Keep stretching to become better

When you set out to change the world as a speaker, author or coach, a key to keep you going is to stretch your boundaries continuously.

Most of the coaches we work with deal with people’s comfort zones every day. In fact, most of us as Speakers, Authors and Coaches are in business BECAUSE we help to stretch people’s comfort zones.

You’ve heard the expression that if you want to get something that you haven’t already got, you’ve got to do something different to achieve it. However, it takes a lot for many people to stretch themselves. It often involves the risk of failing, looking stupid or sometimes people just don’t know WHAT to do to go to the next level… which is why having a coach is so important.

It’s like this. Imagine taking an elastic band, fresh out of a pack and then stretching it as far as it can go, without breaking it. When you relax the stretch, that band, once stretched, can never go back to quite the same shape. We are the same. Every experience leaves us differently ‘shaped’ or impacted.

Everything you know and do is contained within the circle of your existing knowing and experience — your current comfort zone. Everything you desire is likely outside it, just on the edge or far off in the distance. Each of those desires may mean you need to do or be something new or different to get it. Think of it this way; if it’s not yours yet, and it ‘feels’ like it’s a little unattainable, it’s likely to be outside your comfort zone.

Your comfort zone is unique to you as it’s created from your personality, skills & experiences & it’s actually there as part of your survival — it’s where you feel safe and where your body doesn’t run on adrenaline. What’s great about this is that as you stretch and as your confidence and life experiences increase — your comfort zone also expands.

We like to also associate comfort zone with competencies. Being unconsciously competent. For example, when you are learning to drive, you are SO aware of mirror, signal, manoeuvre… getting the biting point as you change gear etc… but after a couple of years of driving you do all of this with unconscious competency whilst having the radio blasting, talking to your friend & putting lipstick on!

Regularly getting a snapshot of your comfort zone is important. It can indicate what’s next for you, and what might need tackling. It’s one of the best forms of self awareness there is, and provides the opportunity for growth.

What’s in your comfort zone?

One way to get clear on what’s inside and outside yours right now is to do this:

  • Draw a circle — add everything you are currently doing inside it; your conversations, your parenting style, where you live, what you are producing, your tech savvy etc. Everything inside the circle is in your comfort zone, you are comfortable with it (you may not like it, but you are comfortable with it). It’s what you do habitually, what you know how to do.
  • Now add things beyond the boundary of the circle; everything here outside is everything you desire in your life, but do not currently have and to get it to be on the inside of your circle, you’re probably going to have to do something new or different. You’re going to have to step outside of your comfort zone.

Think about it — what can you do now that you could not a year ago? If it helps to, make a list. You might surprise yourself!

How did that happen? You learned, you committed, you worked at it, you decided, you rolled your sleeves up, you asked for help, you experimented, you researched. All these help you step into your ‘stretch zone’.

Don’t go too far or you’ll get stuck

Stepping too far byond your comfort zone in the reach for your desires can feel like entering what we call the ‘Panic zone’. This place is just too far, biting off more than you can chew if you like. It can create overwhelm and procrastination or even a full stop and ‘ostriching’ for some. If that’s the case, pull back a little, break down that desire to something more attainable, or define what or who you need to help you get there. Having support and guidance on the outside of your comfort zone is vital.

Our stretch and comfort zones are so personally defined. For some, you thrive on having all your senses on alert and having to scrabble towards the deadline or figure things out at the last minute, completely out of your depth for a while. It can make you thrive — BUT, you can’t humanly keep that up without some impact to your body (too much stress), your mind (too much to learn) and your soul (too much to handle).

So our suggestion is to learn how you can work with YOUR comfort zone.

Get on with growing

Acknowledge that your first foray will always be your worst & take the pressure off by expecting it to be perfect — expect to muck up! Just compensate for that — for example, we get a lot of my clients to set up a private test FB group where they can practice going LIVE but to no audience except us. This helps them get used to the tech, how to respond to comments etc. There are many ‘private practice elements’ that can help you get used to becoming a better speaker, author or coach. Look at what’s on the outside of your drawn circle. What are you focusing on right now, and how can you prepare or practice for moving out of your comfort zone towards it?

Here are some tips to help you get out of your comfort zone without going straight to panic zone:

  1. Tap into your desire — know what you want & what it will do for you
  2. Decide — make it part of your why, allow yourself to get excited about what you desire.
  3. Get momentum by taking action — tiny things layered suddenly mean you’ve got to expert status (or at least know how to do it competently!)
  4. Make this desire important and focus on it until you get it — As you get momentum, you’ll get excited and productive, and then you are unstoppable
  5. Tackle the fear — It’s bound to happen, you’ll get fearful along the way. Know who to reach out to, reach for the why, know what it will do for you.
  6. Break it down. Get some help. Support yourself. And put some fun into it.

An old classic book to help you bust through your comfort zone is Feel The Fear & Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

So tell us in the comments, what are you going to commit to over the next 90 days to push out of your comfort zone? We’d love to support you and sometimes that takes accountability & coaching which we offer you on a weekly basis in Changemaker Central our membership site…so come & check it out!

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