“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.”- Denis Waitley
To be more successful and reach my potential as a life coach and creative person, I had to shift from being scared, stuck and letting myself off the hook, to committed, courageous and powerfully persistent in achieving my goals.
In other words, I had to learn to push myself through my comfort zone and face all the things that scared, intimidated and panicked me.
There was a long list.
In this blog, I will share with you 3 ways your comfort zone is holding you back in your business and your life.
But First – What is a comfort zone exactly?
A comfort zone is where you go to avoid feeling pain or fear or any discomfort for the most part. It’s like an invisible wall where you don’t venture out because beyond that wall is pain. For example, every time I need to make a sales type call, you will likely find me in front of the TV or all of a sudden really hungry. Or both. Gotta eat! Gotta watch an HGTV show while I eat!
So not only am I avoiding the discomfort of making that call, I have found a way to make my comfort zone rewarding. TV and yummy food. What a reward!
Here are the 3 Ways Your Comfort Zone is Holding You Back in Business and in Life
ONE – It Keeps Your Life Small
We all have a comfort zone. It is how we protect ourselves from what we think will be a painful experience. Sales calls often equal rejection. Announcing our service based business on Instagram equals feeling exposed. Writing a personal blog post equals criticism. Putting yourself out there in any way brings up shame.
And so, we scurry back from taking that action to avoid the pain we think is waiting for us. Our Comfort Zone keeps us feeling safe.
And yes, the Comfort Zone is supposed to keep our lives safe. Except what it really does is keep our lives small.
“If you can’t tolerate pain, you can’t be fully alive,” (The Tools p30.)
In their book The Tools, by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, the writers explain very convincingly how small our comfort zone keeps us. The realm of endless possibilities lies outside our comfort zone. It’s where we all want to go. It’s where our goals have us living.
But in order to get there, you have to move past the pain, whatever form that pain might take. And if we don’t, if we avoid facing that pain? Well, now we’re trapped in a very small world compared to what’s possible.
They even quote my favourite verse from Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem The Voiceless.
Alas for those that never sing,/ But die with all their music in them.
The prospect of dying with my music still in me haunts me. What about you?
TWO – It Prevents You From Growing
Despite the price we pay by retreating to our Comfort Zone, we stay there. Why is that?
The authors suggest it’s because of our need for immediate gratification. The Comfort Zone makes us feel good. Right? I love those home decorating shows. And it’s so important that I watch them all the way through. Isn’t it? I’m learning so much.
Except I live in a rental apartment I can’t decorate and my career is as a writer and life coach so how exactly are those shows supporting my growth as a person, as a creative, as a business owner and most importantly, as a spiritual seeker?
Here’s where I’d press a NOT buzzer if I had one.
My Comfort Zone does not support my personal growth in any way at all. It’s really just my way of avoiding pain. I’m intimidated by many of the tasks involved in promoting myself online.
What about you?
There is no growth in the Comfort Zone. We all know that. “No Pain, No Gain.”
Just thinking about how to build muscle is a great metaphor for any personal or professional growth. You’ve got to lift heavier weights, little by little to get stronger. And for many days after, well…it hurts.
Facing our fears is really necessary if we want to grow our inner life. And that will be reflected in our outer life.
THREE – It Prevents Your Success
As the authors point out, “The biggest difference between those who succeed and those who fail any endeavour is their level of commitment.” (p64)
Success in anything requires an endless series of small and often painful actions.
It takes commitment to take on those actions day after day. It’s part of why we admire athletes so much. Their commitment to their job is supernatural it seems.
But if they can’t face the pain of those endless workouts, endless practices, etc., they won’t succeed.
I like the metaphor of a child learning to walk. How many times do they fall down, get up, fall down again? Would you imagine they would just stay down because falling is painful?
Never. They are committed. They are purpose driven. They will succeed.
We have to be able to do the same if we want to be successful in our lives and businesses. Success demands that of us.
We’ve talked about the 3 ways your Comfort Zone is holding you back: it keeps you small, prevents you from growing and from being successful. What are the benefits of leaving your comfort zone?
The Benefits of Leaving Your Comfort Zone
Benefits? Well, just reverse the above. When you learn to move through the pain that is outside your comfort zone, your life gets full of possibilities, you grow as a person and you have a real chance at being super successful.
They all sound good don’t they?
A Different Way to Look at Your Comfort Zone
Here’s a way to look at your Comfort Zone that you might enjoy.
Imagine that you aren’t actually leaving it, you’re expanding it.
Because really, how many sales-type calls would it take for me to not be intimidated by them anymore? How many blog posts, instagram posts and Facebook lives (which I’ve avoided totally) would it take for me to feel excited sharing my knowledge and experiences with you?
When we face the fear and do it anyway, we get comfortable with what was once so uncomfortable. We’ve all done it many times. Remember kissing????
We can get comfortable with anything.
The Force of Forward Motion
Stutz and Michels propose the most elegant way of pushing those edges of your Comfort Zone. They show the reader a technique or tool that allows them to step into the fear willingly and then allows a higher force, The Force of Forward Motion to move them forward and through.
They write how there is a force of life that we can embody, the moment we step into our fears. It’s the force that has been moving the universe forward for billions of years. It’s true that it’s not in our control. And so, we don’t always have a say as to where it will move us.
But, really, I’d trust the universe over my own ideas any day.
By relentlessly facing our fears and taking action, we are aligning ourselves with that force.
I, for one, am ready to try it. I really don’t want to look back, ten years from now and see myself watching Hometown!!! Okay, it is a great show. But once a week is okay.
What I really want to see is me living a much bigger life, having much more inner strength and inner peace, and darn if I wouldn’t like to see a few thousand people following me and reading my blog.
As you might have imagined, I recommend Stutz and Michels book highly to learn all the tools they teach. The Tools…
One last thing, if you are struggling with your own fears, particularly getting your service based business going, I can help. Book a Discovery Call with me using this link and we can talk about how my new group coaching program might be right for you.
Thanks for reading, ❤️ Lisa