GROWTH BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE by Harp Athwal

In Inspiration by Grace Van Berkum

where-the-magic-happensPulp Fiction.  The Usual Suspects.  Memento.  Great movies near the top of my fav all-time movie list.  My top one though would surprise even my closest friends.  It’s a movie about a TV weatherman who wakes up to the same day, February 2nd, over and over and over again.  He is aware of the repetition but since everyone else seems to be living exactly the same way as they did the day before, so does he.  The Bill Murray flick Groundhog Day makes me laugh at such a ludicrous concept – how could ANYONE live in such a time loop!  Imagine living a life where everything is always the same, with no change, no adventure, no risk.  Just living out life day after day, month after month, year after year in a nice familiar comfortable place.  Oh Hollywood…you come up with the craziest of ideas!  Bravo!!

The common theme of Groundhog Day to my own life drew me to love this movie.  Chiselled good looks that Bill Murray and I share aside, the similarity I’m talking about is knowing my professional life was stuck in a time loop too.  Wake up, go to work, do an admirable job, go home, repeat.  This happened for over 5 years.  I had fallen into THE COMFORT ZONE.  Were my First World Problems of not feeling passionate about by my career path really worth a major life shakeup?  For me…YES THEY WERE.  Here I was ensuring the company’s global systems were operating at their peak potential but who was ensuring I was operating at my peak potential? No one.  And no one else ever will.  That is something only you can do for yourself.

Someone once asked me: “If you could get paid to do something you now do as a hobby, what would it be?”  Easy: renovations.  I’ve been doing renovations since the age of 13 when I was assisting my uncle.  I’ve spent many summers volunteering my time with Habitat for Humanity.  I really enjoy understanding the house as a system.  The true challenge of knowing the answer to this question is doing something useful with that knowledge.  Do you have the courage to leave a job behind to pursue a career driven by passion?  If the answer is yes, then put your fears aside and GO DO IT.  For me, it has been easier said than done, but I am really excited by the choice I made.  The toughest part of switching careers is the fear of making a change.  That first small step was the hardest.  Fear is good though. It shows you undeveloped parts of yourself that you need to cultivate to live a happy life. My fears helped me pave the way to start my own Home Inspection business.

Making a big change like this has not been easy.  Paying living costs while I go back to school is tough.  Listening to people question your decisions is tough.  “Why are you tossing 15 years of seniority as a professional engineer away to try something new?”  “Wow, you are leaving a lot of money to start from scratch?”  “Well if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to your old field right?”.  At first I would get upset by these questions.  Now I ignore them.  I’m not going to sacrifice my dreams because someone else has a problem with it. A big lesson to learn as you follow YOUR DREAM is life isn’t about pleasing everyone.  Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.

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Growth always begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Life begins there too.  Each morning I wake up now with a nervous energy and fear about what my future has in store.  I’ve never felt happier.  I’ve never felt more scared.  I’ve never felt more alive.  I’m going to continue to face my fears with courage and passion.  I’m going to hold true to my vision until it comes to life.  One day I will be helping you in your house transaction as your trusted home inspector.  I’m not going to stop til I achieve my dream.  My dream will come true.  And until that day, I will continue to challenge my comfort zone so I can enjoy this feeling of living!

The only thing that could have made Groundhog Day an even better movie is if they had including this lyric from the great Bob Marley in their soundtrack.  The answer will set you free: “Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?”

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Harp Athwal was born near Toronto, Ontario, one month after his parents arrived from India.  His parents were a successful lawyer and teacher in India but left their own comfort zone to come to Canada so that Harp and his sisters could enjoy ‘The Canadian Dream’.  His parents sacrificed their careers and worked in factories for 25 years.  These efforts motivate Harp to succeed.  They also inspire him to try new things and visit new places, which include going to Nicaragua recently to try yoga at the Gracious Living Yoga Adventure Retreat.  Harp is currently completing his designation as a Registered Home Inspector in preparation of launching his own Home Inspection company.

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~Gracious Living Lifestyle  XO