If you’ve walked on this earth for any number of years, you come to find out that you’re good at somethings and not others. One may find they have a compassionate heart and love serving the poor. Another may discover they can compose sentences with eloquence and clarity. Still another may realize that they like leading others toward success. Whatever the fit, there is a inherent danger in knowing what you can do and it’s called THE COMFORT ZONE.
The Comfort Zone is the place where we feel the most comfortable operating, working and living. When we discover that we have a small amount of expertise in one area and it’s combined with passion for what we do, it becomes easy to sit back and coast because life is good. But remember that the only time you coast is when you’re going downhill. (Think of riding a bike). Eventually, the comfort zone in which you spend most of your time becomes stale and doesn’t provide the fulfillment of stretching yourself and your abilities.
What you need to do is always try to work within your gifts and outside your comfort to achieve a fresh and exciting growth path. Let me give you a personal example.
I know that my personal mission is to add value and leadership to people around me. I know that I do that by communicating in creative ways and providing resources that help others succeed – my gifted zone. (Click Here to read my personal mission statement). So a few years ago, I was presented with an opportunity to develop and host my own radio show. After prayer, thought and conversation with others, I agreed. Why? Because it fit with my gifts – communication and resourcing – and it was something totally new – being behind a microphone speaking to the 1million+ listeners in the Minneapolis area.
I was scared to death as I walked into the beautiful studio this past week. But I knew that I had the gifts to at least give it a shot. It was a wonderful experience and I’m excited to see what God does with it all.
Here are some steps for you to help push yourself to grow.
- Find a quiet place and write down what you love to do. Don’t put any stops on your thoughts. Write it down. Everything that comes to mind that you love to do.
- Now write down what others say you’re good at doing. You may have to dig for this one because we tend to remember the criticisms and forget the compliments. If you can’t come up with anything, picture a group of your friends giving you compliments. What would they say? If your friends don’t give compliments, find a new group of friends!
- Next, look for overlaps. If you find you love playing music and others say you’re talented, that may indicate a sweet spot. If you love talking with people about deep matters of life and others say you comfort them, you may have stumbled upon a future career opportunity.
- Now ask what you’re doing in those overlap areas now and how you can do something outside of that comfort zone but still using those gifts. As a Pastor, I speak in front of groups very often, communicating a message of hope and encouragement. So being on the radio means that I am still speaking but the audience is out in “radio-land.” In my gift zone and out of my comfort zone.
- Here’s the critical ignitor. Go and try something new. Not happens unless something happens. Take your love of baking and sell scones at a farmers market. Take your coaching ability and help out at your kids’ school. I don’t care what it is. Just do something.
Here’s to pushing yourself forward!
By the way, the show “Life on Purpose” airs for the first time Wednesday 7/24 on WAJC The Remnant 88.1 at 2:30 central time in the Twin Cities. (Click Here for the station Facebook page).