Kite Lake beckoned us on Thursday morning. We headed north out of FairPlay, Colorado. U.S. Highway 285 towards Breckenridge. Then we turned west out of Alma onto Buckskin Gulch Road.
The first 3 miles was gravel. From Paris Mill to Kite Lake was 3 miles of “unimproved road.” Good thing we’d gotten that Jeep upgrade.
A couple of miles short we stopped. These mountain road ruts were deep. I had no idea how bad this “road” would get. Fear pushed hard against me moving forward. I was out of my comfort zone.
Stopped on the way to your goals (“there”)
Have you ever stopped on your way to where you want to go due to uncertainty? You stopped moving forward or continued some unproductive behavior or habit? You stayed somewhere until it becomes a comfort zone. Alasdair White describes a comfort zone as “…a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.”
To move out of a comfort zone requires both promise and pain.
Promise deals with potential and possibilities, that hope of something better than this. It’s the call to reach your full potential, to make a difference in the world, to expand your personal influence. Once you notice the promise of “there,” your longing for liberation is ignited.
Pain comes from feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or frustrated. It creates a desire for change, “This isn’t working for me.” Often, experienced as underperformance or interpersonal conflict … failure. The anxiety-neutral condition of being “here” is lost. The truth (facts or reality) that you’re living in Stuckville gains your attention. Pain and promise work together to get us moving. But, fear lurks outside the door to hinder your escape and adventure.
Fear brings anxiety and a loss of courage. Fear is that miserable feeling — draining not empowering. Whether the danger is real or anticipated, fear ambushes us whenever we approach the need for a breakthrough.
What I needed to get to Kite Lake
Though the road looked terrible, I could see Kite Lake, and I noticed a vehicle headed our way. “Let’s see who this is. I’ll ask about the road ahead.” I suggested to Rita.
The car bounced over the rutted road and skidded to a stop, close to the edge and drop-off. The young guy was a local.
“So, what’s it like between here and there?” I asked, trying not to appear held up by fear.
“There are some tough spots, but you can make it. Just make sure you figure out the lie before driving into the rough places.”
“How far is it?”
“A couple of miles,” he responded. “You can park just this side of the worst section and walk up to the lake. It’s not that far. You’ll be okay in your Jeep.”
“It’s a rental.”
“Oh, it doesn’t matter then,” he said with a smile and laugh.
With that, I thanked him, and he took off like it was no big deal. We got in the car and cautiously embarked on the last two miles of our first high-clearance dirt/rock Colorado road.
Three partners to take you from “here” to “there”
When promise and pain do their work, it takes three, invisible partners to help us overcome the fear that keeps us stuck.
1. Desire gets us moving as you step into the safety zone. The safety zone appears when you see “the risk” but go for it, in spite of the resistance, the fear.
2. Discipline is that change in thinking leading to new beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. Discipline is the taking action part of a change. It could be what you stop doing as well as what you start doing. Old habits and behaviors replaced with new ones. For example, you may stop telling and start asking open-ended questions. You may start delegating instead of micro-managing. You may ask more and tell less; you may start listening and stop talking so much.
3. Determination turns new behaviors into second nature. You’ll need resolve and support to break through the fear and resistance.
All this places you in the growth zone where desire, discipline, and determination work together. You travel from “here” to “there.” You made it!
For your reflection
We successfully finished the last rutted section of CR 8 and parked. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement of the local
traveler I might have stayed in my comfort zone. Of course, I’d have missed seeing Kite Lake and hiking the trail up Mount Democrat.
A few questions to help you think about your Story…
- Where do you feel pain: frustrated, overwhelmed, stuck?
- Where have you become comfortable in an unproductive way?
- What does “there” look like? What’s the promise?
- What’s the risk, if you go for it? What’s your fear?
- What’s the truth?
- How much do you want it?
- What must change, how must you show up, as a leader?
- What will you stop doing or start doing?
- Who will help you stay on track?
- How will you measure success?
Here’s to your Next Level,
PS: If you want to see the area, here’s a 30-second video of that spacious place.