Get uncomfortable. Sensibly and with guidance, but get there. - Mike Clark
Do you have a desire to improve yourself? Do you want a better reality than the one you currently have? Do you feel you could be more, have more, do more?
“Personal growth” is one of today’s fastest growing industries, coming a close second behind health. Personal growth occurs in many ways and can be applied to every facet of your life. Skills are developed by doing, repetition, practise. I see skill enhancement as the honing of what you already have. A way to improve inside your current circle of comfort and ability. Today I wanted to explore what happens outside of your comfort zone.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone is uncomfortable (funny thing that!). The further the stretch, the greater the the corresponding levels of caution, fear and anxiety. Often people look at others who push themselves and think it must be so easy for them. Countless interviews reveal that they “felt the fear and did it anyway.” Caution and fear at the unknown is your brain's way of keeping you alive.
When we are clear around why we want to go out of our comfort zone, it emboldens purpose. The art of visualization is a powerful tool at this step. Take time to ‘see’ the new reality and how it will make a positive difference. It is at this point where a positive, growth mindset enables action. Seeing any ‘failure’ as a learning experience. Watching kids learning to walk or ride a bicycle is an inspiring illustration of this.
Self talk is incredibly powerful. The way you talk to yourself and about yourself will either limit or liberate you. If you make a mistake or have a failed attempt and proceed to beat yourself up verbally - “Trust me to stuff this up. I never get things right. I’m so dumb”, then progress will be hard and painful. Seeing mistakes as learning opportunities changes the whole internal conversation, “That did not work. What can I learn from that? How can I do that differently or better next time?” is an far more empowering and liberating approach. The “Little Train that could” is a children's story that is a superb illustration of this. As it pulled the supplies up the hill, the mantra it speaks to itself is, “I think I can, I think I can” and as progress is made, “I’m sure I can, I’m sure I can.” Then, “I know I can, I know I can”. With this approach the end result is the excited proclamation, “I did, I did!”
One of the greatest benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone is the extraordinary ability of the human mind to correlate experiences. When we have done something we know is extraordinary for us, maybe run a marathon, or deliver a talk to a large audience we enlarge our self image. This then enables us to look at tasks that previously lay outside our comfort zone and say, “If I can do that, then I can do this.”
Growth in ability, leads to an enlargement of self image which leads to greater challenges being considered and surmounted. It is a self-fulfilling, positively trending upward cycle - growth! What could you stretch yourself to achieve today?
Here's to your success!