Every now and then I listen to cheesy tongue-in-cheek 80s music. What follows are loads of exuberant arm movements. I love it. Puts a smile on my face. Takes me back to care-free days of my youth. It’s easy. And it’s comfortable.
It’s human to stay in whatever makes us feel comfortable, whatever keeps us safe. We learn to live with the niggles that often surround the comfortable.
We could be talking about little niggles like the toothpaste tube being squeezed from the wrong end. We could also be talking about more significant niggles like not being fulfilled at work and telling ourselves that “the money’s ok, plus I’d not get anything better”.
So, we stay in our comfortable.
I have many comfortables. Like knowing I’m always right. Like feeling justified at being the victim. And, I feel ok about myself when I feel right, when I’m playing the victim – after all when you’re in that place it’s the other person that’s wrong – not me. It can even feel good. Sound familiar?
What might be one of your comfortables?
And what does it feel like? Maybe it’s warm and soothing like a cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s night? Or maybe it’s repetitive and mundane yet what you know, like being stuck in a slow-moving traffic jam?
For me, I now know that being comfortable doesn’t always serve me. It can get in the way. Sometimes the niggles carry on niggling.
Thankfully, Brené Brown (one of my heroes), points us to a helpful direction. She draws from Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena speech, encouraging us to step into our arena.
So, I’m choosing to get up from my comfortable, letting go of being right and stepping into my arena of not knowing, of leaving things to emerge, of letting come.
(After all, if I only listened to Yazoo, I’d never know the beautiful melodies of Christine and the Queens.)
My arena isn’t standing in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square. It might not be on CNN. And for me, it’s a BIG THING. It remains challenging; it requires real courage. And, I’m realising the more I play in this sandpit, the more resourceful I am, the more I’m at peace.
(Another arena I’m stepping into is public speaking, hence the pic.)
STEP INTO YOUR ARENA
My clients frequently step into their arenas – like Megan (not her real name). She’s been in advertising for more than 15 years. It became a part of her identity. She was certainly comfortable there. Yet, for years Megan had been unhappy at work. And, through working with me on my career change programme, she’s now changing careers to something totally different. She’s feeling excited, energised and hopeful for her future; she’s feeling herself again. And people around her are noticing changes in her too, commenting on how the real Megan is back, on how much happier she looks.
It sounds appealing because it is.
So, what might be your arena you want to step into?
TRY THESE STEPS:
Thinking of your comfortable, ask yourself:
- What might be your comfortable?
- What’s it like to be there?
- What’s good about it?
- What’s not good about it?
- What will happen if you stay there?
- Thinking of your arena, ask yourself:
- What might be your arena?
- What’s holding you back? What’s telling you not to step in?
- What’s one small action you could take to step in to your arena?
WANT TO STEP INTO YOUR ARENA?