When you learn to become comfortable with discomfort, its is possible to get more out of life.
We can love life more we can create space to grow and we can become a better version of our current selves.
The question that must be asked, Why is it that that certain things create anxiety for us and why is it that at these times, we tend to stick with what we know?
Comfort zone conversations come up frequently when I am coaching, and a common theme that emerges when I support people in my role as a life coach. We can all feel stuck at some point in our lives and experience the discomfort of wanting more but feeling uncomfortable about charging forward. We find ourselves making up excuses that keep us thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same feelings, doing the same old thing and ultimately getting what we always got from life.
To make more sense of this, let’s explore the power of our thinking processes a little further. Dr Joe Dispenza describes how to break old habits and strengthen our synapses. Our thoughts, feelings and actions create our personality which in turn influences our ‘personal reality’. Doing something different to the norm means changing your mind and this needs new ways of thinking. This is often where life gets uncomfortable. The inner critic in our head starts to chatter in the background. Its intention is usually to keep us safe and this often leads us to sticking with what we know.
At this point we have the option to either go back to the comfort of what we have always known or to get comfortable with the unknown. This means challenging the ‘gremlins’ in our head that can hold us back and tells us to stay put. We either take heed and stay small and safe, lean out of our comfort zone, gently dipping a toe into the unknown or we leap in and create the unknown.
A life coach can help people to do this. Together we can uncover the inner or outer blocks that are getting in the way, heighten self awareness and create new and helpful ways to think that support change. The best chance of success often involves trying on new thoughts and deciding if they belong in your future. This often means trying out new challenges to support the desired change and growing in the process. Coaching can help create the plan to go forward and create the outcomes that people want with great success.
At this point I would like to introduce the lobster story. It describes the process of how a lobster casts off its shell when it becomes too small. In order to do so it has to find a rock to hide under, cast its shell and this allows it to grow a new one. This story can be used to understand how humans grow. At times of stress, we have a choice to avoid the changes that will ultimately allow us to succeed. We can say ‘no thank you’ and stay put. Often we make things up about why that change was not possible or the right decision. Sometimes it just means that the time was not right for change.
Alternatively, we can say YES, leap in or even tentatively lean into something new and sit with the discomfort. From this we can learn about ourselves. I put myself in this position on a regular basis and I never regret it. If we can repeat similar experiences till the uncomfortable becomes less daunting we can learn new skills, grow a layer of self belief or at the least develop a ‘fail forward’ strategy. Matt Prior introduced me to the latter and I love it. It reminds me that everything we do, and everyone we meet is an opportunity to learn something.
This is the point where I would like to share my top tips with you. When faced with a challenge or a new opportunity that is creating discomfort, here is some food for thought:
- Ask yourself do I actually want to make this change?
Uncertainty may mean that this isn’t the right challenge to whet your appetite
- Play the consequences game
Ask yourself what is the consequence of saying no to this opportunity, also what is the consequence (Or what is possible) if I say yes
- Regarding change, ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen?
This will allow you to explore your biggest fears, conclude how you would tackle any worrisome events and create an action plan should they arise
- Finally a great question to ask yourself …What would I do if I couldn’t fail?
This is a great question. It takes the fearful thinking out of the equation. It lets you embrace the ideal image, and visualise the things that you really want in your life
- Finally PLAN
What is it that you are going to do?
When do you want to achieve this by?
When will you start?
What are the steps that will make this possible?
Who can you tell that will hold you accountable
What can you tell yourself to remind you that this matters? Lots of questions to get you thinking!
In the spirit of growth how do you plan to cast off your shell and find ways to jump, step or lean out of your comfort zone?
A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there