Are You A Big Fish in a Small Pond, Or Small Fish in a Big Pond?

              If you’re familiar with this blog then you know how important creating the right environment is for personal and professional growth. Finding your balance between stress and comfort is a recipe for success and will push you to new heights without overbearing your mental state. Take a look at your surroundings, the people you have closest to you, or the type of work you are doing. Are these the factors that will push you to help you become the best version of yourself? Are you in over your head a bit? Are you not being challenged enough? These questions will help you find the environment that is best suitable for your growth as a person.

              Growth is like a spectrum. On one end we need stress to push us, get us out of our comfort zone, and help us learn new skills and get over our fears. And on the other end we need comfort and rest. We need to be able to kick off the work boots and reflect on what we did. We need time for reassessment, reevaluations, and self-flections. It’s as if this time is like a timeout in a basketball game. Let’s realign on the goal we need to do and the strategy on how we are going to get it done.

              Our jobs as people of the Earth is to find somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. That is where the most growth happens. Too much to one side of the spectrum and things will start to fall apart. Too much stress? Your mind will not be able to handle it. You may lose sleep, you may want to give up, and you may scare yourself away from realizing your dreams. You may become unhealthy, weak, or even malnutritioned. The idea is not to give yourself too much stress to the point where you start to collapse altogether. But you want to have the right amount of stress that will push you without the devastating downsides of mental failure and physical fatigue. You want the right amount of stress where you are just barely able to succeed. That’s where true growth comes in. How do we control that stress level in our bodies so we don’t overstretch ourselves? That’s where comfort comes into play.

              Comfort is our friend and enemy all wrapped up in one. We need it. But too much is just as bad as not enough. We should use comfort to balance out the stress. Too much comfort and we will become lazy, unmotivated, and we will fall short of our goals and dreams. Like we already stated, the most growth comes with we just barely succeed at something. So when things seem like they are becoming too stressful to handle, that’s where we need comfort to bring us back to normalcy. We need a little rest and relaxation to help us. There’s no shame in taking a timeout to regroup when things get tough. It’s not the same as quitting. Quitting is outright walking away. Taking a timeout is pressing pause for a minute. Reanalyzing what needs to get done. Maybe we need to refuel. Maybe we need a laugh or a smile on our face to remind us what it’s all for. Or maybe it’s just a minute to catch our breath. Whatever we need, take a timeout then get back on the field. These are all outputs of comfort and we need this to get by when times get stressful.

              When the going gets tough, sometimes we need to call a timeout quickly. Over time we will learn our limits and when we need to take our timeouts. We will start to take them at better times and we will start to have better timeouts. You’ll start to find out how hard to push yourself. It can be helpful to have a mentor to help you figure out how hard you can be pushed.

              You may be a big fish in a small pond, or a large fish in a small pond. However, I have a problem with both ponds. Instead of being too small to succeed or too big to fail, why not find our own pond that is right for us. How about we find a medium sized pond for a medium sized fish. Let’s find a pond that has the best of both worlds. Let’s find a pond that has the right amount of challenges and the right amount of comfort. This is how we maximize growth. If you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough, push harder. If you aren’t being kind to your body and mind, then perhaps take some time off. Find somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Too far to one side and things start to get troublesome. Find your balance, and get growing.

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