We all love a comfort zone - after all, it’s comfortable. In my world of comfort, it would be surrounded by comfy pillows, my favourite blanket, rum and raisin ice cream, strawberries and Cadbury's chocolate, Sunday Roast and Liverpool FC on the TV. But do all of that everyday, and it wouldn’t take a scientist to see and understand that it wouldn’t be good for my health - in any way, shape or form.
So, how is it that we allow similar sorts of habits and traits seep through into our world of life and business without really challenging ourselves and the impact it is having on our overall health?
Lets begin with a bit of awareness and to challenge you with the question…..
➡️Are you a little TOO Comfortable?
Consider if any of the following resonates with you.
You don’t want to try out new things
- You’ve crossed off the word ‘adventure’ in your dictionary.
- You’re practically living your life by routine alone – you don’t deviate, and you’ve no wish to.
- You’re perfectly happy with the way things are, and you’re ignoring whatever’s going on around you.
- You’re stuck in your comfort zone, and you don’t want to entertain the thought of doing something new because it scares you.
- You’d rather be in your safe zone than be somewhere fun and exciting where you can possibly hurt yourself.
- You’re afraid of experiencing something totally unknown and foreign, and you wouldn’t know how to react to it.
- When you feel these things, then you’ve become far too comfortable in your comfort zone, and it’s turned into your prison.
You’re always procrastinating
- You’re always thinking, it’s not the right time yet. You don’t want to start working on your goals because the right time or the right opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet.
- But when exactly is the right time? Or is there ever a right time? When you’re a serial procrastinator, no time is ever right.
- You keep postponing the important things in your life because you’re afraid of leaving your comfort zone. You’d rather chill in bed than take action on your goals.
You’re letting opportunity after opportunity pass you by
- You’re getting bombarded with opportunities other people would kill for, but you’re letting everything pass you by.
- You’ve no interest in doing anything that will take you far away from your comfort zone. Or if you’re interested, it’s not enough to motivate you to take a leap of faith and jump into an exciting new opportunity.
- You may be afraid of failing or succeeding. Either way, both are going to change your life. So you don’t entertain those life-changing opportunities. You’d rather be safe and boring than exciting and successful!
And so, be it one, two or three, we go back to picking up our ice cream, pillows, sundry roast (not in any wise order either it seems) and RETREAT, usually with a whole ream of excuses written in unspoken word at the ready, just waiting to be blurted out to any “challenger of the comfort”.
But what happens when we reside in this space? Because outside of this, in part, we have convinced ourselves of all of the fears, embarrassments, reasons it won’t work, shame, hardwork and copious reasons that it just wouldn’t be safe to exit the comfort zone. We perceive the next step to be a panic and fear space of hideous consequence (or atleast your chimp mind and, to some extent, previous experiences and upbringing have convinced you of).
But, there is a smaller, stretch zone that we can step into - a nice little space, a little less “rosy” (let’s call this an off grey coloured room) than comfort but far less hideous than panic.
Here, we can play, be curious, experiment in small steps that (weirdly enough) then starts to change colour and become a little more rosy. Because, we realise, those small steps that lead to growth have then extended our comfort zones in the first place.
“This all sounds great” you might say “But it’s easier said than done! (as she takes another mouthful of roast dinner)”.
The thing is, comfort is great, but it can also become a place of frustration. As humans, believe it or not, we actually like to be learning, connecting, evolving and growing. It’s why when we procrastinate too long, or feel bored more and more, we become grouchy and frustrated due to a lack of movement, or more to the point, excitement.
So, what can we do to start exploring that grey area of stretch?
Take that first step
It’s always the first step that’s the hardest. Just like babies learning to walk, you’re going to stumble and fall the first few times. But don’t worry, it’s all part of the learning experience. The more you fall, the more you get to know the landscape. On your next attempts, you’ll finally get the hang of it!
Start saying ‘yes’
Saying ‘yes’ can open so many doors for you. If someone offers you a wonderful opportunity and it gives you the chance to push your boundaries, then don’t be afraid to say ‘yes!’ A client once termed this as “reverse engineering” - say yes and then work out the steps backwards to where you are now from there!
Give yourself a chance. It’s normal to feel scared. But let the excitement run through you as well!
If you’re tired of your comfort zone and you’re finally ready to see how far you can go, then don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Sign up for a new challenge, set a new path, join a new club, try something new. See all of the ways that this adventure could be exciting and open doors for you. Consider all of the skills you will learn. Build up that excitement so that, even though there will be fear and the “unknown”, we can weigh those up against the very long list of benefits that come with challenge.
Understand the parameters of your stretch zone.
Every person will have a different stretch zone and every event will change the shape and depth of that zone too. The important part is to spend time knowing yourself, of understanding what works best when it comes to trying something new, when it comes to taking small steps, when it comes to planning, action, and reflection. Noone needs to understand your steps OR your path, only you do. But taking the time to know yourself and what that all means and looks like to you IS important.
Why not set yourself a little challenge this month to expand that comfort zone, stretch into newness, and have some fun with it too!