Work yourself out of your comfort zone.

Yes, this August break was not the usual kind of holiday I have had in the past 10 years. My family and I normally travel to the seaside either in Italy or Croatia. But 2020 was different. Different because we choose to get out of our comfort zone together. Growing up in a smaller city like Benin city, southern Nigeria with about 1 million people, and then spending my teenage and early adult years in a large city like Lagos with over 18 million people, living in Vienna was kind of inbetween. Not super small but also not a real big city that I was used to. 

Vienna is my comfort zone

Vienna is located in Austria and has about 2 million people from all diverse cultures. I love the city which grew to offer me a comfort zone. However, 17 years in Vienna began to seem extremely long for me. I lived in the outer districts closer to the Danube river and the green woods because my husband wanted easy access to nature. At first, nature, quietness and such suburb stuff were nothing I really cared much about, until the kids came. As a small family, you just need to get out as often as possible otherwise, the apartment could get really tight. Our kids grew faster than we could watch. We knew that we wanted more space to experiment. So we moved to a larger apartment in Vienna about 4 years ago but now even further to the outskirts. 

Throughout my entire entrepreneurship journey, home office was my preference. The flexibility of chores, catering and work was a mix I loved so much, as finding the discipline to tick off my to-dos was never my challenge. Soon I realised that the more I transformed my work into creating digital content for my platforms, the more quiet and space I needed. But here is the problem. Vienna, the apartment and life was all so comfortable. I labelled myself to love the big city life, even when Vienna had no big city life. Vienna is a cosy, cultural and beautiful city. 

Is fear holding you comfortably in your comfort zone?

Again, it was not like in Lagos, where your friends just passed by or were close by and called in or stopped over spontaneously for a drink and gist. Everyone had to call and arrange a meeting in advance, often way too long in advance, just to meet. So the thought of why not move to a larger, more quiet space began to become a real thing. There was nothing to lose, just to gain. 

The Lagos vibe and energy I crave for can only be found in Lagos. So what was holding me back in Vienna. Nothing really, just fear! 

The fear of changing everything. New school/s for the kids. Learning new routes with the train. Meeting new neighbours. embracing new mentality. Maybe my husband would need a new job. I would be extremely lonely. Maybe, maybe, what if, what if… that was it. I kept finding more excuses because the zone I was in at that moment was way too comfy. Are you in your comfort zone but know that you need to grow. You feel it in your bones that it is time to move to the next level? That was me. 

Use the power of visualisation to get out of your comfort zone.

I apply the power of visualisation as often as I can. This time, it was to psych myself of my big-city-life-label that was the goal, because there was no big city life happening.  I started to visualise moving into a more spacious home with more quiet, in the countryside probably. What would it be like? What would I want? What would my family need? I began to put the pieces together in my imagination. Every peaceful time I could steal out of my day, I would collect my random thoughts together like I was crafting a specific sculpture that I had already known what the end result was. As I collected my thoughts, I would wear them clear imaginations of what I wanted it to be. Yes, a red wall. Yes rooms with high ceilings. Yes, an old oven. Yes, a large garden. Yes, a large studio for my work. These I imagined into sight, visible only to my mind’s eye. That was an intentional visualization technique I created for myself. 

Where focus goes, energy and action follows. 

All of a sudden, the thought to move out of Vienna to the countryside did not seem so wired anymore. All my excuses became almost invalid. The kids would change school anyway in the next term. My true friends would call to save a date in advance as usual. I don’t really know my neighbours either here in Vienna like I should. What if my husband would not have to change jobs? What if the loneliness I feared would be an opportunity to finally experience deep quietness within myself? As My what ifs and maybes changed from red-light to possibilities, I brought in the energy I needed to make the first move. We began to look for a new space. Less than 4 months later, we found just the right fit. 

Peel off the labels to experience life to its fullest.

No, my husband did not have to change work as there was even a better train connection. Yes, it is not loneliness I feared, it is the quietness to hear my own breath aloud, my own thoughts evolve, the peace of mind. And in the one month in the countryside, I have had way too much action than in the last months year in the “big city”. So it’s not always about where you are but the life you live. I am still in love with the cities, but also in love with the suburbs. Why can’t I love both just as much? Maybe what I love the most is the opportunity to experience it both. Peel off the labels. Because when you do, you give yourself permission to enjoy life to its fullest. 

It took about 3 months of hectic, stress and challenges as we packed, moved and settled. It is the challenge that comes with stepping out of the comfort zone so that progress can happen. So if there is something you know it is time to do, do it now for today is what you have. Tomorrow is not a guarantee. Yes, there might be challenges. It might be stressful but the reward is worth it. 

I look forward to sharing more of my life lessons as I grow through my journey of mumrepreneurship. Hope you liked this piece. If you did, remember to share this blog on your facebook profile and share your own thoughts as comments. I will be excited to respond. For my free business training videos on entrepreneurship, social impact and more, visit my YouTube channel. Not to miss out on a new blog post, products alert and videos,  subscribe and turn on the notification on Youtube. 

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Look forward to hearing from you soon!



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I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

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