Recently I bumped into an acquaintance who I hadn’t seen for a long time, and during the conversation, I asked if she was still planning on starting her own business.
Her reply: “Not anymore, I’ve put those thoughts to the side, and I don’t think about them anymore – you know how it is… you start making money, and then you feel trapped by the income and next thing you know, you stop thinking about your dreams”.
She ended by saying “Do you know what I mean?”
Yes. I knew exactly what she meant.
It’s called the affluence trap – and it’s a multifaceted trap which includes:
Once upon a time, I was stuck in my comfort zone and the affluence trap until I realized the price I was paying was too high and that I had to push myself past my comfort zone.
It wasn’t easy to leave my comfort zone and the affluence trap I found myself in, and it isn’t for more people. The vast majority of us are not born with a silver spoon in our mouth – meaning; most of us have to work for a living.
But, with that said, we can begin to push ourselves out of our comfort zone by:
In my case, I went back to school while still employed in corporate life and although I didn’t know what life would look like without my corporate career – I had faith in the not yet seen. Meaning, I believed that my dreams and goals would come to fruition – I didn’t know how or in what capacity, but I believed in the unseen.
Becoming an entrepreneur has required hard work, grit and determination and many ups and down’s, including feeling like my goals are moving smoothly and steadily along – to times when my goals feel they are stagnating and not making any progress at all. And it’s a time’s like these that I remember to Believe in the not yet seen.
So how do you move out of your comfort zone?
First realize that you are not trapped in any situation that you may find yourself in – be it your career, finances, relationships, your weight, etc. You are not stuck. Second, realize that you can empower yourself by making small changes to move out of your comfort zone. Believe in the not yet seen and take steps each day (no matter how big or small) towards realizing your dreams.
A few years ago, I was in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada and on the day my husband and I were due to fly back to London we decided to take our friends’ bulldog, Sophie, out for a walk. Much like a Gremlin (don’t get wet, and don’t feed after midnight), Sophie comes with instructions.
Keep Sophie away from traffic cones.
Keep Sophie away from basketballs.
Keep Sophie away from skateboards.
Why? Because Sophie gets hyper-focused, latches on and won’t let go.
We had only been walking for about 5 minutes when Sophie pulled on the leash and raced towards a yellow fence made of plastic piping. And, as soon as she reached the fence, she bit onto the plastic tubing and would not let go. No amount of pulling, yanking, pleading or bribing would loosen her grip – she was hyper-focused on her goal of “hold onto the fence for dear life and no matter what, do not let go”.
I’m pretty sure Sophie is a Type A personality.
As we tried negotiating and coaxing her into letting go, it dawned on me that I am like Sophie. I too can get super focused on a goal, and I also am not so good about letting go of a target.
Let me give you an example. A few years ago, months, I trained for the Vancouver marathon, and I had grand ambitions of running it in just over 4 hours. Two months before the marathon, I became injured with a re-occurring IT band injury which meant that I was forced to modify my goal. And, I didn’t do this without a fight – I forced myself to run through the pain, attempted various rest and recovery plans, and in the end, it took a significant meltdown for me to modify my goal.
I had been running for about 7 miles along the Thames River when the water bottle in my Camelback broke and soaked my clothing, and, to compound things, the heavens decided to open up. Torrential rains engulfed me, and as I ran, slipped and sloshed my way through mud puddles with my IT Band screaming in pain, I finally yelled out loud in frustration “This is such bull sh*t”. To which I then burst into tears and received a cuddle from an older man and his dog, who just happened to walk past and witness my outburst.
And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I knew at that moment that I had to amend my goal. For it is not normal for me to have meltdowns (at least in public anyway) or to receive cuddles from strangers.
And so, I modified my goal to complete the marathon with no set completion time.
Fast forward to the day of the marathon – it was a beautiful 23 degrees, and as I ran through the starting line, I didn’t click my watch or turn on the Nike app to tell me my pace, but instead I decided to enjoy the experience. And enjoy it I did – I didn’t suffer any fatigue or hit the infamous wall which I had been dreading. I took a leisurely pace and drunk in the beautiful scenery of my hometown and enjoyed the experience. And, I completed in the marathon in 5:04, which I was pleased with considering the heat and my injuries.
My lesson? Set goals but be prepared to pivot and adapt the goal if needed. Modifying a goal does not mean failure.
Oh, and if you are in Yaletown in Vancouver I’d appreciate if you could pop by with a basketball or a traffic cone – we still need to get Sophie off that damn fence.
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