On seasons of comfort and courage.

On seasons of comfort + courage_article tile.png

I hate quote about comfort zones.

Like this...

"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there."

(Eye roll.)

"The best things in life are often waiting for you at the exit ramp of your comfort zone."


"Comfort is the enemy of achievement."




It's super cozy, has all my favourite food, books and Netflix shows, none of the people I find insufferable, and nothing I refuse to confront ever hangs out in there.

(It also, by the way, includes a handsome pastry chef who bakes fresh croissants across the street. Every single day. Just for me and my comfort zone full of tasty carbohydrates.)

Then, one day, I started reading Brené Brown. And in her book, Rising Strong, she says:

“I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

Well, shit.


And, she is annoyingly wise.

I want to be brave with my life.

I want to dare greatly.

I'd like to write a really good book, speak to terrifying large audiences, and meet Michelle Obama.

(Because I just KNOW we'd become fast friends.)

I also want to stay home in my pyjamas, read books, order Dominos and speak only to the delivery people for long stretches of time.

What's a mildly ambitious, frequently lazy, burn-out wary ambivert to do?

I think she (me)—and we (you)—need to zoom in on the part of the Brené's quote that tends to get lost in all the nauseating talk about comfort zones:

"We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can't have both. Not at the same time."

We can have both...but not at the same time.

I think there are seasons of comfort and seasons of courage.

And I do think we need a basic level of comfort to actually support courage.

I know I need some comfort in my life or my nervous system goes bananas.

I can't be brave without some rituals and routines that bring me a sense of stability.

(Like I don't always need to have a net in place when I leap, but it sure helps to have had a massage the day before.)

So, while I loathe talk of comfort zones, I've come to really appreciate talk of the ongoing dance between courage and comfort.

That feels good.

Like I can have my croissants and meet Michelle Obama too.

Just not at the same time.

(Even though I KNOW she'd love to chat over croissants and chai lattes...)

What brings you comfort, makes you comfortable?

When and how does comfort feels good, and when it might be holding you back?

Karen Ward