Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Greg Kozera

This week Lynnda and I took a short vacation to Massanutten near Harrisonburg, Virginia. Our daughter, Dannielle drove over from Baltimore to spend time with us. Dannielle teaches Outdoor School for her county. Each pubic school student is required to spend a week in Outdoor School. They take 3 hikes a day (one is at night) to learn about plants and animals. They do other activities to learn about the environment. Dannielle enjoys hiking. In the afternoon after we had already played 18 holes of golf, Dannielle asked if I would go on a hike with her. I thought it was going to be an easy hike around the lake. Dannielle had something else in mind.

She wanted to do the trail to Kaylor’s Knob on top of the mountain over 2,900 feet elevation. It was rated as a difficult trail. The trail started flat and about 3 foot wide. It was also a mountain biking trail. How difficult could it be? We went up and down hills for about a half mile and came to a fork. One trail went downhill and was rated as “difficult”. The other trail went further uphill. It was rated “Extremely difficult- No mountain bikes”. Over two years ago I ruptured both quads playing soccer. Difficult hiking requires different muscles and works the entire body. I never attempted an extremely difficult trail even as a Boy Scout over 50 years ago. This hike was out of my comfort zone.

I asked which trail and Dannielle pointed up the hill. It became steeper and more difficult. I could feel my leg muscles as we climbed. After another half mile the trail disappeared. All I saw were rocks. “Where’s the trail?” Dannielle pointed to the rocks leading steeply upward. “You can do it Dad.” We started the climb. Carefully, slowly using hands and arm strength we climbed over and up the rocks to a narrow trail that continued up and along the ridge. There were incredible views of the valleys on both sides of the trail. In spite of the physical exertion Dannielle and I talked. A treat for me since she lives 6 hours from us. We didn’t see another human or animal. Just one toad. Massanutten is loaded with deer at the bottom of the mountain. We didn’t see any. Maybe they know something we didn’t know.

We finished the climb and headed back down with a feeling of accomplishment. My legs were a little sore but it didn’t last long. We were out running together the next morning. Dannielle got me out of my comfort zone. The trail tested my leg strength, flexibility, endurance and mental toughness. Dannielle’s encouragement got me through the tough parts. A hike around the lake wouldn’t have tested anything. Getting out of our comfort zone can help us to grow physically and mentally. It helps us to believe in ourselves. It encourages us to set higher goals.

President John F. Kennedy said in 1962. “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” President Kennedy’s goal got a lot of people out of their comfort zone. Men landed on the moon July 20, 1969. We gained new national pride. It’s important to set high goals and get out of our comfort zone.

In college, calling a young lady for a date was uncomfortable. Ultimately, the thought of being stuck in the dorm alone on Saturday without a date helped me to get uncomfortable and ask. For personal, emotional and physical growth becoming uncomfortable is essential. Some people are afraid to try anything new. They may not take a new job or position because they are comfortable in their current position.

One of the biggest moves out of my comfort zone after joining SCUSA was flying to Tokyo on an economic development trip. Being in the air for 16 hours flying halfway around the world to a city of 14 million people and a country where we didn’t know the language was uncomfortable. Most of the signs are in Japanese only. It was one of the greatest adventures Lynnda and I have ever had. Our Team from West Virginia and Ohio successfully carried the Shale Crescent USA message of abundant economical energy to Japan. The most frequent comment we heard from the Japanese petrochemical executives was, “We had no idea. We thought all the gas was in Texas.” We had to get out of our comfort zone to achieve success.

Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone? It could be trying a new restaurant, starting a business or taking on a new position or job. It could be asking for the sale. Do you know most sales people are uncomfortable asking for the sale so they fail? Some companies may be uncomfortable moving manufacturing back to the USA. For decades China has been a safe decision where to expand manufacturing because of cheap labor. SCUSA’s recent study shows the world has changed. Because of automation labor is a small cost of most products. The major costs today are energy, raw materials and ocean transportation giving the USA an advantage. For some companies making the decision to manufacture in the SCUSA may require getting out of their comfort zone.

Start small. Do something this week to step out of your comfort zone. It can simple, like trying a new dish or calling a new prospect you are putting off. You may be uncomfortable setting a challenging goal. Try aiming higher than usual. It may be uncomfortable. Like my hike you may be surprised what you are capable of.

© 2022 Shale Crescent USA

Greg Kozera, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.

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