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Your Comfort Zone is Holding You Back
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For most people their lives or business' don't get better because they don't get better.

Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if you could turn back time by 10 years, or even 10 days? If you could redo some of your actions or avoid saying some of the things you said, how would your life be different? Or, what if you had forced yourself to do something you once didn't have the heart to do? How would your life look today?

Consider this formula: Who you are and how well you do today is the sum result of your desire, past experiences and past choices. If you want to feel more satisfied in your private domain or if you want to be more successful in your business, the only way of doing this is increasing your desire (drive), increase your experiences (education) and thinking through your choices before you take action (response). In other words getting out of your comfort zone.

The majority of people tend to get into a comfortable rut. They know what they will be doing each day, each week, and each year. Within certain guidelines, their lives are predicable and stable.

Predictable and stable, however, are not factors that lead to success. Risk taking and instability are the keys to going from mediocre to stellar. Most people have a difficult time moving out of a comfortable situation and into one of insecurity and unknown turns. But this is exactly what you have to do to become successful - get out of your own way.

The best way to do this is to take small steps towards a larger goal. Realize that there are four major areas that make up our comfort zones: Geographical, personal, activity-related, and mental. That is:

  • Geographical: Where we live, work, and play
  • Personal: Our friends, family, and co-workers
  • Activity-Related: Our entertainment and hobbies
  • Mental: What and how we think

Let's say you are at home in your living room; this means you are within your geographical comfort zone. If you're in a place where you have never been before, you are outside of your geographical comfort zone. If friends surround you, you are within your personal comfort zone, and if strangers surround you, you are outside of your personal comfort zone. If you do something you have been doing your whole life, like a card game you grew up with, this is within your activity-related comfort zone, and if you do something brand new, you are outside of your activity-related comfort zone. If you think about something you are familiar with, like job tasks you do on a daily basis, you are within your mental comfort zone, but if you think like you have never done before, you are outside of your mental comfort zone.

Where do you prefer to be,within your comfort zone, or outside of it? Ninety-five percent of people feel more comfortable within their comfort zone, and you probably fall into that category; this is absolutely fine!

But why do most people feel better within their comfort zone? The explanation is simple, yet frightening: Humans are born with an innate, primary instinct that continues to control our lives, yet it is no longer necessary to our survival.

A very long time ago, humans were only able to survive as gregarious animals, and therefore, Mother Nature gave us the appropriate herd instinct: Never leave your comfort zone, because that's your safe place. Danger impends when you leave your comfort zone.

This is why most people spend their entire lives within their comfort zones, desiring more of the same and occasionally wishing for better. Because you already know everything within your comfort zone, unfortunately development is only possible if you step outside of it.

Now, the trick to expanding one's comfort zone is to not change all these areas at once. Try one or maybe two at a time, get used to that and then move on to the others. Changing any one area can be stressful. Doing too much, too soon will send you scurrying back to your comfortable rut.

Understand that expanding doesn't mean getting rid of what's already there. You can make new friends and not abandon the old ones. You can pick up a second hobby and still enjoy the first. This is an addition not a subtraction process.

Once you have taken a small step outside a certain area of your comfort zone, it's important you never go back into your old one. Stay consistent, no matter how unnatural you feel; you have to follow this rule until you know and feel comfortable with everything.

Once you've achieved this you will be on another level and that then becomes your new comfort zone, which then needs challenging again for your continued development. In other words, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Stuart Ross and Neale Lewis
High Growth Coaching

Added: 5th July 2010

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