Chapter 5 of My First book: MY Imperative for Change. For Changing MY Epitaph.
CHAPTER 5: MY Imperative for Change. For Changing MY Epitaph
CAPTAIN COMFORT ZONE
And His OLD Epitaph
“In any given moment, we have TWO options.
To step forward into Growth, or to step back into Safety”
– Abraham Maslow
Here Lies David Arthur Walker: He lived his life in his COMFORT ZONE. NOT! Almost. But NOT!
I am a big movie fan. I have over 1,000 DVD’s in my collection. One of my favourite movie scenes was in the movie Braveheart, when William Wallace, shouted out his motivational message to the troops, “Everybody dies, but not everyone truly lives”. As it turns out, I was not truly living my life. Not during the first half of my life anyways. I was NOT AWARE of that at the time. I am AWARE of that now.
Was it a terrible life? No. Not in the beginning at least. With a few exceptions, it was pretty good. I had the career, and the wife, and the kids, and the colleagues, and the caring family, and the house, and the retirement funds, and all that stuff. I was sitting pretty. I was in a pretty comfortable place. A pretty comfortable space. I had spent a LOT of time building myself a pretty comfortable space, and a pretty comfortable place. In summary, a pretty comfortable zone, MY COMFORT ZONE.
But then one day, MY COMFORT ZONE turned into MY NASTY ZONE and, as I tried to make my way out of it, I soon realized that, it was built pretty solidly. I also realized that while I was in there, I had started to give up on life. I had started to settle for less. I had stopped growing. I had stopped living. I had stopped connecting. I had stopped loving. My love bucket was pretty much running on empty. I had stopped loving everyone, but my two beautiful children. I had stopped loving everyone else, including myself. I had shut them all out. And, as you will read, and see, through the pictures in my book, that did not serve me well. It did not serve me well at all.
I had given up on truly living my life in return for living a life of comfort. I had given up on my hopes, and I had given up on my dreams. I had ended up in my comfort zone a.k.a. MY SETTLING FOR LESS IN LIFE ZONE. And then, when it turned nasty on me and I started to try and claw my way out, I soon realized that I was trapped in there. And by “soon realized”, it took me well over 40 years of my life. Close to 50 years of my life. Wow. In hindsight, I am kind of thankful for the onset of that nasty period in my life. It turned out to be a bit of a wake-up call. A midlife wake up call. Now I know where the term midlife crisis comes from.
MY LIFE was ticking away, and so was my health, both my physical and mental health. And, as with everything in life, we have a choice. MY CHOICE was, to either listen to what I know realize in hindsight was a wake-up call and try to do something about it, or to ignore that call, and hope that things would get better, all on their own.
I decided to make a change as opposed to wait for one. Not a transformation at first, but a change. All I could think of at the time, was the next step. Not the next steps, but a next step. I could not think that far ahead back then. All that I could come up with was just ONE NEXT STEP. And my next step was the decision to quit my job. I had nothing else lined up at the time. I had been with the same employer for almost 15 years. I was part of the furniture. And, although I did not know it at the time, I was clinically depressed. I had slowly become an obese, socially isolated, functioning alcoholic suffering from a mental illness. That was sometime in May 2010. And I JUST DID IT. I went into my bosses’ office to quit. I did not tell my wife. I did not tell anyone. That was almost 7 years ago to the day that I am now writing this new chapter in my life. Today is May 20, 2017. As it turns out, that period was one of the lowest points in my life. I have made an agreement with myself to never let that happen to myself again.
Now, as fate would have it, things did not turn out the way that I had thought they would that day, back in May, in my now ex-bosses’ office, but more on that later. As fate would have it, things have not turned out the way that I thought they would on many occasions, during what has now become MY 7-year journey of life altering self-transformation. I had no idea back then, on that day in May 2010, that I was about to embark on a 7-year journey. I had no idea back then that I would end up where I am now. Transforming was not my intention at the time. At the time, all I wanted to do was to end all the pain and suffering that I was feeling. And I did it.
Not only did I end the pain and suffering but I replaced it with what I can only describe as the polar opposite, living a life of joy, meaning and personal and professional fulfillment. It took a lot of work. It took a lot of courage. In my case, at my pace, it took a lot of time. But I did it. I pulled it off. I changed my epitaph from reading about someone who had led his life in his comfort zone to someone who is doing his best to live everyday to the fullest.
Who knows, maybe I will change it again. The more I change, the more I want to change. It just seems to keep getting better and better these days. And by it getting better, I am referring to MY Life. My life with ME. MY life with MY friends and MY loved ones. And that is a good thing for me, and my friends and my loved ones, because life is short and time passes by, oh so fast.
And there is one decision that we do not get to make in life, and that is that we will eventually die. Like it or not, we are all going to die one day. That is when our epitaph will finally be written. We can’t change it then. It is too late then, but we can change it before then. We don’t have to change it. It is our choice. If you like YOURS, great. Then Don’t change it. I did not like mine, so I chose to change it. In hindsight, am I ever glad that I did. This book is about that journey of change. How I changed my epitaph. How I found the courage to make that change. My journey and my story of self-transformation. I hope that YOU enjoy MY story. I hope that it inspires YOU to write a few new chapters in YOURS!
MY Super Hero Transition. Playing to MY Super Powers.
From “CAPTAIN COMFORT ZONE TO CAPTAIN COURAGEUOS.
O.k. So, I am over fifty and still believe in super heroes. So, sue me. I like super hero’s. I think that deep down inside everyone is born super. Everyone is born with super hero strengths. It just takes them time to find their super powers. It takes them time for a number of reasons. Often, it is because others keep telling them which ones they should choose. Which ones they should develop. Those people often mean well, but often their advice is based on themselves, and their lens, and not on those of the unique super person that they are trying to help learn and grow. Oh, and guess what. Your super hero powers can change over time. Wow. Am I ever grateful for that. Really grateful. Do you know why? Because in hindsight I found out that I was “Captain Comfort Zone” and that strength did not serve me well.
My super power was building Comfort Zones. Building and maintaining them. And I was really good at it. In developing my COMFORT ZONE and staying in it. And keeping others out. Wow! Was I ever good at it. I had developed strategies, and frameworks, and tool kits. I had physically built comfort zones including a multi-year project to build a COMFORT HOME. And to top it off, I developed a COMFORT DREAM. A dream to end all dreams. I was going to retire at 55 years old and have all the money I would ever need and all the time in the world to enjoy it. I called it MY Freedom 55 dream. I was inspired by a Canadian Life Insurance Company who coined the phrase in the hopes of inspiring people to save money for retirement. Well it inspired me to save, but unfortunately for me, it also inspired me to give up on, and settle for less in life, in the meantime. Why make any changes to my life today when all I had to do was wait for everything to work itself out later on? At least I hoped that it would work out later on, it certainly was not working out all that well in the here and now.
But luckily for me, a new super hero was going to appear on the scene, and rescue me. Rescue me from me. It was going to be none other than ME. Yes ME. A new ME. “Captain Courageous”. It took me a while to realize that he had shown up, and wanted to help me, but after a while, I realized that he was there. He was there and he cared for me. He had my back. I later realized that, not only did he care for me, he loved me. And when I realized how self-loving and self-caring he was toward me, we really started to work together. Well, do you know what happened, when that little piece of awareness hit home? Well, Captain Comfort Zone did not stand a chance. Despite how long he had worked on building the Comfort Zone and despite how strong he had made it. He did not stand a chance when Captain Courageous started to develop his self-confidence. It was not even a fair fight. Captain COMFORT ZONE got one hell of an ass kicking. I am hoping that we don’t see much more of him anymore. Good riddance!
You see, in the end, my story of self-transformation is a story of courage. How I summoned the courage to make a very significant life change. How I developed the courage to not only overcome a very dark period in my life, but to keep moving forward and to keep changing until I came to a really cool place. The courage to stay the path, even when that nasty Captain Comfort zone comes back, every now and then. I was hoping that he would go away forever, and never come back, but unfortunately, I now realize that he is still kicking around, waiting for an opportunity to come back and play. But unlike in the past, I am now self-aware of his presence and the nasty things that happen when I listen to him, so here to hoping and more importantly, believing, that I won’t let him.
So, What did I learn?
How did I make change EASYer on myself 😊 (or not ☹)
Choice. In the end, we all have a choice. It certainly does not feel that way at times, but the more I think of it, and the more I try it out, the more I believe it to be true. But, as they like to tell us in coaching, you have to believe. In order to make a change, you have to believe, in yourself and your change. If you don’t believe that you have a choice, it is pretty hard to even get started. And not getting started, is no way to make change EASYer on YOURself. ☹ Oh, and a little courage along the way also comes in handy, after all, it can get scary along the way.
That was all about me. What about YOU?What are you doing to make your journey of change EASYer on YOU? 😊 (or not ☹)
Is your epitaph going to say what you would like it to say?
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