Most people don’t like change, they prefer to live life within their comfort zone. It’s what they know because change can be confronting. However, in order to get the results you want in life, the challenge is moving out of your comfort zone, overcoming the fear zone, jumping into the learning zone where you eventually land in the growth zone.
Successful people have made this journey by taking the initial risk to leave their comfort zone. Those who struggle to make this shift on their own have found huge benefits in hiring a life coach or business coach to help them with their journey.
The growth zone is the only zone in which you will be able to achieve exceptional success. This is the one zone where you have reached your goals and living the life you dreamed of.
The Comfort Zone
The most common way that you safeguard your individual and relational safety, is to not venture outside your comfort zone. As an entrepreneur, employee, or even as an individual, it is likely you are staying with what you know because it’s comfortable. Therefore you never look to leave there because it’s the zone in which you are used to evolving. This zone is called your comfort zone in which you have developed a heightened sense of control and security.
The problem is, nothing grows in your comfort zone. If you chose to do nothing, be nothing, then what you get is nothing. All decisions, even doing nothing has a result or consequence. It’s akin to sticking your head in the sand and pretending that’s all there is to life.
You would think that your relationships would have the greatest impact on your life. It’s not the intimate relationships that you have with your parents, siblings, spouse, friends, and colleagues that affect you the most, it’s the relationship you have with yourself. It’s your thoughts and beliefs that are your constant companion which affects the quality of your life.
When you say things to yourself like, “I’m not good enough” or I don’t have the talent” gives you an excuse to keep living within your comfort zone. It’s bad enough when you have a critical judgemental thought perched on your shoulder at any time, imagine this happening for a lifetime. These self-deprecating thoughts are damaging to your self-esteem and confidence levels which is why you tend to stay within your comfort zone. Life coaches see this all the time with their clients which is a major reason they become a valuable advisor.
Think of your brain as hardware and your thoughts software. You can reprogram your thoughts to help you overcome the fear you feel if you were to step outside your comfort zone. Learning to break through from the confines of old limiting beliefs is the key to leaving your comfort zone. By busting through your fears this will catapult you into the learning zone and when you begin to transform your life into one of constant successes.
The Fear Zone
Along with limiting beliefs and self-deprecating thoughts, the main reason you fail to step outside your comfort zone has to do with the emotion of fear.
Fear is the body’s natural response to a threat and triggers the fight or flight response to prepare you to flee from danger or, stay and fight. Fear has its place as it is meant to protect you when faced with legitimate fears like being chased by a lion or walking home in the dark. Fear triggers the fight or flight response even if it’s only a perceived threat like stepping outside your comfort zone. A perceived threat also triggers the fight or flight response even if there is no chance of being harmed.
Perceived threats exist in your subconscious mind and link back to the fear of rejection, the fear of failure, and the fear of success all the thoughts that lurk in your subconscious mind. These emotions are mostly a result of what happened during your formative years which causes anxiety as an adult.
Coming out of the fear zone requires a number of things from you; courage, compassion, wisdom, and an overarching vision for a better future.
Passage through a zone of fear into the learning zone can last for some time. It’s a combination of self-belief and a powerful vision for the future that will help you make the leap and successfully cross into this zone. Once you cross into the learning zone, you suddenly become aware of the opportunities available to you. Inspired by your vision for the future, you then make the decision to face any challenges and problems you might encounter in the future.
When you operate in the learning zone you begin to let go of things you can’t control and learn to respond instead. You identify your emotions, acknowledge them, and take stock of what is happening around you. You embark on a journey of taking responsibility for your life and ditch the excuses and the blame. You become aware of your blind spots and seek feedback about your barriers to success knowing there is support everywhere you turn.
Your brain is just like your body, it needs coaching and training to conquer bad habits and create new neural pathways. The brain is more like an ecosystem than a machine hard-wired by genes. Neuroplasticity is the selective connection between neurons in your brain and what learning does is help to build new brain cells and strengthen the relationships between them. Neurons that are weak, unused, or that don’t fit the job are pruned as you learn new habits and skills. Neurons that are exercised get stronger and develop more connections that fire faster as you master a new skill.
It’s only by crossing the line of certainty and familiarity, you can grow.
The growth zone is the zone in which you will be able to achieve exceptional success. This is the zone where you will have realized your vision, achieved your goals and objectives, where you end up living the life you dreamed of. It’s also the zone where you move back into the learning zone as you define even more ambitious new ones.
The growth zone is not characterized by climbing mountains, leaping from tall buildings, or wrestling alligators, it’s living in a rich, vibrant landscape that prompts you to move forward, rather than standing still. It’s a place where you have the opportunity to thrive not merely survive.
Expanding your comfort zone beyond the fear zone and learning zone requires multiple progressions to achieve long-lasting results. Think of your comfort zone as a rubber band. If you stretch it suddenly, you might be deceived by its apparent larger shape. However, once you let go of the rubber band, it might hit you in the face but it won’t retain the new shape because the rubber band will return to its original form. The learning zone is like taking that same rubber band and you keep stretching every day until it loses its elasticity and takes on a new shape.
On a Final Note
Your struggles mean you are growing for struggles are good for you. Resistance manifests itself with behaviors such as avoidance, denial, or procrastination and paralyzes you into inaction. Resolve to live life to create memories that will last forever, not live a life of regret. Stop blaming resistance for your inaction to move out of your comfort zone, it makes you run away from your fears instead of confronting them. By living your life in the learning zone and growth zone, you welcome new possibilities daily.
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