Are you learning and growing or dying?

Learning begins at the end of your comfort zone.

It has been said that if you’re not learning, you’re not growing, and if you’re not growing you’re dying.

Are you living and growing or dying?I’ve written about Lana Simko before. At age 62 she and her husband were happily retired living in their hometown near their two children and four grandchildren.

And then her husband started receiving phone calls asking him to consider employment on the other side of the world in a culture that is nothing like their own.

She was so certain that would never happen that she would laugh and walk away each time he took a call. And then one day she realized that he was seriously considering this seemingly crazy move.

She loves her man so she agreed to go with him to see this place and although she wasn’t overly impressed in that visit, she trusts him and finally agreed to move there for just three months. (Surely the combination of culture shock and missing their beloved offspring would end this insanity pretty quickly…)

So after some cultural training that scared her much more than it helped, she landed on the other side of the world. The moment she stepped off the plane she immediately broke one of those cultural norms. Clueless about the consequences and fearing the worst, she backed against a wall and burst into tears. Emphasizing how much she wanted to go home.

The next morning she woke up in a hotel and her husband headed to work.  Her plan for the day was to hide under the covers and cry.  Another spouse interrupted that plan by dragging her out of the hotel, taking her around town, and introducing her to others – every single day until she was ready to navigate this new world on her own.

Within three months this formerly shy woman that had happily enjoyed life in her comfort zone was transformed. She began reaching out to strangers, crafting with neighbors, moving throughout the city as if she’d been here forever, giggling like a schoolgirl and reflecting joy to everyone around her.

Yes – she still missed her children and grandchildren so much that it caused tears.

But the transformation in her was so pronounced that that people started to admit that they had been pretty convinced she would not be able to make the adjustment and now they were in awe.

Three years have past since then. Yesterday her neighbors gathered to honor her life, her friendship, and the growth we’ve witnessed. Today the last of her boxes will be packed and within two weeks she will be headed back to her beloved children and grandchildren.

Although she is certain that she will cherish the time with them even more – she is equally as certain that she will never be the same quiet lady that left home.

Her friends on this side of the ocean believe that her light will always shine brighter and that her family will never be the same because of her example. And we can’t wait to hear more transformational stories about the volunteering that she plans to do when she returns home and the lives that she will impact.

Here’s the thing…  YOU don’t have to make an international move to learn and grow.

But YOU do need to make a conscious decision to do things that make you uncomfortable.

And you can’t compare “your things” to anyone else.  What seems terrifying to you, will be easy for someone else.

Do what is hard for YOU:

Life begins at the end of YOUR comfort zone.  YOU decide.  Are YOU living or dying?


President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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