Posted by: hjelen87 | October 29, 2010

Running out of my comfort zone

In High School, my cross country coach, Mr. Greeno had this saying that he put on our shirts, itineraries, etc. and said a lot-Run Out of the Comfort Zone.  Running out of your comfort zone is really the only way to improve-if you just run within your “comfort zone” all the time, you will never get any faster.  The problem with running out of your comfort zone is that, well, it’s not comfortable.  It’s not easy.  Running out of your comfort zone doesn’t come naturally-we have to push through pain.  But if you consistently run out of your comfort zone, it starts to get bigger.  And then the pace that was out of your comfort zone before becomes easy, and you have to go faster to run out of your comfort zone.  That is the way that we improve.

I bring this up because I’ve been thinking about my “comfort zone” lately, not in terms of running, but in life.  Coming to DC, where I barely knew anyone, was not a comfortable thing to do.  And law school isn’t often within my comfort zone.  Sometimes it is hard to be in a place where I’m not completely comfortable yet.  But when I question why I am doing this, why I’m sticking it out and pushing through the discomfort, I realize that the same principles that apply in running apply to this as well-you can’t grow and learn until you get out of your comfort zone.

In law school, when students ask questions, often the professor will turn the question back on them.  Now this can get very annoying, and certainly uncomfortable when you ask a question because you don’t know something (which is generally why we ask questions).  But it does force you to learn, to find the answer on your own.  And then the next time, you know how to find it, and it’s not outside your comfort zone anymore.  And every time I go somewhere new in this city, or talk to someone I haven’t talked to before, it gets less uncomfortable, until eventually, I find that I feel like I belong here, and the city itself (or most of it) is within my comfort zone.  My life is not comfortable much of the time, but it’s better that way.  I’m growing, learning, expanding my horizons, and every day my comfort zone gets just a little bit bigger.

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