When is your comfort zone actually your UNCOMFORTABLE zone?
Around 15 years ago, I left my job as a Stockbroker, and went self employed - building up a lovely little business which included a number of complementary therapies, as well as some mentoring and teaching opportunities. It was great, but it also had a number of challenges, as self employment usually does!
Having stepped away from my stockbroking job for 3 years, I then went back. Same industry, different employer, but I was back in my comfort zone.
Back in the world of regular hours, a salary going into my bank account on the same date every month, a known number of days holiday, and the benefits of a pension contribution, private healthcare and a death in service benefit.
All the things that are designed to keep us safe.
Except, when I was in that comfort zone, I was also extremely uncomfortable.
I was a woman in a man’s world. For the entire time that I was a stockbroker (over 20 years) I was the only woman doing that job in my area. I was also a mum of 2….doing all the things that working mums have to do.
* Arrange and Juggle childcare.
* Remember parents’ evening
*Get lunch money ready or sandwiches made.
* Remember when inset days are, and the first days of term, and remembering to pull the school uniform to the top of the washing pile in time!
* Getting the grocery shopping done - a task I hated.
* Thinking of what meals we could all have that would satisfy everyone’s dietary and fussy-eating requirements (they were mine as well as the kids!)
* And the conundrum that is getting everyone to their sporting activities, after school clubs, playdates and birthday parties on the right day, at the right time, with the right kit.
Without losing my shit. A task that became easier said than done!
All this whilst trying to maintain an immense level of professionalism at work. For me. For my clients. For my employers. Most of whom were men….who simply “didn’t get” what I was trying to juggle because they had wives who didn’t need to go out to work, who did all the mum/wife/house stuff as their own full time job.
So….my comfort zone, was very often my not-so-comfort zone.
But I didn’t think I could leave it. Because of course that would mean leaving behind the security of the regular pay, the pension contributions that will fund my retirement plans, the private healthcare that helped me jump the waiting list queue when I needed surgery, and the death in service benefit that would pay out if life threw the ultimate curveball and I came a cropper whilst still working.
As the years went by, I became more entrenched in my comfort zone, yet in reality I had become more uncomfortable in it.
The health care benefit came into its own when stress made me ill.
There was a chance that if I continued, it would have killed me. Melodramatic though it may sound, there’s no fun in chest pains and stress induced heart attacks.
So, yes, my family would have got the payment from the death in service benefit, but I would have not been able to reap the rewards of that pension fund I have been working so hard to build up!
My comfort zone was very definitely not comfortable.
And I realised that if I stepped away from it, I might actually be stepping away from my very UNCOMFORTABLE zone, and into something far more comfortable!
When that reality hit, I knew exactly what I needed to do. This time, without the expectation of returning to the "old way" in 3 years' time!
There are lots of areas in our life where we are so “comfortable” that we are uncomfortable! Jobs, relationships, financial situations, business opportunities.
Moving from one to another is always going to involve change, adapting to new routines, new ways of seeing things, doing things, paying for things!
I don’t have my death in service benefit from my employer, but I can increase my life insurance elsewhere for peace of mind!.
I don’t have my private healthcare - but lo and behold my chest pains have stopped!
I don’t have a guaranteed salary now, but I have a passion that drives me to build my business.
Comfort zone, or discomfort zone. Time will tell, but for now, the internal conflict has gone, and the celebrations continue!
The same is often said for our financial situation - we find ourselves sitting in the comfort of a "safe" salary, or happily using our overdraft or credit card. We get comfortable in offering discounts on our goods and services in the hope and expectation that it brings in new business - and then get comfortable in the resultant slow trickle, rather than fast flow of money coming in.
This comfort zone can be really quite uncomfortable, because you know that, in an ideal world, you would be earning more, building savings not debt, building business income not giving discounts and soon....and you don't quite know how to make the move to get it. Fear of stepping out of your comfort zone is something often mentioned in my facebook group - Money Talk And Coffee. Why not come and join us and collectively step outside and create a new, real, exciting comfort level instead!
If this has resonated with you, or you know someone who might like to read it and benefit, I'd love you to share this blog! Better still, sign up to be notified of future posts so you don't miss my ramblings!
And if you want to know how to make your financial comfort (or otherwise!) zone more comfortable in the real sense of the word, why not request my free guide to making your money work harder for you? You can get your copy HERE
I invite you to look at where you are now, and where you really want to be. Comfort or "real" comfort - the choice is yours!
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