In my role as a life coach, I am constantly helping people to get out of their comfort zones. In my role as a Certified Master Coach Trainer, I am constantly training coaches to help people to get out of their comfort zones. So I was very excited when I recently had an opportunity to work on my own comfort zone.
I recognized all of the tell-tale signs that I had fallen into the trap of being comfortable with my situation.
- Feeling content
- Feeling like you’re in a good groove
- A slight gnawing feeling that there is more waiting for me
- A nagging fear that the groove could develop into a rut before I know it.
So, I did what needed to be done. I voluntarily ventured out of my comfort zone. For two hours I put myself into a social situation that was outside of my normal scene and waited for the growth to kick in.
Instead, what kicked in was FEAR – with a capital F!
Within 10 minutes of walking into the situation, my stomach was in knots and I became aware of a voice in my head:
“I don’t belong here.”
“What was I thinking?”
“I have no business here.”
“This isn’t for me.”
“I should just be happy with what I have.”
I had the very strong urge to leave.
Thankfully, I recognized this fear and voice for what it is. Stephen Pressfield calls it The Resistance and its job is to keep me firmly where I am.
Getting outside of your comfort zone is, by definition, uncomfortable. And yes, it can trigger fears and insecurities. The trick is to recognize these for what they are – insidious voices in your head trying to keep you from becoming the person you know you can be. Trying to keep you from choosing the life you want. They try to pass themselves off as voices who care about you and want to keep you safe and secure, but they’re not. They are simply the personified resistance to your personal growth and expansion.
Safety and security has it’s place, but humans are pre-programmed to eventually leave that place and constantly strive for more. If we really required safety and security, we’d never leave the cradle. Learning to crawl and then taking your first tentatives steps exposes you to a world of potential dangers. Of course it also exposes you to a world of wondrous opportunities to learn and grow. It’s exactly the same when we become adults.
In my own situation, I fought the urge to flee and instead sat with the uncomfortable feelings. I turned my attention inward and listened carefully to the dialogue, looking for clues as to what I really needed to do. Soon, the answer became clear. I needed to keep moving forward – despite the discomfort. I need to leave the cradle once again. I realize that this means I risk falling and banging my knees and elbows, but I also realize that it will be worth it. It always is.
I’m not finished learning. I’m not finished growing. I must constantly choose the life I want.
And the same goes for you!