Being in Your Element Is Not the same as being in Your comfort Zone.

On my morning runs I would usually encounter the local wildlife. Florida has a lot of them. I am particularly fascinated by alligators. You are never sure that a gator is not present in any body of water in South Florida. A terrifying thought for sure. But today, on my morning run, I saw my local gator walking quite slowly on the sidewalk. He is not a big fella, but it was enough reason for me to cross to the other side of the road, and at the sight of me coming with my illuminated vest in his direction, it was enough to scare him back toward the water. Dude was out of his element.

“When people are in their Element, they connect with something fundamental to their sense of identity, purpose, and well-being.”

Ken Robinson

I considered this as I was finishing my run. In our element, we are never threatened by anything. We are curious, we are bold, we are ambitious, we love everything we do, we are passionate, driven to seeing things with new eyes and everything seems to have a purpose. We are so productive, and we excel at everything we touch. Yet this is not the same as being in our comfort zone. One is a natural environment that allows us to be the best we can be, where all our faculties are being utilized and growing; while the latter is a state of being; a state of contentment that neither challenges us nor motivates us.

Eagles Do not Compare Themselves to Gazelles.

Does a dog aspire to fly like an eagle in the clear blue sky? Or does a fish desire to run like a gazelle on the plains? I sincerely doubt it. For both, it is probably a matter of life or death. They are the best at what they do, and in their element, there is no comparison. They do not share that desire for it does not suit them. We keep comparing ourselves to others and wonder why we are not capable of doing as great as they are? I have friends who would often say, “Nigel, I wish I could write as effortlessly as you do.” (I do not write effortlessly by the way), Yet I look at them and wish I could paint or run as easily as they do.

You watch a master at work, and it seems effortless. Whether it be sports; writing; an artist creating a masterpiece; a musician at practice, or a programmer writing code, and everything just seems to flow. We sometimes forget that it took them years of diligence and commitment to get to that point in their development. That space where they are inspired and motivated daily by ‘being who they are’… its not a comfort zone; they are in their element.

Are You Living in Your Element Daily?

Sometimes we get to a point in our journey where we are discontented because we no longer seem to be growing, and this frustration can become a source of daily discomfort. Take a step back and evaluate the things you are great at. Find the things that inspire you, energizes you, and propel you to be better, to be the best version of yourself. Maybe you have been stuck in your comfort zone for a while, and finally coming to the realization, that you have been functioning outside of your element.

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June 2021
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