Pop quiz: What do these three things have in common?
- Working with a client outside the marine industry
- Attending yoga classes with a friend
- Working with a partner
Answer: They are all new expansions to my previous definition of self. (And fortunately, Stacey Szabo designed me a new business card that’s totally flexible.)
Thing #2 may seem completely unrelated; I would argue otherwise. Could having the courage to step outside my usual industry and work with someone else have inspired crossing a bridge to attend yoga classes? I say the answer is “yes,” though I’d need a do-over to prove it.
A few months ago, a former colleague reached out to inquire if I’d be interested in helping with an editorial experiment, and even though I haven’t worked on a boat-free project since the late 20th century, I signed on. That led to partnering with another former colleague, which is a first for me. One new step led to another.
And the yoga? Well, that’s a bigger change than it might seem, because over the years I’ve developed a workout routine that doesn’t involve classes of any sort. But when a new opportunity arose to cross that bridge, I took it. Once we are rewarded for leaving the comfort zone in one area of our lives, it’s easier to make leaps elsewhere.
As we age, it’s easy to fall into comfortable habits that soon dig themselves into furrows, which eventually become deep enough to be called “ruts.” We find something we like, and we stick with it. There’s nothing wrong with that; good habits come out of being comfortable, just as bad ones do.
But the only way we discover new good habits is to shake things up once in awhile. Sometimes we’re forced to do that by an event outside our own control. At other times, we get the luxury of choosing change on our own terms. Either way, it’s important to say “yes.”
The day after the first yoga class, I was a little sore—a sure sign that I’d pushed harder than usual. Working with a new client and partner, the signs of growth and change will be more subtle. Who knows, I might even stretch the boundaries of that comfort zone.