- Quality of Life & Wellness
Escape Your Comfort Zone!
Why should we expect a different or better result when we allow ourselves to be content with the status quo?
This question is well answered by the famous W.L. Bateman quote, “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always gotten.”
The essential point here is if you are unwilling to break out of your comfort zone then you are unwilling to recognize your true potential.
So exactly what is a comfort zone?
A comfort zone may well be understood as a place, situation, or level where someone feels confident and comfortable.
Unfortunately the comfort is usually a limiting or sub par level which translates into a negative connotation versus a positive one.
These two examples put it into context
- The coach always pushes his star player beyond his comfort zone in order to improve his performance.
- The professor encouraged her to get outside her comfort zone and design a totally new script that was more engaging.
I’m sure you’ve heard the unbelievable suggestion that most people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying. Now when we take a moment to digest such a statement it certainly doesn’t make much logical sense. This is a very dramatic example of clinging to ones comfort zone as if holding on for dear life!
Although it may seem unreasonable it is nevertheless one of the most interesting realities of our human experience. Regrettably many people make decisions based on an avoidance of fears rather than tackling obstacles, which stand in the way of their very best outcomes.
In addition to athletic performance, occupational skill sets or the nightmare of public speaking there are many other fears or phobias that continually challenge people.
Let’s take a look at what this is all about and how we can overcome them and break out of our comfort zones.
As mentioned, fear positions itself as a pivotal factor in relationship to maintaining comfort zones. What is fear? Well, for sure we can agree it is an intangible force that takes on a very destructive and limiting tangible power in our lives.
Lets take the premise of someone saying, “ I am afraid of dogs and being around them is definitely outside of my comfort zone.”
Does it actually mean that a friendly, well-behaved dog is outside of your comfort zone? I submit that it rarely would literally mean that point of view. Rather it’s much more likely, as with many other fears or phobias to actually represent only a symptom of some deeper root cause.
While its true that no one would relish the idea of dog teeth marks imprinted on their arm as a result of being viciously attacked by a dog.
In the case of our admitted fearful dog person, the first step would be digging deep into the notion that all dogs equal pain and suffering.
Reframing the experience
Breaking out of comfort zones is all about reframing past experiences and challenging current assumptions, in particular ones that have dominated our thoughts over time. It is very necessary to reframe the negative or painful experiences that may have occurred in the past.
This is not easy, but can be done. Even if that experience, for example, was as a kid you were knocked off your bike and bitten by a dog several times due to no fault of your own.
It is obvious that millions of people have wonderful experiences with dogs as family pets. Their frame of reference is one of great childhood memories growing up with a beloved canine.
A very important first step would be gaining specific exposure to positive references themselves or others who have had such positive experiences.
This could be as simply as being available when a friend brings a new puppy home or attending a dog training session by a dog behavioral specialist.
The key is immerging yourself in a new positive frame of reference that intersects with the previous limiting belief or event. This new information and exposure can begin the process of challenging your comfort zone in a safe way.
Challenge your comfort zone
After some form of reframing has taken place its time to personally get involved in order to challenge your comfort zone.
Basically this means, to discover an appropriate way to process or practice the challenge to your comfort zone. In other words repeating a positive personal experience based on a new frame of reference.
In addition to observing others in a “ new reality “, it will be time to actually interact in the most real way possible.
In our dog example, this could mean offering to watch the puppy while the owners are out of town for the weekend. The puppy being more pleasant and less fear evoking to play with, feed or groom than a full-grown dog.
If that isn’t possible it may even be volunteering to interact in a substantive way with a bigger or even behavioral challenged dog alone side a staff member from the human society.
Whatever the platform to enhance your personal involvement you should schedule this activity on a consistent basis if possible. Invariability, you’ll have set backs, so don’t be surprised. Rather expect them and continue forging ahead. Be prepared to take this action for weeks, months or even years depending on the level of complexity of what you are trying to overcome.
In addition to reframing and challenging your comfort zones you’ll need to emotionally connect with each glimpse of success.
A terrific way to anchor or lock in your progress as you break out of your comfort zone is to use music.
Here’s why, music is emotional, personal and very useful in reminding us of the special substance of our lives. It's almost like a canvas for our life's painting. For example, think back on your high school prom, the wondrous day of your wedding or any other pleasant and worthwhile accomplishment in your life. Can you imagine such landmark events occurring in the absence of music?
In a similar way, you should with each minor step of progress or big stride of accomplishment harness music as a reinforcing emotional point of connection. With the use of technology such as CD/ DVD, home mp3 players and of course mobile devices it’s never been easier or more practical.
Just pick a song with powerful lyrics or inspiring instrumentals and begin to play it over and over as you go through the process and it will become your soundtrack to victory!
In short our discussion could be summed up as the following:
- Come to the reality of how limiting beliefs hold us captive in undesireable comfort zones.
- Decide to reframe the particular experience by observing others through word or deed that represent a more desirable end result. Develope a plan to immerse yourself into the new desired reality.
- Make a strong emotional connection with the help of special music that inspires you to pursue the change until it happens. When you hear the music you know you can do it and it puts you right back into the place when you did it!
Of course, never think that it’s best to go at this alone. Be willing to enlist the help of family, friends and most importantly faith in an all powerful Creator as you determine to break out of your comfort zone!
- Break Out of Your Comfort Zone to Achieve Success
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