Going outside of your comfort zone!

Going outside your comfort zone!

So many times each day I have to make the decision, “Do I stay inside my comfy and cozy comfort zone?” This can apply to many situations in my life: Physical Therapy, coaching, or even what to make for dinner each night. We all have areas of strength or things that we can do with very little uncertainty. The other end of the spectrum comes when we ask ourselves, “Do I inch, step, crawl, or JUMP outside my comfort zone and go for it?” Do we want to be timid or daring, fearful or fearless? Should I choose to grow in this moment or stay unchanged and unchallenged?

The situations are always different, but they always present themselves. So many times in my life I have chosen the comfortable. Not necessarily because I am lazy, but sometimes I just don’t want the extra challenge or responsibility. I also do not like to make mistakes…sometimes you do things to the very best of your abilities and still end up with a failed outcome.

You know when the image in your head or TV looks nothing like the finished project or result. The pain of knowing it could be and should be better but no matter how much time and effort was put in, the result is less than the ideal.

Now why am I writing this? It seems that sometimes I learn more from my boys than they learn from me. I was speaking to my two sons earlier this summer and they asked if they could give away their swing set. I was astonished because they used to play on it for hours. Then they reminded me that the USED to play on that swing set over a year ago and now they really needed more space to play wiffle ball. I panicked because in that moment I realized how much they were growing before my very eyes. They were no longer little kids but getting ready for high school and out growing their “little kid” toys.

It was in this moment of panic that I made my first mistake, I over reacted and went into the typical Ed Ramsey hypermode. Usually when I have too much to do and too little time to get it done, I ignore sleeping and try to accomplish the task with 100% of my energy (which is after all the usual Ramsey Rehab and family stuff is done, so we’re talking about 9:30pm-2am).

So hypermode Ed made another mistake and failed to discuss the next big project with my wonderful wife Julianne Ramsey. I went ahead and plowed head first into a project that my wife and boys had asked me to do for over two years, but I had previously refused to attempt (out of fear of leaving my comfort zone). What was this big project that had me fearful for over two years? Long story short they really wanted a tree house. Not just any tree house but one that was amazing. They wanted it with no support posts but was entirely in the trees and was spread throughout multiple trees. You see, they are tree house experts as a result of watching tree house masters (TV show) for many years…they had even made me colorful drawings of what it would look like.

Having minimal carpentry skills and no depth perception, I cowered at the prospect of taking this project on. I stayed well within my box and did not venture anywhere near this project. This was until I realized that if I delayed the project any longer, they would never be able to use it. I realized that waiting and avoiding the project wasn’t going to increase my skills or make me better at creating a tree house, I just had to do it.

So, that fateful night I marched my boys to a spot that I had picked out and told them that I was going to build them a tree house. In my head I had already received permission from Julianne because she had mentioned it maybe 6 times over the past two years. I began the project that night and bought the first of many loads of wood.

I spent maybe 80 hours on various designs and even created a lego model of how it would be a floating design. I was careful to design it so that we wouldn’t be hurting the trees and so that it would move with the swaying and adapt to tree growth. I knew that I didn’t have all of the answers but I was determined that I would not let anything stop me this time. I called a lot of knowledgeable people, watched numerous Youtube videos, and continued pursuing this project every night.

I put up some halogen lights and ran a generator, I used tools that I thought would get the job done. Hypermode Ed was not listening to the voice inside my head that told me to slow down, scale back, that it was okay if I didn’t finish. I kept plowing on with the project and slowly the tree house decking was done, then the sides, walls, roof and the boys were so proud.

At this point I realized that I hadn’t spoken with Julianne about the scope of this tree house, or the budged that was already exceeded in the second week. She was happy that I was working on it but concerned for many reasons (late mornings and cost). She had no concerns about whether or not I could accomplish this project, she definitely had more confidence in my than I did.

It’s been a whole summer and the tree house is almost done. I figure that maybe with another 20 hours to trim and put up another support post (yes-I ended up using support posts) it will be complete. The boys have already had one successful sleepover!

In hindsight I have learned that in life many things can be done if you take the time and are willing to learn. This is where my boys have a comment they learned in school that really hit home for me, “Mistakes are just a sign that you are trying,” so it’s okay to make mistakes along the way. I have successfully expanded my comfort zone and also put a driveway in this summer (another project that I had delayed out of fear that I didn’t know enough).

What limits do you put on yourself? How small is your box and what can be done today, tomorrow, or this year that will expand and grow your comfort zone?  Maybe you’ve always wanted to run a 5K, cycle 10 miles, learn to cook, write a short story, or even build a tree house. All I know is that if you stay in your box, you will not achieve the things that you want to do the most. Since we only live this life once, if we don’t do it now, when will we do it?

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