The Benefits of your Comfort Zone

“It’s fishing time!”

I would proudly declare to my mom. I’d grab my Ninja Turtle tackle box, find my Snoopy pole, get my juice box from mom and head out. With my little arms full I would make the long journey to the middle of the driveway, set my stuff  down, and run back to get my little yellow lawn chair.

I set up just at the edge of the blacktop, a sea of green grass in front of me.

It’s fishing time!

There I’d sit casting a little plastic weight into my lake of lawn grass. Casting and realing in, casting and realing in. Over and over again. I loved it.

There was a sort of relaxation and calmness for me in the repetiveness of casting that I recognized even as a five year old. That feeling has never gone away.

For me, fishing has never really been about catching fish. It’it about that feeling of calmness.

I am reminded of this as I sit here in front of an early morning fire at my grandparents cabin, looking out over the water.

It’s been a stressful week. One that involved several programs, working on new challenging projects, and being stretched to grow personally by my coach. It’s been a full week of what has felt like constant challenge and growth. Now it’s time for comfort and relaxation.

“Get out of your comfort zone.” is mostly sound advice that we often hear but that is just one piece of the personal growth puzzle.

The Three Zones

Student Leadership Speaker Nick Palkowski

There really are three zones we can be in:

  • Comfort Zone
  • Challenge Zone
  • Panic Zone

The Comfort Zone is where we naturally want to live. It’s nice, cozy, and familiar. We know what to expect. The problem… we don’t grow. Like my basketball coach used to say

“Each day you get a little better or you get a little worse but you will never go to bed the same person you were when you woke up.”

To grow you need to move out of the Comfort Zone into your Challenge Zone. This is where our growth happens. This is where learning takes place. The problem… we can only take so much at a time. Growing is stressful and you can’t stay in your Challenge Zone for long.

The third zone is the Panic Zone. This happens when you are too far out of your Comfort Zone. You get too stressed and freak out. No good comes out of this zone. You don’t learn, you don’t grow. In fact, this is how fears can sometimes develop.

Remember all three zones are in your life. Focus on intentionally placing yourself in your Challenge Zone and coming back into your Comfort Zone to rest, recover, and process what you learned from the challenge.

Now, I am going to put down this pen and paper, grab my bright yellow tackle box, my trusty fishing pole, a hot cup of coffee, and head to the dock.

It’s fishing time!


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