“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.â€Â Emily Dickinson
We all like our comfort zones.Â It feels cozy, and we feel we are in cruise control.Â Comfort zones however lull us into believing that the fear we feel to try something new is justified and acceptable. However, being in the comfort zone leads you to stop growing and learning. No matter who you are, you cannot stop learning and to learn you need to get out of your comfort zone. You may have heard your friends or colleagues who have the fear of public speaking or doing bungee jumping or swimming or even hiking a steep hill.
Common statements you hear from this fear is “I’m no good at public speaking”.
“I hate public speaking.”
“I’m scared of heights.”
“You are too good at this, there is no way I can make such good presentations”.
Most of these are, more often than not, self-limiting beliefs.Â I agree each of our talents are different but unless you try how would you know if you are good at it or not?
What are you limiting by being within your comfort zone?
1. Your Talent and full PotentialÂ Â You are the only one who can use your ability. It is an awesome responsibility – Zig Ziglar
Unless you try something new, you limit your growth and restrict your full potential.Â You are what you are today because of the choices you made. Only way you’ll discover the depth of your talent is to try new challenges and grow to where you want to-be. It is necessary to break through the barriers in your own mind and feel comfortable with feeling awkward whilst you are testing new waters.Â Growth shouldn’t stop till we die. Our own beliefs and faith becomes an inhibitor – you will not know the strength of faith till it is tested. So be daring and bold.
2. Your DreamsÂ you have your dreams but a dream remains a dream if you are not willing to work towards it. If that means taking risks and exploring what is out there and your own ability, just do it.
Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. ~ Les Brown
3. Your CourageÂ Â â€œWhatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.â€ Napoleon Hill
â€œCourage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point,â€ C.S. Lewis.
Many of us learn of our hidden talents and capabilities in the face of overwhelming odds. A video which I would like to share with you is a scene from The Life Of Pi.
(this is the trailer and not the exact scene that I wanted to shares. Since this movie is still running I’m unable to get an official version of that scene. However the trailer in itself will encapsulate the message of how Pi got out of his comfort zone and dared to be different).
After the storm, Pi finds himself in the lifeboat with an injured zebra, and is joined by an orangutan who lost her offspring in the shipwreck. A hyena emerges from the tarp covering half of the boat, and kills the zebra. To Pi’s distress, the hyena also mortally wounds the orangutan in a fight. Suddenly the tiger Richard Parker emerges from under the tarp, and kills and eats the hyena.Â Pi finds emergency food and water rations on the boat. He builds a small raft of floatation devices so that he can stay at a safe distance from the tiger. Realizing that he must feed the tiger to protect himself, Pi begins fishing, with some success. He also collects rain water for both to drink. At one point, he makes a board ladder for the tiger to climb back into the boat after it had jumped off to hunt fish. In a nighttime encounter with a breaching whale, Pi loses much of his supplies. Faced with starvation, he eats raw fish. After many days at sea, Pi realizes that he can no longer live on the tiny raft and trains the tiger Richard Parker to accept him in the boat. He also realizes that caring for the tiger is keeping him alive. Read more at LINK
Whilst every crisis or challenge in your life may not be facing a Tiger or having a journey with a Tiger, this scene clearly shows how Pi was forced to get out of his comfort zone not only in terms of dealing with the Tiger and setting the rules but also in terms of his own dietary habits in the face of starvation and hunger.
Each of us need to break out from our thinking patterns that we tend to get stuck in and Â generate new ideas. The above scene is a classic example of how Pi adopted new thought patterns and came out of his fear.
Â How do you get out of your Comfort Zone
1. Question your assumptions / beliefsÂ each of us have our beliefs or set thinking patterns. I have met clients during coaching sessions who feel stuck in their career and don’t want to make a change because of mortgage and other financial commitments.
Question to ask yourself at such times is Have I considered all options ? Are there any other ways of meeting my financial commitments?Â What would I do if I started with a blank sheet of paper?Â You’ll be surprised at the options and your inner self starts to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The picture starts to look much brighter.
2. Negative frameworkÂ negative thoughts pull you into a whirlwind and a vicious cycle of doom and gloom without enabling you to consider options.
A statement to the effect that I’m no good at public speaking re-framed as I need to strengthen my confidence levels and need to start practicing in front of a video enables you to feel better about the situation in hand.Â Reframing your thoughts or rewording the problem or the issue at hand enables you to get new insights.
3. Connections – sometimes I find that reading a book or blog post or meeting a friend or watching a movie or Ted talk or documentary helps me to get out of my comfort zone.Â Things which in my mind seemed impossible or awkward don’t seem to feel so any more.Â Some of the best ideas or new ways of thinking comes in situations which may not be directly connected to our fear or self-limiting belief but the former helps to make that connection and throw us out of a reverie.
4. Reflection – change of environment helps us to relax and generate ideas to move out of our comfort zone.Â This change of environment is differentÂ for different people. I generate some Â of my best ideas whilst hiking and being up and close with nature.Â Meditation, journaling, listening to music or talking to a friend are other forms that could be considered.
5. Believe in yourself – Let me take you back to the scene from Life of Pi, Pi could not have survived if he had not believed in himself.Â Unless and until we believe and trust oneself no change or growth is possible. Positive reinforcement creates a healthy environment for you and for those around you.
Bottom lineÂ You have within you the fuel to thrive, to flourish to journey into something bold and daring each day.
Sometimes you tap into this fuel â€“ other times you donâ€™t.
But the sad fact is that most people have no idea how to tap into this fuel or even recognize it when they do.
Where is this fuel within you?
You tap into it whenever you feel energized and excited by new ideas.
You tap into it whenever you feel at one with your surroundings, at peace.
You tap into it whenever you feel playful, creative, or silly.
You tap into it whenever you feel your soul stirred by the sheer beauty of existence.
You tap into it whenever you feel connected to others and loved.
In short, you tap into it whenever positive emotions resonate within you