Get Out… And Stay Out!

Comfort Zone Diagram

I’m sure you’re looking at the image above and thinking, “Here we go again…” Now whilst there is a lot of truth in the belief that getting out of your comfort zone will generate all manner of wonderful things, I want to explore a different aspect of this…

What happens whens your comfort zone expands?

You know what it’s like… You’ve agreed / been coerced (delete as applicable) to engage in some activity that is taking beyond the realms of what you know, on a map it would be marked “Here there be dragons”. You experience a little fear, perhaps a little discomfort, and then a magical thing happens (as promised). You begin to feel gratitude that you participated, and even begin to enjoy the experience. Think about a roller coaster ride, if that’s your thing. The first time you ever rode one, there would be uncertainty and trepidation. At first you just get through it, then you begin to enjoy it! This is the moment your comfort zone expands…

But what now? The experience that previously presented a challenge, an opportunity to grow, has now become the ‘norm’, and resides ever deeper within your newly expanded comfort zone each time you partake in this exciting new pastime. As time passes, this only increases and you accept the thing that once paralysed you with fear as an everyday occurrence, or at least something that no longer challenges you the way it once did.

Extended Comfort Zone DiagramNow whilst you can never return to feeling that way again, I would urge you to hold on to the memory of how it made you feel for two reasons…

  • To remember just how awesome you are, and how much you are capable of in the face of adversity.
  • To understand why some people might need your help in overcoming the very thing you now take for granted.

That thing that once lurked in the shadows beyond your realm of experience, for some, still sits… waiting… looming… holding them prisoner within the walls of their own limiting beliefs of what is safe and secure. At this moment you can choose to inspire, to give them something incredible, by framing their experience in a way that reminds them that what they are about to undertake could have a significant effect on their life through the realisation that they are capable of miraculous things.

If something has become normal, regular or even mundane, you might be tempted to be dismissive, tell them it’s no big deal and that anyone can do it, so just get on with it, but do you think the Wright Brothers saw flight as mundane? When John Logie Baird looked at the first transmitted television picture, was he disappointed it wasn’t the X Factor?

Card magicianDo you remember the first time you saw a really amazing magic trick? How it blew your mind, and left you speechless? Consider this though… The magician who had that effect on you had probably performed that same routine hundreds, if not thousands, of times, and yet still cared enough to make it a memorable and rewarding experience for you.

So when your comfort zone ‘expands’ to assimilate your new experiences, remember that for some, those experiences are inconceivable… but that means there are also things you consider ridiculously impossible, that others are willing to help you achieve, because they already have. We are all individuals with different experiences to share, and to use to either to encourage and empower, or to ridicule and discourage. Choose wisely…

The trap that many fall in to is this… They take action to leave their comfort zone, leaving behind all that comforts and reassures them, and unwittingly expand their comfort zone in the process. They then repeat the same act over and over, to the point where it holds no challenge, but consciously they don’t realise this has happened, and so believe themselves to be repeatedly leaving their comfort zone, simply because this act once resided beyond the realms of what you know. The trick is to continually stretch your comfort zone. Ask yourself this…

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Snow covered mountain range

However tempting it may be to take up residence in your new kingdom of comfort, you would only be reliving past experiences. The past is for reference, not residence. Remember it, use it, learn from it, but do not become a squatter in your own history.

Let us endeavor so to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry – Mark Twain