“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

~ Neil Donald Walsch

We all need a need a bit of discomfort every now and then to experience true growth. If it’s always easy, then you’re not challenging yourself enough – with work, exercise, even relationships.

When you step outside that comfort zone, new learning and new experiences are possible. It won’t always feel easy or even fun, but what you gain will be worth the effort. So stretch yourself a bit today! #YeahYouCan

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here with a ‘no-makeup, post-yoga video’.  I just finished my first yoga class in a long time, and it really, really hurt. It was an interesting battle between mind and body for me because I used to do yoga a lot in the past, and was very flexible and very bendy, and could get into flow and relax, and my brain would shut off. And today, mind and body were waging war as I tried to get into all these poses, and my body was sending me all these swear words internally. Not fun!

Watch the video below, or read the transcript that follows, and find out what else I learned about comfort zones!

I’m a competitive person, so here I was trying to push myself to places I’d been before, and I just found myself struggling to be at peace in my yoga practice (very counter intuitive.) And then the yoga teacher said something that prompted me to have a reality check if you will. She said: “Push yourself if you can, but if you go into that place of challenge, and it hurts, why would you stay there?” And it really reminded me to listen to my body. She said: “Wherever you are is exactly where you need to be.” Surprise.

We talk about comfort zone, and I’m not suggesting that we stay in our comfort zone with the things that we have around us. Familiarity is not always a good thing. For me, yoga is an absolute necessity in my life right now to get some stretch into my very tight and tired body, so if I stay inside that pain free zone, I’m not going to get results. But it’s not supposed to be terribly uncomfortable.

Getting outside that comfort zone in anything we do is important, but right outside that comfort zone is an area called the stretch zone. So you’re just pushing yourself beyond what you’re capable of. That’s a good place to be. Hang out there, and as I’ve often said in my fitness classes, and I had to say it to myself today, (many times) your body will tell you when it needs more.

With anything you’re trying to stretch outside your comfort zone with – exercise or otherwise – your body, mind, and capabilities will tell you when to take the next step. But, you will not have the capacity to push beyond unless you’ve already experienced that stretch zone.

What you don’t want to do is what I did at the early part of today’s yoga practice; I went into the panic zone. I moved too far out of that stretch zone, too quickly, into a place where my body and mind were going “this is too much, it’s too much, it’s too much…” Everything was talking back.

In the challenges that we take on for ourselves, if we move beyond that stretch zone into a place of “Oh my God this is too big,” we’ll usually get frozen into submission. And that’s not good for enjoyment or progress.

So, there is absolute space outside the comfort zone. I will stand by the fact that everything good happens outside your comfort zone.

Step into that stretch zone, feel that challenge, and try to surrender when you’re pushing yourself too much towards that panic zone. Your mind and body will tell you when you’re capable of that next step, and you do need to stretch a little bit in order to get towards that next step.

So here we go, first practice out of who knows how many, and who knows what other kinds of wisdom will come spilling out of me as I stretch body and mind, but that was came up for me today.

Comfort zone, no. Stretch zone, yes. Panic zone… listen to your body, listen to your mind, back off a bit. Your body and mind will tell you when you’re capable of more.

Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg reminding you that sometimes it’s OK to surrender. This is your life. Yes, dare to live it big (and do it in small steps sometimes).

I need a coffee.

Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc

Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.


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