This topic has been coming up in conversation with clients a lot lately. They’ll tell me that they didn’t realize how comfortable they’d become with the status quo despite the fact that the status quo was pretty miserable.
We all get caught up in this kind of thinking sometimes. We think, “Well, this may be awful but at least I know what to expect.”
We tend to confuse what’s familiar with what’s safe. But just because we know what to expect and how to react, does not mean that we’re out of harm’s way.
When the “Safe” Choice is Actually the Most Dangerous
Think about all those employees at Enron who thought they were safe because they were working for a company that had been in business for decades.
The people who were there just for the steady paycheck, miserably existing day-to-day, counting on the pension they were building and would some day use to retire, were left with nothing when the company folded.
I’m sure that the people who had “taken the risk” and left to find something they liked better were feeling very pleased with their decision. Even those who had been told they were crazy for leaving Enron’s security to strike out on their own were looking pretty wise that day!
Your Dreams Live Outside Your Comfort Zone
Being comfortably miserable can be almost hypnotically numbing. When we’re living this way, we stop looking up from our desks. We stop asking ourselves whether or not we’re happy. We just passively accept things as they are.
Breaking out of this rut means taking a moment each day to look up and ask, “Where am I being complacent? Am I putting up with things that I shouldn’t have to tolerate? Am I truly building the life I want to live?”
Once you’ve done this, it will be easier for you to identify your dreams and formulate a plan to achieve them.
Then it’s up to you to periodically check in with yourself and ask, “Am I doing it? Am I making strides? Or I am scared of something and pulling back?”
Surround Yourself With Support
Stepping out of your comfort zone can feel really big and hard, especially when you first start doing it. Having a community and support is going to make a huge difference.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are invested in staying stuck in the comfort of their misery. You may know some of them!
It’s easier to complain about what you don’t like than to actually do something to change it. Plus, there’s the added bonus of getting to be right – right about how awful your situation is or how intolerable a client or employee is. It’s just that Being Right often brings its pal Victimhood with it, and is that really who you want to hang out with?
When you start to break out of your rut, people who feel safe staying stuck might actively work to hold you back. Or, they may simply fail to understand why you’re making new choices.
This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with the people who “get it.” Because there will be days when just playing it safe or staying in bed are going to seem really appealing. You’ll need support to keep moving forward.
The good news is, the more work you do on this stuff, the easier it gets. And while there will still be times when something feels uncomfortably big and real, creating change in your life does get more fun!
Do you think you’re being complacent in some area of your life? Leave a comment below and consider steps you might take to move forward.