I’m struggling right now.

It happens in life, right? I mean, that’s basically what life is — a series of struggles.

You overcome one struggle. Then, you do well for a while thanks in part to the skills and strengths that you gained during that difficult experience. Then another challenge comes along that is beyond your current skills, so you struggle again.

This one I’m in right now is pretty bad. But then, I probably said that about all the previous struggles in my life too… so I can’t be sure if it’s truly difficult or it’s just “recency bias.”

As well as the difficult life situations, I’m also loading my life up with new and challenging performance projects…

  • I’m doing more stand-up comedy.
  • I’m developing a clown street show.
  • I’ve got a huge intensive clown workshop coming up.
  • And a few other projects for good measure… because I’m a masochist, apparently.

All of which I’m quite nervous about. And they’re definitely beyond my comfort zone.

I’ve used a couple of words so far… “challenge” and “comfort zone.” These can often be examples of “bullshit words” so let’s break them apart:

If you move in the self-development circles (which I do, as a professional speaker) you hear the terms challenge and comfort zone thrown around a lot. People love to say them. They get a little hit of ego every time they say the words.

“If things aren’t a challenge, they won’t grow your comfort zone.”
“When things are challenging, that’s a sign you’re growing.”
“If you’re not extending your comfort zone, you’re stagnating.”

Which, sure, makes sense.

But let’s be honest here — extending your comfort zone is shit.

Sure, it makes you a better person. Sure, I have become a much better speaker, performer, clown, comedian, and human being every time I grow my comfort zone…

But it’s fucking shit.

And when you are in the midst of a shit time in your life, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting better. It feels like your whole world is crumbling around you.

I guess self-development nuts (which by the way, I am) don’t want to dissuade others from trying to improve themselves by describing how shit it is when you’re “in the pit.”

But I think that it’s worth talking about that shitness.

If nothing else, talking about the shitness can make it all feel…

… well, a little bit less shit.

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