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November 2009
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December 2010

November 2010

Getting out of your comfort zone

Well, I want to thank everyone reading my blog as it makes me feel good to hear that it has inspired you in some way.  Several of you have noted that it's been over a year since yesterday's blog and it's amazing to me that you're keeping track.  I'm really happy to know if it's made a positive influence in your life.  Now that I know it really makes a difference, I will share more of Kim's thoughts in public rather then keeping them to myself :-) 

Now on to the topic of comfort zones.  We all have them.  Did you know that 90-95% of what we do on a daily basis is automatic and unconscious?  We do things without thinking, out of habit, both internally with our thought patterns as well as externally with our actions.  It serves to make us efficient in life to some extent but we really need to stop sometimes and assess if it really does serve us or if it's actually hindering us. 

Yesterday I went to Pep Boys to buy a new light bulb for my car headlight.  It had gone out and I wanted to see if I could fix it myself.  Well, I didn't initially seek out to replace it myself but this past weekend when I mentioned it to my husband, he alluded to the fact that I could probably figure it out instead of taking it to the mechanic.  What a total interruption of my thought pattern.  Fix it myself?  Was he kidding?  I'm not a mechanic.  I had no idea how to even get to my headlight.  Didn't you need special tools for that?  But then he inspired me.  He said he had gone to Pep Boys to change the bulb for his headlight once and it was doable.  He broke the bulb the first time and had to buy another but with some instruction from someone there, he changed it himself.  Silently I thought, if he could do it I could do it.  Furthermore he reminded me that I was good at fixing things.  When the track ball on his blackberry stopped working, I was the one who took apart his phone, pulled out the fuzzies stuck inside, and put back together the intricate pieces so that it worked even better than before.  

With that encouragement, I searched for instructions online on how to change the bulb and found it.  I brought it with me to Pep Boys along with my wrenches, screwdrivers, and gloves per the instructions. After purchasing my bulb it started to rain.  Was it safe, I wondered, to change it in the rain?  I didn't want to break it the first time as my husband did and didn't want to risk trying it at home.  Not wanting to waste time, I pulled into their service center.  I knew they were going to charge $25 to do it but I wanted to opportunity to learn for myself so I was hoping to be able to pay as they supervised me.  I told the guy my story and how the rain thwarted my efforts.  He offered to change it for free.  I thanked him for the offer but expressed how I wanted to learn how to do it myself.  He told me to pull in the garage and he graciously guided me through the whole process, talking me through it as I changed my own bulb.  It only took me maybe 5-10 minutes but I know it would have taken much longer without his help.  There was an adapter that was not on the internet instructions I printed out that would have thrown me for a loop.  Additionally, he held the flashlight for me while I was doing the work and I wouldn't have been able to do that since both my hands were being used to unlatch things.  When it was all said and done, he said all I needed to do was to go to their website and apply for a job there.  Funny!  Anyway, I was really happy that I was able to learn from it in more ways than one and that a really nice person helped me out.  I am so grateful for that experience. So what did I learn?

Besides the obvious, I learned:

1.  Encouragement from others goes a long way.

2.  Knowing that someone I know was capable of doing something gives me the courage to attempt something myself.  Maybe I'm more competitive than I thought I was but when I see someone doing something I want to be doing I think, If they can do it, I can do it. 

3.  Resources suddenly appear the moment you commit yourself to something.

And 4th, things are never really as difficult as they first seem.  This exercise has challenged me to think about other things in my life that I have assumed would be too difficult for me to figure out.  What I realized is that anything is doable.  Anything is possible if you're willing to step outside your comfort zone and give it a shot.  Everything is a process.  And when you're committed to figuring out that process, resources and people will show up to support you. 

In what way will you challenge your comfort zone today?

Every shot has a purpose


For this Thanksgiving, my husband and I decided to attend Stan Smith's tennis camp at Hilton Head Island.  It seems appropriate after all considering we started at love/love on the courts.  Of course love means nothing in tennis but hey, that's where we started. 

So Stan Smith is an American tennis player who won the US Open in 1971 and Wimbledon in 1972.  He's a tall guy standing at 6'4 with a warm, gentle, but powerful spirit about him.  Throughout the week, he gave us his "Pearls of Wisdom" and I want to share one of my favorite pearls he gave..."every shot has a purpose."

Well, of course right?  Every shot has a purpose.  I've been playing tennis now since I was 12 years old which is about 22 years.  Most of the time when I play- and I play for fun, by the way- I just want to get the  ball back over the net, keep the ball in play, and hit nice ground strokes. But wow, to actually have a strategic purpose for every shot I take.  That would require intentionality and thought. I couldn't just be on automatic pilot like I normally am.  But this is tennis camp.  We were there to have fun and take our game to the next level.  Of course everything in life to me is a life metaphor.  When he said that I thought, this doesn't just apply to tennis. Everything in life has purpose.  Every action or inaction leads to an outcome.  Everything counts.  Every shot has meaning.  Sure I guess my purpose before was to just get exercise and have fun and hit the ball but it's time to take my game to the next level, both tennis and life.

He got me to think about what do I want my tennis game to say about me?  And the funny thing is, it doesn't really take much more time.  It just requires intentionality.  I just need to think about it.  How do I want to set up my shots to win the point?  Do I pay attention to my opponent's weakest and strongest shots?  Do I take advantage of that every time?  I know some strategies to set up a point to win but why am I not doing it?  Because I'm not focused on it.  I don't think about it.  If the weather is great, my body feels good, and my ground strokes are feeling solid, I'm just happy to hit the ball.  I really don't care about winning.  Hmmm, so I guess I did have a purpose of just wanting to enjoy and be in the moment.  And now that I'm aware of this, I do want to take my game up a level and focus on how to win.  It's more challenging and will make it more fun anyway.  Tennis is a thinking game and I love thinking and strategizing so this is fine. It's like a game of chess.

Anyway, you see how my thoughts are just unraveling here and I'm loving the discoveries I make about myself.  So,what did I really learn about through this pearl?

1.  Be intentional with tennis and life.  Ask, why am I doing this?  What is my focus?

2.  If your purpose is to win the point, ask what's keeping you from winning the point?  Not knowing how.  Lacking the skills or strategy you need to figure it out.  Where do you get skills and strategy that you need?  Through a coach, books, or the internet.  The resources are abounding. 

Everything you do or don't do sends a message.  What's the message you're sending out?  Why do you do what you do? Or rather, why are you not doing some things you could be doing?  Chances are you're comfortable where you are.  You are in...THE COMFORT ZONE.  You don't really NEED to be doing more than you're doing.

Well, I challenge you to challenge yourself!  Your community needs you. The world needs you. You could be doing more for others.  You have everything you need to be successful and serve others.  What shot are you taking in this life?  Are you ready to go beyond yourself and start making a greater impact on the lives of others? Are YOU.... READY.... to step.... into.... the bigger game?

I know I am.  Won't you join me!  The stakes are high.  This ride of life is too exciting to pass up!