Tomorrow 5th of July marks exactly a year since I accepted a work assignment that saw my family and I leaving our country of birth Zimbabwe and settling in Nairobi Kenya. Initially I thought this would be easy. I told myself I was still with the same organization, I was still in Africa, English was still the official language and we even drive on the same side of the road…so nothing could be difficult about this move so I thought.
I look back and I have to admit how wrong I was. There were a lot of things that I took for granted. Our whole social support structure was always with us back home. When I travelled outside Zimbabwe on business trips, my mother or my sisters would look after our young children. If we needed “us” time with my husband, we would call my nieces or nephews to come look after the children. Our friends were around us and everything was familiar. We were in our comfort zone.
It did not take me long to realize we had “uprooted” ourselves from the familiar. Yes we were still in Africa, yes there was no language barrier and I was still with the same organization but our usual support structure was no longer easily accessible and this took a while to get used to.
A comfort zone is defined as a psychological state where one is at ease, there is familiarity and sense of control of one’s environment. Over the past 12 months, we have learnt to adapt to our new environment as a family. Everything I thought I knew about balancing my roles as a working mother has been challenged and I have had to come up with creative solutions to manage. Allowing yourself to get outside of your comfort zone allows you to grow, requires you to take risks and hopefully reap the benefits. As we are in the second half of the year, challenge yourself, stretch yourself and your faith. Get out of your comfort zone.