How is cleaning house like learning to ride a bike?

And what do either of those things have to do with success?

success and comfortWell, I’ve been on a mission this week – to clear out the clutter and clean up my space. I’ve said before, I am not a great housekeeper. There are many other things I would prefer to be doing.

I’ve tidied up some of my living spaces – my bedroom, my computer desk, the bathroom – all the horizontal spaces that clutter tends to accumulate. I’ve gone through a box of papers I have been avoiding for probably a year and a half – thrown a whole lot away, and filed some of it. It feels really good!

It’s taking me quite a while. And some of the clutter seems to be migrating, or threatening to resume it’s old home. I just keep working away, a little each day, because it feels so freeing. Like all this stuff has had control of my life, weighing me down, and by getting rid of it I am taking back control.

Even in the middle of cleaning, though, I took a break to help my youngest son ride his bike. He’s seven, and he’s been afraid to ride. Actually, he’s been afraid to fall, so he has been content just to ride on the scooter. When we were visiting my sister, he had some positive peer pressure – his cousin, who is younger than him, was riding his bike, with no training wheels. My youngest spent some time on the youngest cousin’s bike, which had training wheels. And then he did something with my sister, and later my brother-in-law, that he wouldn’t do with me at home: he rode the bigger bike with them holding on to the back. He even got to where he was starting to ride on his own.

Then he fell off the scooter, and scraped up his hip. And the old fear of falling came right back. He didn’t really ride the bike the rest of the trip, and hasn’t touched his own bike here…until last night.

He was playing outside, and then I heard him ringing the bell on the handle bars. Soon he came in and put on his helmet. He said, “I’m going to try riding my bike, but on the grass, so I don’t hurt myself if I fall. Will you watch me, mom?”

Of course! He tried on the grass, and it was a little challenging. Our yard is not very even. So after some encouragement, I suggested he try on the pavement. When he saw how much easier it was on the pavement, he went out to the street. This was stretching his comfort zone quite a ways, though, and he asked for me to hold on and walk with him to keep his balance.

As soon as he was going, I let go, encouraging and cheering all the way. With only a couple of stops, and no falls, he rode all the way to the end of the street and back. And he was so proud of himself!

I was comfortable with my clutter. And then something urged me to start letting it go. My son was comfortable not riding his bike. And then he saw how comfortable his cousin was.

I was afraid that by starting to clean, I would have to keep going forever. My son was afraid of falling.

Each of us is taking baby steps, and each of us is finding success outside our comfort zone. Each of us has experienced the pride of overcoming a challenge.

Where are you hiding inside your comfort zone? Here are some steps to help move you out of your comfort zone and into success:

  • Act in spite of your fear. It’s OK to be afraid. Fear doesn’t have to stop you, though.
  • Take baby steps. Break it down into smaller chunks so it is not overwhelming.
  • Take pride in a job well done! Congratulate yourself, even for the little steps. It’s not always easy to move outside your comfort zone.

Leave a comment and let me know what you are doing to move from comfort to success!