As men and fathers, we are driven to provide for our families. But it's a lot of pressure to provide food, shelter, clothing, and still have enough expendable income to entertain ourselves and our family from time to time. It's stressful to play this role day after day, year after year, without any hiccups that may disrupt your quality of life.
With this kind of long-term pressure, it's no wonder most men look for ways to fulfill these obligations with the most reliable means possible, allowing us to feel safe and in control. In other words, it's easy to find ourselves operating in our comfort zones for long periods.
But what opportunities are we missing if we don't push ourselves beyond this level of comfort?
Do you feel quietly stuck in life? Are you witnessing friends around you excel in their careers or relationships? Do you feel like you're capable of more but unable to move forward? If so, chances are you are stuck living life in your comfort zone.
To take the first steps beyond what you currently know, sometimes all you need is a roadmap to get you there. Or at the very least, something that lets you know what to expect once you're there. In the spirit of helping you grow into all that you're capable of, here are three distinct "zones" that exist beyond your comfort zone.
To grow beyond your comfort zone requires you to seek opportunities where you lack knowledge or self-confidence. You'll likely find yourself worried about what others are thinking or saying about you, and you might even look for excuses to run back to your comfort zone. But embrace this fear of the unknown because once you get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you'll be poised for accelerated growth.
Nobody wants to live in fear for long, so to keep growing, you'll do whatever it takes. In the Learning Zone, dealing with new challenges or problems should become second nature. And as you learn more about yourself and what you think you'd like to accomplish in life, you'll meet new people, broaden your network, and acquire new skills, gaining confidence and an improved self-image along the way. As you progress through the Learning Zone, your old fears wither and die, and your comfort zone just grew by 100 percent.
Pushing through fear and discomfort and tackling challenges associated with learning and expanding your skills sets the stage for unlimited growth. In the Growth Zone, you conquer the objectives you once set for yourself. And because your self-confidence has grown, you set new and audacious goals for your future and finally begin to live your dreams.
Now, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't possible to make strides in these areas based on our efforts. But if you want to experience deep and meaningful growth—the kind of growth that unveils your true purpose in life—then you should try inviting God into the process.
Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the Bible contains real-world wisdom that can benefit anyone. Forget about believing in the unseen (for now). If you're at least open to the practicality of what the text has to say, it will unlock potential that you never knew existed. Because in the end, God wants what's best for us.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
—Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
And as you begin the journey of growing beyond your comfort zone—as you lean into discomfort and fear, remember that if you bring God along with you, you're never alone.
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy."
—Psalm 94:19 NIV
If you're new to the Bible and would like to know more about how its teachings can help you grow, I recommend you start with Proverbs. Then, if you'd like to know more about how and why God is invested in each of us personally, read the Gospel of John found at the beginning of the New Testament.