Sounds nice, doesn’t it?!
What would your favourite comfy spot be?
For me, it would be on my sofa, snuggled up with a soft blanket, a great book and some fresh coffee.
But when a comfort zone sounds so good – why are we constantly being told we need to get out of it?!
According to Instagram: “That’s where the magic happens!” and “Where life Begins”!
But one quote I read got me thinking. It said:
“A ship in a harbour is safe – but that’s not what ships are made for.”
And I get that.
Yes, I could stay snuggled up on my sofa all day and it would feel nice, but – even in these days of having a laptop lifestyle – what I can achieve from my sofa is always going to be limited.
Even if I switch my ‘can’t put down thriller’ for a self-development book and gain some fresh knowledge, ideas and perspectives, all this inspiration will only have an impact if I motivate myself to get up off that sofa and start putting that new knowledge into action!
And by “leaving the harbour” and putting my new knowledge to the test and trying new things that feel strange and uncomfortable, I’ll start to discover more about what works and what doesn’t.
By pushing my limits I’ll learn more about my abilities and I’ll grow. And my business, my family and the people I work with will grow along with me.
But while growth is an important part of living a fulfilling life, it’s not the only part. And quite frankly, pushing ourselves to the limit all day every day would be simply exhausting!
At the same time, I don’t condone idling sitting on the sofa all day either.
I believe the key is to define your comfort zone and use this knowledge to comfortably achieve success and happiness.
Sound good? Let’s look at how would this work.
First, you need to understand this...
There are only two things we do in life: the things we love and the things we are being checked on!
Now, imagine for a moment, that you are a business owner like myself.
In running your own business there are, no doubt, a lot of aspects of your work that you love and find very easy to motivate yourself to do every day.
However, there will also be lots of things that you do not love doing - and if these are important things that will grow or support your business, then not doing them can be a problem.
Often the things we don't like doing are the things we don’t feel confident doing as we lack the skills, or at least feel that we do. So, as no one is watching you, you procrastinate and let them dwindle on your To Do list. Of course, you can push outside of your comfort zone to learn the necessary skills, it’s not always so easy to do.
Why? Well, our minds are programmed to keep us safe. So your mind will often work against you when it comes to going outside our comfort zone and venturing into the scary unknown – but, once you are aware of this, you can use that to your advantage and turn your comfort zone into a tool instead of letting it be your straight jacket.
How to turn your comfort zone into a powerful tool for success
Let's take the example of networking to illustrate how you can switch things around and turn your comfort zone into a powerful tool that will drive your success.
Networking is important for anyone keen to get ahead and especially important for small business owners and entrepreneurs. It's where you can meet new contacts, build relationships with your existing contacts, gain referrals, get fresh inspiration and get lots of inside information on your local market. With that in mind, networking needs to be firmly inside your comfort zone to ensure it’s something that gets done.
Now if networking is a skill that is outside your comfort zone, it will be very easy to find excuses not to attend these events. As you start thinking about it and your heartbeat elevates, your subconscious will wake up and get busy. It will start to convince you that not going is a good thing. It will remind you of all the things that can go wrong, and how bad you'll feel when they do. And it will make it very hard for you to push yourself to get to the event.
However, if you start to think differently, and recognise that not attending these events would damaging your business and the future for you and your family, you can make it so that not attending these events will make you feel more uncomfortable than the act of doing networking itself, then things will start to change.
Now, when you start to think about not going to the networking event you'll start to feel uncomfortable and your sub-conscious brain will kick-in and start working in your favour. Remember, its job is to keep you safe, so as you approach the danger zone, it will start to find all sorts of creative ideas to help you get out there and network and save you from stepping out into the unknown.
So this time it will remind you of all the good reasons to go: "They aren't strangers, they are just friends you haven't met yet. Remember Jane you met last time, she was fun, she'll be there. Oh, and don't forget you have those new shoes you've been waiting to show off!"
That may sound complex, but the idea is simple.
Put all the activities you need to do to achieve success in inside your comfort zone, so that you are more compelled to do them – since NOT doing them feels much worse and will wake up your subconscious to give you more power to get them done.
As Tony Robbins says: It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.
It’s all about the habits we make – so making these habits feel comfortable is important.
Apply this concept to everything you want to achieve
Maybe you have a dream holiday planned for the summer, but you want to feel confident in a bikini before you go. You can apply this exact same idea to help you achieve your goal.
Break down what you need to do to achieve that goal in the next five months. Perhaps it’s doing a cleanse, not having desserts with your meals, drinking more water and getting at least three hours of exercise a week.
Put these things inside your comfort zone so that NOT achieving them becomes uncomfortable for you – and you’ll be amazed at how your mind will help you stay within your limits and therefore meet your goals.
So, by all means, push outside your comfort zone to experience growth, but take a moment first to understand what your current comfort zone looks and feels like.
Define your goals, define the steps you need to take to achieve your goals and define your gaps.
Fill your gaps by pushing outside your comfort zone to experience growth and build the skills you need to underpin your success.
But, place the daily activities that, done well and done consistently, will really determine your levels of success And make sure these are firmly inside your comfort zone.
Your comfort zone isn't fixed, it needs to be dynamic and move with your goals, ambitions and growth.
But whatever your goal, you can use your comfort zone to smash it!
What goals are you going to smash?
Share your ideas and experiences in the comments section below.
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