Bahram Akradi, Founder and CEO of Life Time Fitness, wrote something in the latest issue of Experience Life Magazine that has stuck with me all week. He draws an interesting parallel between physical exertion and a transformational lifestyle:
"Amazing stuff, muscle tissue. Work it to the point where it's hard-pressed to go any further, and it responds by repairing itself and getting more powerful. Like our minds, hearts and spirits, our bodies feel best and happiest wehn they are being challenged to grow and get stronger, not when they are atrophying from disuse...Both literally and figuratively, if we go long enough without making muscle--that is, without challenging ourselves to learn and grow in some way--we risk a disconnection with those parts of ourselves that naturally yearn to stretch, explore and evolve. And very often, that disconnection manifests as boredom, apathy, depression--or, perhaps worse, as addiction and desctructive thrill seeking."
Authentic personal growth, life change, transformation--it simply doesn't happen inside the boundaries of a comfort zone. To live transformationally is to always be stepping beyond the border of the comfortable to where you thought you could not go, to press in to what you thought you could not do. It is to engage with the unknown and the fear of the unknown, to risk real failure--in fact, to pursue it and when it comes, rather than run away, to press into it, in the same way an athlete continually presses into his physical limits, so as to extend the borders of his capacity.
Here's the truth of it: Authentic fulfillment in life never happens in a Comfort Zone; rather, it thrives on the edge of the unknown, beyond the borders of the status quo where it's no longer possible to pretend.