The Comfort Energy Zone™
This post has been sitting in the "draft" pile since February 15th. I ask myself why I haven't clicked the "publish" button. I knew it was hanging out there in cyber-land, but it just felt incomplete. I planned to add a ride profile and playlist to the end, something meaty to sink your teeth into...something to move students beyond their comfort zones. However, it was not until I just re-read the post that I realized, in this case, the music, profile and road do not matter. How can I choose which ride will push someone to a new awareness, to a new level? I can't. For some, it's that crazy hill climb that I teach. For others, it's an endurance ride: "How many minutes on a seated flat? OMG..I will need therapy after that" (yes, I really heard that once). So, there's no ride to be posted, because it can be any ride on any day.
My own comfort zones have also been under challenge over the past few months, more so than I was aware of until now. In re-reading what I wrote, my beginning sentences have a tone that sounds like a longing for that "place." My fiancé moved in with us (and the simple fact that I can even type that word, let alone actually be considering being re-married is so far out of my comfort zone that I question my sanity sometimes). I had a birthday, my last one in my 30s (no explanation necessary). I started teaching at a new studio. I am doing my first trail running race this weekend (which will be a separate post). And, I have been trying to navigate getting a business off the ground (my learning curve, here, is huge). I set up a starter website, and hitting the "publish" button was almost terrifying. Even more so than doing this little blog, it felt like a birthday, like I am really putting myself out there, in a very naked way. However, at the end of every day, all of this is really, really good, great even. When I look behind me at all of the little choices I have made, I have created amazing things for myself and if I had let the doubt creep in and stayed curled up in my "mountains of pillows," none of this would be happening.
When I was working on my website, I sent a request out to a few people to write a little testimonial about what they have learned from taking my classes or working with me. One woman, who, a few years ago, was bedridden and heavily medicated due to illness, found the Spin room and it became a component in her recovery. She wrote her testimonial to me from an airplane, en route to Costa Rica to go surfing. In her words, "something I never imagined doing." This is what inspires me. Period.
My original post:
I know what a comfort zone feels like. I have mine. It is soft, safe, sound, with no surprises lurking around the corner. In fact, there are no corners, just rounded edges, like mountains of pillows. It is reliable, never changes and never catches me off guard. Everything there just flows, in a very unchallenging, complacent way. It has it's place in my life and, I will argue, it's a necessary and healthy place.
Now, put yourself in the Spin room with good energy, your favorite instructor, great music, on the bike you love, the ideal spot in the room, the perfect temperature, in your strongest position, riding with the resistance and cadence you use in every other ride. You can be there and BE without feeling any discomfort at all. You know this place very well...you are here often, at least 3 or 4 times a week. Then, out of nowhere, just when you are settled in, that instructor challenges you to get out of your comfort zone, to turn the resistance knob just a little more to the right than you usually do, or to take your weakest position. You love to climb out of the saddle, but she's coaching a seated flat for the next 15 minutes. Not only that, but now she is challenging you to keep your flat road cadence while adding more resistance. What? Now there's a headwind? This sucks. You know you can fake it, it's your ride, after all. And, as your hand moves from the bars to that taunting little knob, you have that choice. You have the same choice we face many times a day: Do you take the challenge, or do you stay in your comfort zone? It's up to you. The instructor wants to see you grow and get stronger, but she knows you have to want the same thing. Maybe today is not your day. Maybe you are just not up to feeling the burn in your quads. Maybe the comfort zone is where you need to be...today. That's all okay, but how often do you decide not to take the challenge, whether it be in the spin room or in your life? Guess what? It's supposed to suck. Change can cause discomfort. We are creatures of habit, after all. But, I firmly believe, as the cliché says, that change is good for the soul (and good for your body as well). It's during the times when we choose to change that we have a growth spurt. Where are you staying in your comfort zones and why? Why aren't you taking the leap of faith?