Thursday, November 11, 2010

Comfort Zones

I have found that most people (myself included) need to be in their comfort zone in order to function at their optimal level. This is fine, I really have no problem with that, live isn’t about constant conflict. What I find is a problem is when people shut down completely when they move beyond the borders of comfort. I am back in the US right now, and since being back I have been able to assess how much my comfort zone has expanded.

As I stated above there is nothing wrong with being comfortable, that is when a teacher gives solid lessons, the carpenter creates dependable buildings, and the mason builds solid walls that will last a hundred years. In comfort zones life is solid and dependable, what needs to be done is obvious and life is a comfortable routine. This is not a place where innovation happens, where conventions are destroyed and where we are forced to raise above who we are and what we are comfortable with. Once we force ourselves beyond what is normal and safe we are given amazing opportunities to improve our lives and those lives whose lives are tied to ours.

Before I moved I was comfortable in my routines, as vigorous as they were, and I was happy with my surroundings. When I moved to Norway I was not that comfortable, Norwegians are a bit closed off, I didn’t speak the language, and I couldn’t work until I got a visa. I had two options; close myself off and hope that things work out, or put myself out there and actively pursue the life that I wanted. When I look at it that way, I only had one choice. Fortunately for me the gym that Anna and I worked out provided the catalyst for expanding my comfort zone while challenging it’s boundaries. Ganddal AK is filled with a great group of men, some that I train, and some that have become supportive friends.

In this environment I was able to expand my understanding of Norwegian cultural and physical culture, it was within that gym that I got a bead on what I want to do, and how I want to do it. I was being challenged to integrate with the culture in the gym and expand that culture. I did the only thing that I could, I rose to the challenge. I began training a great group of young men, and bringing in the tools that I know leads to functional fitness I was able to expand the gyms training spectrum. In the beginning a lot of the guys wondered what the hell I was doing; some even thought I was a dumbass. I stuck to my guns, explained how I train and why, now I have a reputation for doing “crazy monkey stuff”, but it is monkey stuff that works and people get behind. By moving beyond my comfort zone I have been able to carve out a place for myself while expanding on my abilities as a trainer and a man, and now that I am back in the States I am more confident in myself and my interactions. My abilities and technical knowledge as a trainer and coach came under question, by guys who know when something is bullshit, and I was able to move beyond my comfort zone, and show by example that I know what I am doing. Now the gym has a great mesh of Powerlifting, Strongman training, and Athleticism.

I know now that I can move beyond myself and influence the environment to better myself and the people around me. If I had just sat in the house, waiting to work and crying about it I would not have solidified my goals and come to know and understand an amazing group of men. I know I have learned a lot from them, about training and life, and I feel as if I have taught a lot. Only when we move beyond the normal range of our interactions do we get the opportunity to see who we are and to alter that for our and others betterment. Challenge your comfort zones, move beyond what is normal and start forging your own path. Change usually doesn’t happen all at once, it is the result of thousands of alterations, start now, and move onto something better.

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