Discomfort zone….sometimes it’s just the little things

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By Laura Barnett

The other morning as I was headed out of the gate I noticed that I had a somewhat flat tyre! Being the diligent road user that I am I stopped into the petrol station to pump it up.

As I pulled in and headed towards the air pressure unit, the pump was already in use and from behind the fender of a beautiful shiny mini a blonde head popped up. A more mature lady waved and gestured at me with a smile and gave me a nod as if to say she wouldn’t be long – you know that kind of mouth the words language that can only be used when one person is in a vehicle (see Michael McIntyre sketch!)

I acknowledged back with a smile and a diver’s ok hand gesture, and then realised I might not have the right change. I opened the door and stepped out. As I approached to check if five pence pieces were still legitimate tender in such machinery, the lady looked up gave a slightly embarrassed laugh and apologised saying “Sorry never done this before, its all a bit new to me. It’s a bit of a faff isn’t it?” Amused I agreed and said it was a good day to push your comfort zone.

I reflected on this and in fact shared the encounter with a few people as it occurred to me that for this lady, while she indeed seemed proud, confident and had clearly experienced life for several decades, she quite probably had an anxious moment or two on her drive to the garage knowing she had to do something for the very first time, without any help or guidance.

Now for some, the act of adding air to your tyres is possibly a very mundane, regular and easy task – but I do remember the first time I had to do it on my own aged 18, if I recall I had my dad with me who showed me one, then let me get on with the other three – yet to this day I still get a little paranoid that the tyre might explode in my face if I get it wrong!!

This got me to thinking that everyone’s discomfort zone is different and occasionally it can be an exciting, self-rewarding experience to complete a new task or experience a new environment – as in the case of this lady – or on the flip-side it can actually cause fear and worry to such an extent in the build-up that the task ultimately never gets completed and the self-deprecation comes into force.

So, the next time you see someone else nervous about a task that would be water off a ducks back to you, maybe take a step back or give them some positive encouragement or lend a hand. Your day and theirs could be all the better for it.

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