“A comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.”

Yeh, yeh! Isn’t Wiki great?!

Sure, any of us could stay where a steady level of performance is possible. If it means that a steady level of performance is possible, what’s so bad about that?

Comfort zones are comforting. Like a warm bed in the morning. Like a cup of tea and digestive biscuit (or five) in the afternoon. Like snuggly PJs and an easy movie (or your favourite card game) in the evening.

Your comfort zone is not the place where growth takes place. It is not the place where change takes place. Ah, yes, change. Let’s talk about change.

Scary?

To change or not to change?

Aka: to grow or not to grow?

The emotion most associated with change (before it happens) is fear. We all fear change to some degree. To be honest, I’m a little sceptical of changing my scheduling app (will it integrate with iCal?) I’m a bit fearful of moving hosting provider (will my website break?) I’m afraid to change my health insurance provider (will I have the same level of cover?) I’m terrified to change my motorbike (will I manage the bigger engine?) I’m petrified to change (upgrade) my skis this season (will I go too fast and injure myself?) I’m absolutely terrified to a bungee jump (will I break my back?).

So I’ll stay the same, happy out in my comfort zone. The only problem with this is by staying the same, I become stagnant. I don’t push myself, I don’t stretch myself beyond my current capabilities, to learn new capabilities. That’s all fine, as long as I don’t need to grow my business, improve my ski skills, learn to drive a bigger motorbike, or improve the hosting and security for my websites.

Fear is a false emotion appearing real

I didn’t make that up. It’s a well-known acronym because only danger really exists. Fear doesn’t exist – it’s in our heads, appearing as something that we should obey. Falling 50m is dangerous. But I’m not up at the podium to experience that danger. Crashing a motorcycle at 200km/hr is dangerous. But my current bike cannot even go that fast (aside from the fact you’ll be lucky to actually witness me doing 130km/h anyway).

So it’s the self-talk we give ourselves that stops us changing – growing. We are so resourceful that we can come up with all the reasons, and some, to simply not move beyond our comfort zone and grow our business.

Before you can transform negative thoughts and feelings, you need to become aware of them, so here’s a list of beliefs that may need updating!

Let’s flush out a few false beliefs we might have about ourselves. Apply this exercise to your current business:

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Step 1 – Fill out Column 1 below

COLUMN ONE COLUMN TWO
• When under pressure I ……………………….………………………. • When under pressure I ……………………….……………………….
• I often feel guilty about ………………………………………………………. • I often feel guilty about ……………………………………………………….
• When ………………………. happens I stress out and feel like ………………………. • When ………………………. happens I stress out and feel like ……………………….
• My Achilles’ heel (greatest weakness) is ………………………. • My Achilles’ heel (greatest weakness) is ……………………….
• I am always trying to stop ……………………..…………. from happening. • I am always trying to stop ……………………..…………. from happening.
• When the unexpected happens I ……………………………………………………….. • When the unexpected happens I ………………………………………………………..
• I always try to ……………………………………………………….. • I always try to ………………………………………………………..
• The biggest obstacle that stops me loving and approving of myself is ………………………. • The biggest obstacle that stops me loving and approving of myself is ……………………….
• What drives most of my behavior is ……………………………………………. • What drives most of my behavior is …………………………………………….
• I am afraid of ……………………………………………………….. • I am afraid of ………………………………………………………..
• I seek my …………..……’s approval (always / mostly / usually / occasionally) • I seek my …………..……’s approval (always / mostly / usually / occasionally)
• My most frequent negative / uncomfortable emotion is feeling ………………………. • My most frequent negative / uncomfortable emotion is feeling ……………………….
• The feeling I dislike the most is ………………………. • The feeling I dislike the most is ……………………….
• I need to learn to ……………………………………………………….. • I need to learn to ………………………………………………………..

Congratulations – that took courage!

Step 2

Now you have identified your false beliefs, go back and fill in Column 2 writing how you would like to be.

For example:
“When under pressure I … panic” ->> “When under pressure I … think about the situation calmly and ask for support.”

The exercise above will help you identify the limited beliefs you have about yourself (and your business). Your beliefs create your value system. But your self-talk influences your beliefs.

Negative Self Talk

Negative Self Talk can result in:

  • Not setting clear goals
  • Not concentrating on the important stuff
  • Not breaking the bigger picture down
  • Blame
  • Not taking responsibility
  • Sabotaging own efforts
  • Stress
There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference!
The little difference is attitude.
The big difference is whether it is 🙁 or 🙂

Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)

Think ~ Say ~ Do

  1. Watch your thoughts; they become words
  2. Watch your words; they become actions
  3. Watch your actions; they become habits
  4. Watch your habits; they become your character
  5. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny

Heavy stuff, eh? But think about it:

When you think about something, you talk about it that way. Then because you talk about it, you have to justify that and act it out. That becomes habitual over time and ultimately becomes you!

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So you MUST think about how you WANT your character to be formed and how you are going to grow and manage those new aspects of your business that need it to stretch and do your creativity justice.

Change your belief
change the results
change the experience

“If you believe you can or cannot do something,
you are probably right” ~ Henry Ford

Pins in mask - Why your Comfort Zone is killing your business

The 4 Cs of Change

Firstly, it can be useful to know that the COMFORT ZONE is a part of the change process. But it’s just the biginning:

1. Comfort Zone – happy enough, the work and clients are easy, allows time for other things

2. Challenge Zone – bored, thinking about something else, unsure

3. Creative Zone – new ideas, new energy, make plans

4. Content Zone – enjoying new job, confidence, affluence, self-esteem

What can you do to get out of your comfort zone?

  • Accept that it is a natural stage of change
  • Work on self-awareness about what you are actually capable of
  • Go through your negative self-talk and decide which beliefs to dump/change
  • Improve your positive mental attitude (PMA): the central idea is that one can increase achievement through optimistic thought processes
  • Learn to be the cause of your growth, not just the effect – take charge
  • Refine or re-define your vision, goals and roles.
  • Work on a clear sense of who you are, what you are about and what your values and beliefs are
  • Regain clarity of your inner self – this will develop clarity in your outer world also
  • Observe yourself from within – you will become more self-aware
  • Self-awareness increases self-understanding
  • Self-understanding allows you to develop
  • Self-development leads to self Actualisation.

And then, my friend, you will have space and permission to go to stage 2 – the Challenge Zone. Uncomfortable yes, but until you move into it, you cannot move out the other side into the Creative zone – where the fun happens!!

And remember, there is no fear, only danger. Tigers are dangerous. But only in the right conditions. No joke, I came face to face with a black mamba in South Africa once. Literally. He was hanging from a tree. We both backed away and retreated. No drama. No fear. Only later did the fear set in of “what could have been”. And that was with a past event. The conditions were favourable and we both survived to tell the tale.

Approaching or reacting to a black mamba is dangerous. Having the yearning to be more or to grow your business is not dangerous. It poses a risk, but that can be calculated to a degree. Do your due diligence and move to your Challenge Zone.

Perhaps I should rename this post to “How meeting a black mamba can save your business” 😉

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