A Coaching Power Tool Created by Chris Schapdick
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
What enables us to get out of bed in the morning? What’s the point? Well the point is that we have lives to lead. Even so, many people get out of bed in the morning because they are part of something bigger. This can have both positive and negative interpretations. Are you getting out of bed because you have to or because you want to? Are you yearning to get started with whatever the day may bring or do you do so only reluctantly after having hit snooze 3 times on the alarm clock?
This coaching power tool is an analysis of precisely the two very diametrically opposed reasons for why we get up to tackle the day, how we go about doing that, what we are comfortable doing and what motivates and excites us as human beings. This can not only be applied to getting up in the morning but any other scenarios we face during the course of the day. These scenarios are grouped under the terms of comfort and exploration. Let me elaborate on what I mean by both of these. Let’s start with ‘Comfort’.
Comfort is pretty self explanatory, but I am referencing it not necessarily in a purely positive sense. There are reasons for most everything we do. Comfort is one of those reasons. What do I mean by this? Well, comfort is the action or decision that we are most familiar with. This is the one where we generally don’t rock the boat, but go through the motions and do the things that we think we should be doing. Perhaps doing the things that we feel others think we should be doing. We don’t stray too far from the path; we don’t make waves. On some level a lot of us follow this pattern. In some ways it’s a sort of life path that gets laid out before us. If you’ve ever played the board game ‘Game of Life’, it’s that sort of very clear progression with stages and milestones where at a given age we think we should be at. There is comfort in all of this.
The problem is that comfort doesn’t always equate to happiness. It can feel like we are living someone else’s life or someone else’s rendition of what a life should look like. On some level we are groomed from a young age for this. It’s done with the best of intentions in that getting ‘good’ grades will likely get you into a ‘good’ college; a ‘good’ degree will get you a ‘good’ job; if you work hard and save your money you can look forward to a ‘good’ retirement. The word ‘good’ shows up a lot. ‘Good’ also doesn’t equate to happiness. We learn it from our parents and it gets modeled for us in the media since entire industries have been set up around this principal.
I don’t want to paint with too broad a brush here and there are no doubt people who are perfectly happy with the life scenario I outlined above. Many are not. They get onto that comfort path and find it to be not very fulfilling. Life is a path of sorts and we can choose to follow it and have life guide us from one place to the next. It’s kind of insidious too since we feel that we ‘should’ be happier now that we got married, have the house, two cars, two kids, well paying job in the city, etc.
There is an alternative though. We can consciously choose to move off that path and explore. This exploration can be in all aspects of our life or a select few. Our happiness and satisfaction can be the barometer for if we should continue to stick with ‘comfort’ or broadly assess our options with the goal of creating more happiness and contentment for ourselves. Straying away from comfort is not always easy. We are experienced with the lives we know. This is the very definition of comfort.
Exploration is a personal quest to seek out other ways of doing something or how we are living our lives. Choosing this and challenging our own personal status quo is likely to be UNcomfortable. We most likely are not just challenging our own notions of this but also those of the people around us. If we don’t have or get the support of those we love, this can be very daunting to strike out on our own path. This is why I view these notions of being opposed to one another.
‘Exploration’ is tough since it inherently means we are straying off the tried and true path. Using the words truest definition though, so much of what we take for granted would not have come to pass without ‘exploration’. Humans would never have set foot on the moon. We would not have climbed Mount Everest. The Titanic would still be somewhere unknown at the bottom of the Atlantic. It took people willing to stray off the conventional path to achieve all of these things. Not everybody is cut out for these things, nor should it be everyone’s desire to accomplish such great feats, but there is plenty of adventure and exploration much closer to home.
I’ve always wanted to ________…
This is a sentence where most people could easily fill in the blank. Whether it’s skydiving, selling our crocheting work, running a marathon, or starting our own business, the ‘what’ is irrelevant. Whatever it is, it seems like it’s off our well trodden path and we would have to branch out in some way to accomplish these things we in some fashion want to do. This can be uncomfortable for some of us and we have a long list of reasons (excuses) that we keep prepare so that we talk ourselves out of these things we want to do. “I don’t have enough time”; “I’m not skilled enough”; “I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to start something like that”. The list is endless and we’ll craft whatever excuse structure that supports us not having to take that uncomfortable first step. The reasons we tell ourselves why we shouldn’t do something are usually pretty threadbare as well. Not having enough time is very popular. We seem to find the time to watch the Bachelor or binge watch House of Cards seasons. Bottom line is that to explore, we have to want to do it. It has to be more appealing than the alternative of stagnating, stalling and wallowing in inaction.
What I describe above doesn’t apply to everyone or every situation, but this scenario befalls many of us. It manifests itself later in life in the form of regret. We regret the things that we didn’t do and wonder ‘what if?’. It can be hard to take that first step and may produce a level of anxiety. Feel it, acknowledge it and move on if you continue to want that things that doesn’t fall into the ‘comfortable’ part of your life. Get a coach to help you in the process.
These things that we do that constitute exploration are the things that may ultimately define us and who we are and who we want to be. All things worth doing require effort and we have to be open to failing at times. Trying and failing is better than not having tried at all though. Failure is also a great learning opportunity allowing us to get back up and do it better the next time. Comfort may be the right path for some but regardless how comfortable you like to be and how warm and cozy that virtual or actual bed you are lying in feels, get out there and explore a little as well. You will be glad you did.