Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Growth happens outside your comfort zone

Growth happens outside your comfort zone

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “Do one thing every day that scares you”.  In this age of super human heroes in movies, fearless warriors in computer games along with the facade and bravado that people often display in every day life to show that they are fit and strong enough to compete for the greatest successes in their personal and professional lives, the idea of doing something that scares me is overwhelming.  It feels like I have to be this perfect ideal.  That shows no fear and never makes mistakes.  It feels like I have to up the ante each time.

Who can compete with that?  I certainly can’t!

Comfort Zone

The idea of doing things daily that seem to require super human heroism on my part often means that I don’t do anything.  Over time this has a negative impact on my self- worth and self- esteem.  Then someone introduced me to the idea of stepping out of my comfort zone just enough so that it was a challenge.  And importantly, not so much that it felt like over whelm.  I began to use Mrs Roosevelt’s saying in a way that enhanced my life.

Public Speaking- a common speak out of your comfort zone

Let me share, if you will, a personal example with you.  I have always had a strong aversion to public speaking.  What is interesting in that for years I have felt that I should do it.  I have written lectures TED style, courses to be delivered to classes over 6- 12 weeks and video scripts.  I’ve never been able to deliver.

On a recent CPD course it occurred to me that perhaps I was setting my sights too high in the first instance.  Perhaps the talks on video and in front of classes would come.  Even a TED talk.  For now though I felt like I needed to take a small step to prove to myself that it was possible.  So I did.  Although there was a sense of fear and anxiety there was also a sense of feeling alive.  It felt on the edge, challenged and at the same time manageable.  The feeling of success was elation and then what followed was a calmness and serenity that had eluded me for years.

I had avoided the stress of public speaking and other such things that made me feel anxious.  It was always accompanied by this gnawing feeling that I should be doing something more.  Now I had taken that step, mustered the courage.  It felt great to have taken myself to the edge of my comfort zone and survived.  A little melodramatic granted but that is how it felt.

Yin and Yang, pressure and serenity

In Taoism, the Chinese speak of Yin and Yang.  These are the polar opposites of right and left, up and down, masculine and feminine, light and dark.  Taoists and ancient Chinese understood that these concepts work in balance and in cycles.  In fact, there cannot be one without the other.  Just as darkness gives way to light, so challenge and the accompanying pressure to perform give way to a sense of calmness and serenity.  This is exactly what I felt.  It is strange to me to think that in order to feel serene I have to earn it in a way by stepping out of my comfort zone.  It is by this law of nature, as the Taoists would say, that things move forward and grow.  Humans are no different.  We are still subject to this natural and universal law.

“Do something every day that scares you”

Then, the serenity gives way to the gnawing feeling again and I know that I must move on and challenge myself again.  As Eleanor Roosevelt reminded us, this cycle lasts about a day.  It stops us becoming complacent, stagnant and bored and encourages us to be ever vigilant and searching, moving forward and engaged with the act of living and growing, in pursuit of achieving our full potential.

Pass it on

Did you find this article useful and interesting?  If so, why not pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word?  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

Different Perspectives

Sometimes seeing a situation from a different perspective can be really freeing

Sometimes seeing a situation from a different perspective can be really freeing

Learning comes from many sources.  It is the key to finding new perspectives to situations.  This in turn leads to self -growth.

Recently I was preparing for a presentation and getting increasingly stressed and anxious about the event.  The effect on my body felt like an inward and downward spiral, compounding the effects.  Then I remembered a TED talk by Kelly McGonigal.  She speaks about viewing stress differently.   How the stress response is actually preparing your body to perform better.  It’s reaching out for help and support, so that you can be the best you can be.  Instantly I felt the sensation of overwhelm fall away.  There was still stress, the pressure of performing.  Now it was without the overwhelming feeling of this inward and downward spiral.  I felt freer to prepare and perform.

Is it the “Situation” or the “Problem”?

Sometimes seeing a situation from different perspectives can be really freeing.  The facts have not changed, your view of them has.  I am often reminded that there is learning everywhere, if only I am receptive to it.  Very often, there will be a situation in my life and I will see it as a problem.  I may even focus on the symptoms and think they are the problem.  With each step, I am getting further away from the core of the learning that is available.  The word “situation” is neutral, less emotional and easier to handle.  “Problem” begins to apportion blame.  Focusing on “symptom” simply creates a smoke screen of denial and confusion.

What is the learning?

There are reasons I have arrived at this situation, qualities that I bring that have led to this outcome.  I may love the situation I am in and the outcomes- that is great.  I have mastered the creation of that particular situation- there is no learning here, just the experience of the connections I have created.  Immersing myself in this is important, for it powers this moment and builds the energy of my life.

If I do not like the situation or think it could be better, what can I do to improve it?  How can I view it differently to see more of the benefits?  What can I learn about myself, others and what it takes to build events in my life?  Blame and smoke screens, “problem” and “symptom”, separate me from myself and the moment, leaving me to feel diminished and disempowered.

Practice seeing a different view

May I suggest an alternative?  Pick a situation.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  Play around at viewing it from different stand- points.  How might other people there see it?  What would people who were not there say about it?  What new skills could you learn that might make for a better outcome?

There is no blame here, simply learning.  By looking at it this way you are connecting with yourself and the learning available in that moment, being honest and establishing your next possible area of growth and development.  This way of thinking means you are taking responsibility for your life and the outcomes of your actions.  It is a self empowering process that keeps you real and watchful.

People feel this honouring of responsibility.  They may not agree, but they will recognise your authenticity.  This will show in a myriad of subtle ways, building bridges of connection between you and your family, friends and colleagues.

Taking your place in the world starts from within.

Your turn………

I’d love to hear from you.  Please share your stories of life’s situations and how you turned them into opportunities for growth and learning in the comments section at the bottom of the page.  Many thanks for reading the blog and contributing to making this an empowering, supportive and learning environment.

And why not………..

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.