Personal Challenge to You

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“If you want to accomplish anything, your must get out of your comfort zone,” Dave Kekich writes in Kekich Credo #1, “People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones, but if you want to accomplish anything, your must get out of your comfort zone. You must strive to increase order and discipline in your life.” “Discipline,” Kekich says, “usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing. The roads to discipline are: Setting deadlines; Discovering and doing what you do best and what’s important to you; Focusing on habits by replacing your bad habits and thought patterns, one-by-one, over time, with good habits and thought patterns.”

Today’s theme is Personal Growth. We all have opportunities to improve every day, some small, some big. We can fear these challenges, adding more worry, dread, and stress to our lives, or we can embrace change.

I encourage you to look at obstacles as fun challenges to be conquered like Jeff Schneider showed me to do on the Beaver Creek Tough Mudder course back in 2012. Watching my friend Jeff attack the Vertical Wall and handle the Pirate’s Plank helped me overcome my hesitation and go for it. Neither was as bad as feared, and the joy of each victory was exponentially greater than the apprehension that held me back.

To win, to learn, and to improve requires us to take Kekich’s advice. We must step outside of our comfort zones, learn new skills, drop bad habits, focus our energies, and communicate better with our team and our mentors. Be open to learning, be willing to be humbled, be vulnerable enough to admit where you need help, and you’ll learn, grow, and make your life better.

My mom sacrificed twenty years of her life to single-handedly raise my sister and I. Mom worked all day, cooked and cleaned all night, sewed clothing and did the laundry on weekends, and drove us to all of our games and lessons after school. My father did little to help. Hers was thankless work. During those years my mother had little time for herself or her health.

Today’s she retired. For some folks, retirement literally kills them. They perceive themselves as useless and combined with failing health they choose to retreat into comfort zones and whither away. But not my mom. She’s only become busier and better in the last decade. She searches out healthy recipes online to eat better and she has started exercising every day. She is proof that you can keep improving if you step out of your comfort zone.

At Fitness Business Summit on the weekend, I took advantage of the Personal Growth opportunities to get out of my comfort zone, to initiate more discussions with strangers than I ever had before. It wasn’t easy. I wanted to stay in my room and be an introvert.
Personal growth is almost always uncomfortable, but what makes it so is our perception of the event. In the past I would have turned these challenges from molehills into mountains through anticipation alone. I would have only looked at the negatives, and worried about the worst-case scenarios. But that’s a foolish and immature way to go through life.

Challenges must be viewed as opportunity and adventures in learning. Sure it might be a wild ride ahead if you are a first-time mom-to-be, or a young person striking out on their own to make their fortune, or trying out a tough new workout routine, or an introvert tasked with an extroverted role, but why make it worse on yourself by dreading the challenges? That serves no purpose.
Instead, as Dave Kekich says, get out of your comfort zone. That’s how you learn, grow, and accomplish big things in life.

Life brings challenges. Challenges bring opportunity – and choice. We can choose to take the easy way out, remaining in our comfort zones, staying as we are, or even regressing, or we can rise to the challenge, learning new skills, developing better behaviors and dropping bad habits,

I am fortunate that my business is based on transformation and self-improvement. Each day I am filled with pride and joy as I watch friends, family, ETR team members, TT Trainers, and our Facebook Fans use challenges in their lives to become better versions of themselves. There are many examples posted on our websites and our bulletin board in the office, all of them great reminders that if we are willing to do the work, we can change for the better in all areas of life.

It starts with a decision to do so, and an understanding of the sacrifices ahead. That’s why I say that Success is Simple, Not Easy, But Simple. The path to success has been laid out before us and it’s up to us to do the work to take the difficult steps that the path requires. I encourage you to take up new challenges, to grow, and to get out of your comfort zone.

“Begin at once a program of self-mastery,” writes Sharon LeBelle in The Art of Living, her translation of Epictetus’ writing. “Stick with your purpose. Do not seek external approval. Do not worry about anything outside of your control. The only things you command are your thoughts and actions. We choose our response. Stop aspiring to be anyone other than your own best self: for that does fall within your control.”

The Art of Living has been the most influential book in my life in the last three years. It’s a small book, and if you read just one page each morning it would be a wonderful habit to add to your life. The bottom line is that growth and change are up to us.
“If it is to be,” the old saying goes, “it’s up to me.”

Our life. Our choices. Our challenges. Our decision: Take the easy way out, or grow. I encourage you to put the plans into place to support your growth, to take action, and to do it all with a positive sense of adventure.

“It’s time to stop being vague,” LeBelle writes, “If you wish to be an extraordinary person, if you wish to be wise, then you should explicitly identify the kind of person you aspire to become. If you have a daybook, write down who you’re trying to be, so that you can refer to this self-definition. Precisely describe the demeanor you want to adopt so that you may preserve it when you are by yourself or with other people.”

I think Sharon and Epictetus would agree that getting out of your comfort zone is a worthwhile endeavor.
Never be satisfied with what you know now or are now. Always be improving.

Make this an uncomfortable week filled with Personal Growth as you step outside of your comfort zone in pursuit of your Big Goals and Dreams.

Let me know how it goes.

Stay strong and keep on pushing on,

Craig Ballantyne

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