I set up the lights and popped my camera into the tripod. I hit record and ran to the couch to start recording.
‘Hi and welcome to…’
‘Hi I’m Carly…’
‘Hello and you’re watching…’
‘I fucking hate this.’
I stood up and turned the camera off, defeated. I went to my laptop and from the safety of my desk, I wrote a blog post instead. I know how to write blog posts. They’re easy.
The thing is, there was once a time when blog posts WEREN’T easy. I’d spend days writing, editing, fretting, deleting, publishing and unpublishing a single blog post trying to get it right. Ten years ago I would never have imagined being able to write three blog posts in a single day without procrastinating or hating every second of it.
After ten years of writing on the internet, blog posts are in my comfort zone. After two years of podcasting with Kelly at Straight & Curly, that’s now also in my comfort zone. It never used to be. I’d spend days researching and writing out every little thought I wanted to discuss but I’m practised at it now.
I’m still working on the video thing. I’ll get there eventually but it’s a hard slog because it’s all so unfamiliar. The filming, the editing, the trying to not lose my shit at how slow Australian internet is. I need to keep chipping away at it until I feel comfortable with it.
Comfort is great. I love comfort. The problem with comfort is that it never changes and never improves. Tracksuit pants won’t ever be a ball gown and a gentle walk won’t ever be a marathon run. Comfortable You will never be Spectacular You. It’s just not how it works. Although sometimes you need Comfortable You. Being Spectacular You is tiring and Comfortable You occasionally comes along to help you recover but sometimes people let Comfortable You hang around way too long and it’s frighteningly easy to do. Because comfort looks and feels like a big, old, labrador dog. He’s friendly, snuggly and he makes you feel good – but he likes to sit right in front of the door to stop you from leaving. And because he’s so lovely, he makes you want to stay. The trick is to get past him. The trick is to get out of your comfort zone.
Ask yourself these questions –
Do I continue to do the things I’ve always done without developing or changing my methods?
Have I recently felt uncomfortable or out of my depth?
Do I avoid doing things that require me to learn new skills?
Do I take what’s given to me instead of going after what I really want?
Do I say ‘one day’ far too often?
You don’t always need to stop being Comfortable You with your Comfort dog. If you’re content there – stay! It’s lovely. But if you find yourself wondering what’s behind the door that the Comfort dog is blocking, here are a few things you should try.
1. Pick one thing
Choose one thing to focus on. It could be your health, your career, your relationship status. Choose the area of your life where you’re the most unsatisfied and satisfy it. Picture it like a basic human need. If you’re hungry, you eat. If you’re thirsty, you drink. If you want a job you love, you need to pursue it. If you want more energy, you need to make changes in your life to make that happen. This month, choose one thing to focus on and do one thing every day to get you there. That might mean sending out a job application every day or saying no to your daily glass of wine. Treat the need to feed Spectacular You like you’d feed ordinary hunger.
2. Be a newbie
I get laughed at sometimes because I mispronounce words. It makes me sound like an idiot, so people laugh and correct me. The reason why I mispronounce words is that I read a lot and I often read words that I’ve never heard a person say in real life, so I pronounce it the way I read it. This actually makes me really smart – it means I learnt something new and I’m applying that knowledge to my life. Sometimes I mess it up and sometimes people are dicks about it but I’m not always going to know everything and if I don’t try I’ll never learn. Most people learn their best life lessons from making mistakes, so make them often.
3. Stop assuming
Never assume that something is going to be too hard, not enjoyable or that you’re going to suck at it. I have a friend who is an extremely unadventurous eater. I tried to invite her to a Korean restaurant one night and she said no because she didn’t think she’d like it. I told her to stop being a princess and made her eat Korean and she really enjoyed it. She was adamant that she was going to hate it and now it’s one of her favourite things to eat. Today’s lunch is not going to be the last lunch you ever eat so order something weird. You don’t know that you won’t get that job unless you apply for it, so apply for it. What have you got to lose? Actually nothing.
4. Get a Spectacular Buddy
If you have a got a friend who’s trying to make some life changes, join forces and be each other’s Spectacular Buddy. You just need to check in a few times a week to see how each of you is doing. If you’ve picked your one thing to focus on and you’ve chosen your thing that you’re going to do every day to reach that goal, tell your Spectacular Buddy every time you’ve done that thing. Everyone likes a gold star!
5. Understand your privilege
If you’re in a position where you are comfortable, understand how amazing that is in itself. Some people struggle to get comfortable jobs, comfortable homes and easy lifestyles. Being bored and unsatisfied is a privilege denied to many so if you’re feeling that way, do something about it. Maybe start with volunteering. You could help out at a special needs school, you could teach new Australians English on the weekend or you could volunteer to take people in the elderly community shopping on the weekends. Being bored and unsatisfied is such a fixable problem, so fix it.