My Comfort Zone Won’t Stand Still

Where is your comfort zone? Are you always in it? Do you have to be forced out of it by outside sources only to recoil in fear and push against it with all your might? The one thing about being comfortable is…it’s really comfortable. That voice inside us resists moving from that place. The other voice inside us tells us to move. Usually the situation isn’t so glaringly obvious, but as we age, this type of situation can creep up faster and faster. If we wish to create a world that is bigger, to have more abundance, we can do so by pushing back on our comfort zone by leaning into the uncomfortable.

If your comfort zone is the top of the mountain, reach for the sky.

When we are young, we learn by experimenting and doing. A child learns to walk and talk by observing and trying. A teen learns to branch out on their own by trying new things and finding what works and doesn’t. In our 20’s and 30’s we are experiencing new jobs, relationships and sometimes parenthood for the first time. Then we get comfortable, not necessarily in the every day (those who are parents realize they face new things daily), but we often get comfortable in our lifestyle. We have small growth activities through outside sources (interacting with people) and we upgrade at work, learn new technology, read a book, but often don’t do something big that scares us. That something might be small to a twenty year old who is all about adventure but the forty year old self is losing sleep over it. By fifty, the voice of ‘I’m too old for that…’ is resounding more often. Continue that theme into the sixties and by seventy a person can have one foot in the grave even without health problems.

As we age, our world gets smaller. Our memories aren’t as clear, which makes learning a little more difficult which means keeping up with new technology can be overwhelming; there is so much information. Our bodies slow down and it seems things take longer and there are health issues even if we work hard to prevent them.

I have done some things to push my comfort levels to different places. I have learned to snowboard, I have started learning a new language and practicing. I have pushed myself to learn new technology and a new business and another new business and all that is involved with those things. I am getting comfortable and it is time to start doing something new. Tomorrow, I will start a video challenge on my fb page A New Dawn-Feeling Good. I am not sure if I will do it daily all month but have plans to do it daily to begin with at least and have some topics set out. My plan is for a short 2-4 minute video each time. If there is anything you want me to talk about let me know. I will try to fit it in if I know something about it. I am scared, nervous, really uncomfortable with the idea.

As we go through life, our comfort zone moves. We can allow it to push us into an increasingly smaller world, or we can push our comfort zone to the mountain tops or beyond. Where are you taking your comfort zone?

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Dream Bigger

I woke up in Colombia this morning. It has been 6 days of waking up in another country. Many years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined coming here for a visit. It’s funny how life takes on a life of it’s own and yet, it needs some energy behind it. How often does a person get an idea, a dream in their head and they push it away as a ‘dream’, a ‘whim’ a ‘notion’ that ‘just isn’t possible’? How often are we chided by that little voice in our heads that says ‘it can’t be done”? I have learned to dream big, to dream bigger than that little voice is comfortable with. I have learned that dreaming big and dreaming bigger makes those dreams a reality.

Almost 10 years ago we met a lovely family who started coming to our church. Within a short time we were good friends and had a group of couples that got together. We met more people from our church who were from Colombia and they were quick to tell us we need to be learning Spanish. Over the years we have remained friends with this group of people and those friends ended up in our home school circle as well so we spent much time with similar interests together. Five years ago they went to Colombia. When they returned they told us that when they were here they thought of how they would like to show us places they love.

At that point it was a conversation and fleeting comments followed although they were not part of a dream at that point; but the seed was planted and watered. My husband and I did not travel much while we were raising four kids. I stayed home with them and he worked really hard to make that happen. About 5 years ago, we were gifted (by my family and our kids) with a flight that sent us on our first ‘warm during the winter months’ vacation. We went on a few more because, well, it’s cold in Canada and it’s warm other places. I also decided to learn Spanish (after a trip to Cuba) using the Duolingo App. Of course I had friends who were more than willing to have me practice. I worked on it almost daily for a couple years and then last year didn’t spend time on it because of time spent on other things.

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A view of downtown Bogotá and beyond from Monserrate.

Then last year happened. I finished my personal trainer certification. I started my Monat business which happened to be with my dear friend. My husband’s job was iffy and we started a house flipping business with these same friends (and a brother). Then said brother became engaged and the wedding was in Colombia and now here we are, attending a Colombian wedding in a couple days, traveling around Colombia with our friends who are  patiently translating for us and helping us at every turn. However, I know enough Spanish to understand some of what is being said, I can speak enough broken Spanish and sign language to get a black, no sugar coffee special made for me at a street kiosk and tell people I have one son and three daughters, their ages and that I have 2 grandchildren and one more in 3 weeks.

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We walked a lot in Bogotá and when it was raining hard we stopped at a grocery store and learned about the fruits and vegetables here.

I have added a couple photos but this post really isn’t about our trip, it is about dreaming big. It’s interesting how there are little snippets of things that pop up when you are thinking of a post. I have been planning this one for a couple weeks but in preparation for the trip was unable to sit long enough to write it. This morning a friend posted a Facebook post about following your dreams and one of the lines was about waking up in another country. On the way from Bogotá to Ibague, I was listening to a couple podcasts. To be fair, I listen to inspiring podcasts that talk about dreaming big in business and in life, but the person interviewed was a young lady (26) who travels the world and has amassed riches through business after living a terrible teen life at the hands of others. The thing take home message along with others was, “Money is not the only currency”. When we are serving others, and being genuine in caring and help to others, we can receive the same from others…not always the same others but still receive.

We have been so blessed in all our travels to have the gracious help of others, to have accommodation, to be given food, to have transportation, and tour guides and advice from people. We have experienced the generosity of friends, new friends and strangers. We have been overwhelmed with kindness.

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The time spent with family and friends is the greatest of riches.

The currency of relationships, of connection and goodwill go far beyond what money can buy in enriching an experience. Yes, money is needed too. That is one of the reasons we work. But money isn’t the only currency. Dreaming big isn’t about money either; it is about doing things that you didn’t think you could. It is about, instead of saying “I can’t”, saying “How can I?” It may not be about travel for you, it may be something you want to do in life, go to school, have a bigger house, live somewhere else, have your own business, have more time for family and friends, run a half marathon, or lose weight. Whatever you dream, amp it up–dream a little bigger, then dream a lot bigger. You may wake up in another country one day and it will be good.

 

 

Life Is Too Short To…

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Some of you may be wondering ‘whatever happened to Dawn and that new blog she started?’.  Some of you may be tuning in for the first time.  Feel free to go back and read the previous posts.  I started a little series and intend to continue on with that in due time.  I am starting with a post today that gives you an idea about where I have been the last 7 months…well, really the things that started about a year ago, just to get you updated on where I have been and where I am going.  It’s good for you to know what I am about, to know if you want to hang out here.  And it is good for me to know where I am going because going in circles only works until you are too dizzy to stand.  No guarantees there won’t be some circles, but direction really helps.

A year ago at this time my husband Lawrence and I were in Hawaii, living it up in the sun, sightseeing and hiking some trails.  Living the dream in a tropical local only lasts so long for most of us, but really it would be nice to have a few more chances to live the dream. When we returned, I had my personal training course to complete (which I finished in May) and I was presented with an opportunity to have a business and have some residual income coming in.  Who doesn’t want to be paid while on vacation.  I have been presented with other opportunities but this one fit me because it fell in with my why for pretty much everything I do (more on that later). I started out slowly and have been building consistently, with (mostly) consistent work and consistently doing a little more.  There was a learning curve as I figured out the products and what people are wanting and how I was going to do that.  And I wasn’t sure on why yet (more about that later). I joined with Monat at the end of February.

Fast forward a month or two and Lawrence was forced to take his remaining weeks of vacation and his banked time (from all the overtime he had worked and had to bank in lieu of pay).  It was 7 weeks worth and he got to come with me to bootcamp and kickboxing and cycling during the day and he caught up on some things around the place and got a head start on other things. We really loved the lifestyle, but it didn’t pay well or at least it wouldn’t have if it kept going.  He was fortunate to be given some work when it ran out and kept his job. He earned a week of vacation only to have to again take it off in October. There was always the threat of not having a job after that period of time and each month there was a new ‘end of job’ date (and still is). Back to the spring; when we were enjoying time off, Lawrence mentioned to some friends that he needed to do something different. That’s when opportunity hit the fan again and we were introduced to something they had been working on for a couple years.  We decided life is to short to be unsure about a lifestyle we don’t love, and decided to jump into a lifestyle that, although it has no guarantees, is way more fun and has more potential to give us the lifestyle we desire. He continues to work in his current job as we march forward in this opportunity we are pursuing.

Starting a corporation, learning about real estate investing, flipping houses and all that entails has a huge learning curve and beyond the hands on learning there has been the ‘book’ learning as well.  Fitting it all in has been a juggling act to say the least, with continued feeding and caring for my family and pets and chickens and washing eggs, and laundry and dishes and cleaning the house occasionally.  And I definitely wasn’t going to let go of my sports and activities because that is part of the lifestyle. Anyway, you get the idea.

With all that learning came personal development because…well, because I believe personal development is so important.  I grew up in a family that puts a lot of value in personal growth, living life abundantly, being our best selves to serve others in whatever capacity the individual is called. And through the podcasts, books, you-tube videos and ted talks plus the regular things like meeting and talking with amazing people, hanging out with people, sermons, and personal conversations, I have learned a lot of stuff.  My head has sometimes felt like that cartoon image from Bugs Bunny of being hit with cymbals and continuing to vibrate long after.  And through going through this, I have been able to pinpoint more, why I want to write a blog, and have a fb page and do my businesses and they really all do come together.  Like really what does sports, fitness, feeding chickens and a garden and cycling, and house flipping and getting people anti-aging hair care products and cooking good meals for my family and, and and… all have in common? Probably as much as the million things each person does and yet, I am beginning to see what those things have in common.

I will share some of that on my next post which will be posted on Wednesday…look at me having a deadline and accountability to the three of you reading this today and tomorrow :-).