Coach Hazzard's Blog
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
It was 8AM on a grey Spring morning and I am gearing up to go on my first hiking trip with Outsiders. The forecast called for upper 50’s with an afternoon drizzle so I knew I needed to pack at the very least a rain proof jacket. I am a notorious over packer and this was no exception. Plus I had no idea what I was actually getting myself into.
Here I am, someone that really doesn’t like to hike, slightly overweight and with minimal coordination, I am asking myself, “Why in the hell did I think this was a good idea?” Alas, I committed, and I was going.
I am a New Yorker, I can walk for hours with zero complaints. I know hiking is just walking in nature but for some reason I get weary about it. All of the “What if’s…” come into play. “What if I fall?” “What if I cant keep up?” “What if I hurt myself?” You get the point. All of these thoughts are common and real fears. No one wants to hurt themselves or be left behind or slow down the group because they are riding the struggle bus up a hill. I am also not a fan of inclines. Flat surfaces all day baby! Hills are just meant to torture anyone that decides to be foolish enough to climb them.
As we arrival to the trail and hop out of the vans, you can immediately spot the go getters and hardcore hikers with their walking sticks and here I am wearing yellow and orange to make sure I can be spotted in case I need to be medevac out of there. As the group separated into two groups, my tensions started to ease up a little bit. At least I am with a group, I thought. I wont be left behind alone worst case scenario. I spotted the fittest looking guy in our group and thought, he could totally pick me up and carry me if I need him too. I was rationalizing my fears and coming up with a game plan just in case.
Moments later up the trail we went. At some points of what was told to me as a beginner/intermediate level hike, all of my fears were coming true. I was at the back of the group, riding the struggle bus, breathing heavily and doubting if I was going to make it. The trail guide that was leading up the rear promised me that we are in this together. “No one left behind!” – We joked. Knowing that I have the guy who can pick my semi flabby butt up and fling me over their shoulders was right behind me, giving me words of encouragement was everything I needed to make it up this godforsaken mountain. (It was a hill but might as well been Mount Everest.)
As the trail flattened out and I was able to catch my breath, dare I even say, get to the middle of the group with my city stride, I started talking with the other Outsiders. Listening to what everyone does for a living, where they live, what they did Friday night, how the prepped for the trip and if anyone was anxious about hiking as much as I was. Yes, in fact, others were just like me and had all the “what ifs..” too! I felt validated. My weird phobias about hiking in wilderness are so weird after all.
We were all getting out of our comfort zones and trying something new. Its easy to go to brunch on a Saturday afternoon and drink your fair share of mimosas. It’s a completely different thing to commit to something that is not within the five boroughs and consciously knowing you are going be to challenging yourself. I know the more you get out of your comfort zone, the more you are growing and evolving. I also know that by stepping out of the comfort zone, surprise, you are uncomfortable. That is where many people fail in life by not getting out and trying new things because they know its not going to feel amazing. Especially at first. The likelihood of anyone being perfect at something their first go around is slim to none. No one likes to fail or not be good at something. Something I learned a long time ago is that failure is only feedback.
Another way of looking at it is, failure is just a learning opportunity.
The point is to actually try. Go out there and be like Nike and just do it! Get out of your comfort zone. Grow and evolve knowing that its going to be uncomfortable. Fumble around a little bit. Laugh at yourself and try not to take it too seriously.
On my second outing, a lot of my fears subsided, and I felt more at ease. That’s the thing about the CZ, as you grow, so does it! Now go out there and be uncomfortable!
Article featured in Insiders with Outsiders
"Stop Chasing Butterflies"
We live in a microwave society. What does that actually mean? Humans have developed what has been called a “microwave mentality.” We like quick service, instant food, and fast results. Let me ask you this, what tastes better, the lasagna you tossed into the microwave for 3 minutes or the one grandma spent all day making? If you answered the microwave version, no need to continue reading this because it will not align. If you answered, good ole’ grandma’s cooking, please continue reading.
We want things really quickly these days. Give me a pill to make me happy. Give me a pill to make me sleep. Give me some Ozempic to make me skinny. People doing the actual work or putting forth the effort is becoming less and less common. We have never had more modern-day conveniences like dishwashers, laundry machines, ChatGPT to write things for us, automatic drip systems, fast food…you get the point. We want things quick with minimal effort. Perhaps that’s why divorce rates are so high. Any relationship, even the relationship with yourself requires…I repeat, requires, time, effort and energy.
We don’t get fat overnight. It’s not like we eat at McDonald’s once and become obese. Weight gain is something that happens over time. Weight loss is the same thing. A farmer doesn’t plant seeds and overnight, it produces fruit. Hence the expression, “Fruits of your labor.”
Life is about putting in the work, effort, labor, and time. Everything that is worth the squeeze in life requires these things. It’s fine to shortcut some aspects of your life. Anyone that was just given something rarely appreciates or experiences gratitude for it. Compared to someone that puts the time and effort into something has immense sense of accomplishment and joy.
The microwave mentality deprives you of these wonderful emotions. Besides most things in the microwave society having a multitude of side effects, all you are doing is avoiding the root cause of why you are seeking the quick fix. You can’t sleep, you take pills to go to sleep and can’t sleep without them. Compared to actually taking a look at yourself, your habits, what is going on psychologically and finding what is keeping you up at night. You are anxious/depressed, and you can’t live without your Xanax. Again, compared to doing the work of what is the root cause of the anxiety, addressing it and coming up with better coping mechanisms vs popping a pill that just numbs you to all emotions.
Who said that doing the work was a bad thing? I am the first person to say that its uncomfortable because guess what….You have to get out of your comfort zone. Oh NO! Worst thing ever! Get over it! Do you know another language? Do you know how to swim? Ride a bike? Guess what? You totally fell down those first few times on the bike. You probably drowned a little bit while learning to swim. You definitely fucked up the pronunciation of a few words while learning that second language. Did you die? No. Did you learn something new and perhaps something new about yourself? Yes! Again, that’s life. It’s the juice worth squeezing. Getting out of your head and out of your own way and doing the work, that’s when your life force will thrive and isn’t that the goal?
Stop looking for the quick fixes and start doing the work. If you tend your garden of life daily, you will no longer need to chase the butterflies because the butterflies will come to your garden.