Reach Beyond Your Comfort Zone
"If you always do what you've always done, you're always going to get what you've always got." Henry Ford
Do you have a dream, but are afraid to stretch out of your comfort zone to pursue it? In your comfort zone, you feel safe and the walls of your box are familiar. It may not be pleasant or comfortable, but it is what you know. So even when a door opens for your dream, you shrink back into your limited world.
For instance, Jane was shy, but always craved acknowledgement and approval for the job she did. After completing a difficult project, she was praised for her work. Although it was what she'd always wanted, the attention unnerved her. She brushed off the compliments and retreated to her office as soon as she could.
When you venture out of your comfort zone, you feel anxious and uncertain. You're not sure of how to handle the new conditions. This is a normal response to something new. Some people avoid this feeling, and some seek it out. It all depends on how you frame it.
For example, Sharon and Karen are traveling for the first time in their lives. Both of them have always wanted to go to Paris, and now they are making that dream a reality. But they have very different responses to leaving their familiar environment.
During the flight, Sharon does nothing but fret about every detail. With each bump, she's afraid the plane is going to crash. She wonders how she's going to find her way to her hotel. Will anyone speak her language? What will the food be like? How will she get around? She carries these fears throughout her visit. Because she's so afraid, she ruins her lifelong dream by wishing she'd stayed at home.
On the other hand, Karen savors every moment of the plane flight. It's a new experience for her and she wants to remember every detail. She knows that everything is going to be different, and is prepared for it. Once in Paris, she knows that somehow she'll be able to find her way around. And she looks forward to the museums and the sights. Because Karen is open to new and different conditions, she makes the most of her vacation.
Most people elect to stay within an area that feels familiar. However, your comfort zone is like a muscle. You have to exercise it for it to grow and become more resilient. At any point, that muscle is either expanding and becoming stronger or atrophying and becoming weaker. If you're not stretching and exercising it, it will automatically shrink. As a result, your world and confidence will get smaller. You'll feel less capable to deal with situations that you handled with ease before.
You were born with an incredible amount of potential talent and ability. But that potential must be explored for it to become a reality. The only way you can do this is to challenge yourself to experiment and take risks. Stretch and reach beyond what you're comfortable with to realize the potential you were born with.
If you want to learn how to paint, overcome your resistance and start taking lessons. You might discover that it's not for you, and you can then move onto something else that fulfills you. Even if the situation wasn't successful, you were successful because you extended yourself to try something new.
To pry yourself out of your box, take baby steps. That way you don't feel as threatened, and you begin building the habit of testing new waters. If you try to leap too far out of your comfort zone, you may feel that your world is unstable and unsecure. So explore new opportunities close by. That way you can retreat back to the familiar to process and integrate your changes.
The unknown can be either scary or exciting, depending on your perspective. Stretching into unfamiliar territory builds resourcefulness and confidence. Learning new things is one way you stay youthful, excited and engaged in life. And the more you stretch out of your comfort zone, the easier it is to do next time. Only by doing things differently will you get different results. Fulfill your dreams by expanding your comfort zone.
Copyright © 2009-2017 Linda Ann Stewart
As a speaker, personal and professional development coach, and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart helps business and professional women who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to focus, prioritize and break through so they build more business and create a consistent income. Sign up for her FREE guide, "Take Control of Your Day," at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/guide-takecontrol.html.You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.
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