone and toward your center.
Focus on New Experiences
With a morning routine as your base, it’s now possible to have intention, which means you now have focus. With the groundwork taken care of each day, you can now drive forward with the most important aspect of stepping outside your comfort zone and finding center: having new experiences.
Experiences are the most important aspect of your life. In fact, they are your life. Think about it: at the end of the day, all life is is a collection of experiences and our memory of them. Staying within our comfort zones is synonymous with repeated experiences that provide nothing new and flavorful.
In order to step outside of our comfort zones it’s imperative that we push ourselves to have new and exciting experiences that force us to grow. Because in actuality, while a movement away from your comfort zone and toward your center sounds like a direction, what it actually is is growth.
Think about it like an obstacle to climb over as you move toward your center. When you’re meekly stuck within your zone of comfort, you’re too short, or too weak, to scale the wall. It takes dedicated effort to gain inches, or strength, in order to make it over the obstacle and continue your journey closer to your center. And the only way this is possible is to put yourself in foreign situations so you learn how to adapt.
Connect With Everybody
Now, I said that experiences were your life, remember? Good, just making sure you’re paying attention. Ok, well now let me rephrase. While you are your experiences, true joy in life comes from the connections we make with other people. We’re as much a summation of our feelings as we are a summation of our experiences.
The beauty of it is that new experiences naturally give you the opportunity to connect with new people. And here’s where it get’s more pragmatic because a lot of us don’t even know what the thing is that we love, are good at, and makes money. To be frank, I’m still figuring it out.
But guess what? You figure it out through connections and experiences! New people provide you with new perspectives so you have a greater chance of identifying where your true passion and purpose lie. And I’m sure you’re one step ahead of me, but your passion and purpose lies outside your comfort zone and smack dab in the center of your life. The more people you meet, the more people you connect with, the more data points you have to help guide your journey toward center.
Not to mention, we as a social species need human interaction, and the more connections you make, the more interactions you have, and the more cathartic your life becomes. Then, your mindset becomes increasingly positive, which gives you the drive to stick to a morning routine, which gives you the foundation to confidently seek new experiences, which allows you to meet new people, which sends you into a cyclical spiral of upward success. Then and only then will you be able to step away from your numb comfort and toward your center.
I think it’s time for you to start.
Evan is an author and business owner with experience in the technology sector. With an extensive background in corporate finance and business evaluation, and as a passionate contributor to technology startups, he’s a self-proclaimed “business nerd.”
Evan’s also a spirited writer who contributes nonfiction business articles to various online publications and pens full-length novels found on Amazon and other leading retailers. Each piece of writing, whether it be a one-page finance article or a 300-page fiction story, is meant to provide readers with lasting enjoyments and actionable takeaways that (hopefully) better their lives and encourage them to act.
Connect with him at www.evantarver.com and receive the first two chapters of his new novel, Life in Twenty-Something: A Story of Self-Discovery, free!