Comfort. What does that word make you think of? Snuggling down under a cozy blanket in front of a fire? Chicken Soup? An awesome pair of shoes? Your favorite jeans?
We all have some perspective of comfort. How about the “comfort zone”? What is your comfort zone? Do you step outside of it or stay comfortably and securely within that boundary?
A few questions for you:
What is the worst thing that could happen if you step outside of your comfort zone?
What is the best thing that could happen if you step outside of your comfort zone?
Who in your life is a good support for you when you choose to stretch outside your comfort zone?
Our comfort zones are created by the subconscious mind to keep us safe. It can be scary and uncomfortable to stretch and take a step outside of those walls. However, staying in the “safe zone” can also limit us. You want to grow and thrive in your business, your love life, your family, your health? Taking steps beyond the comfort zone is critical! It is something we all must do at some point or another, and often we find that it’s safer than we could see from safe side of that boundary.
That new higher paying job requires you to submit the resume or application and be interviewed. Living with those you love means addressing bad behaviour and hurt feelings, as well as recognizing accomplishments and praising the awesome things they do. Both of these can be uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. Growing a business means picking up the phone and making those calls you need to make, writing and putting it out there for the world to see, showing up to your clients and customers, spending money when it seems like there’s nothing to spend. Allowing others to do some of the things you would normally do so you have time to care for yourself is crucial to health.
What happens if you step outside your comfort zone and get slapped in the face?! Do you view it as “I’m not doing that again!” or do you “Well that sucked. Maybe this ____ will have better results next time.” Whether you use that experience to cringe and hide in fear or take the lesson, make some tweaks and try again determines how successful you’ll be later down the road.
Realize this: It’s OK to be startled. It’s OK to feel frightened about stepping out again. It’s OK to take your time stepping out again, or taking smaller steps. The key is to do it again. Give it another shot! Maybe you stepped out the first time without enough information. Well, now you have that information and can integrate it. The key to growing and thriving is to get out there and make some noise in your own life. Stretch beyond those boundaries of comfort, your zone will grow with you!
A little story:
At the young age of 24, about 5 months pregnant with my daughter, I signed on to sell Pampered Chef® products. I LOVED the products (still do, especially the stoneware!) and wanted to get my own kitchen outfitted at a lower cost. There was little commitment (something like 6 shows) to meet my end of the agreement.
Well, as I sat there with this lovely group of ladies at their January 2003 kick off bash, I signed on the dotted line and paid for my starter kit – with my heart in my throat and a knot in my belly. “How am I going to do this? I don’t stand in front of people and talk! I have no idea how to demonstrate these products! Can I really do this?” All these and more flowed through my mind and body. I was scared. Had I allowed fear to reign, I would never have signed the papers and become a consultant.
My first show was small, 3 or 4 guests in attendance. The hostess was also in direct sales, a basket company, and she had a team. I don’t know if they could even hear me during most the demonstration! I kept my head down, my knees knocking, heart pounding talking more to the tools than the people. I had no idea what on earth I was doing, even though I had practiced the recipe. I mumbled. I stumbled over my words. I “um”ed a lot. Certainly I was beet-faced with embarrassment, I felt so anyway. In the end, I was so glad to head home! Blessedly, the ladies were kind and everyone ordered. If they thought ill of me they didn’t show it.
Had they been different, I don’t know how I would have continued, or if I would have. At that point in my life I was largely driven, actually limited, by fear. I was blessed with a great team to be part of, an awesome director who saw far more in me than I could see.
Fast-forward to today. Had I not taken that step out of my comfort zone then, chances are I wouldn’t be where I am today. Had I allowed the nay-sayers and other-than-kind people’s discouragement override the encouragement received from my team and loved ones, I would have never done many of the things I have done, I wouldn’t have learned and grown.
You can do this too! If you are surrounded by nay-sayers and unkind, other than supportive people, change your people! Get into groups that can help support and guide you on your journey. Find those people who see you thriving and being happy – and are happy for you. You deserve this, you deserve to have people around you who will lift you up, who will fan the embers of that passion you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone to pursue. These are the people that will help you find the lesson in those slap-you-in-the-face experiences, they’ll hold your hand while you cry when something awful happened – and they’ll tell you “You got this, try again.”
Step out of your comfort zone. Big steps, baby steps, toe steps, every one will change your life.
The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly – Corra Harris 1869-1935, Writer and Journalist