NE Life Coach Explores Expanding Your Comfort Zone
As a member of the Association of Coaching I am able to join some wonderful development webinars. The most recent was to watch a demonstration of Clean Coaching and the topic that the coachee focused on was their comfort zone.
It resonated strongly with me. I was employed by the same company (ok, it went through lots of changes but essentially the same company) for 26 years before becoming self-employed and running my own coaching and development business. To say I was outside of my comfort zone would perhaps be an understatement!
I’m sure that as a result of that I didn’t take action when I would have in the past. If we don’t feel safe, we don’t act. I have been used to expanding my comfort zone over the years and at first it was certainly uncomfortable but as I got used to testing and trying new skills, new roles, new responsibilities I was able to gradually feel at ease with pushing the limits of my comfort zone.
So, what was different when I began running my own business?
On reflection, I think it was about feeling safe. If we don’t feel safe then we aren’t going to expand our comfort zone.
There is a clear difference between feeling uncomfortable and unsafe. There can be many opportunities that make us feel uncomfortable and there can be a number of reasons for it. It’s also fair to say that there are times when we confuse the two. If we can learn the difference between these two states which may lead to us being more willing to follow through on expanding our comfort zone.
We can then make the conscious decision to not do things that are unsafe as they introduce too much risk but we can take advantage of new opportunities even if they make us feel uncomfortable. It also helps us understand that feeling uncomfortable when we do something new doesn’t mean you’re unsafe. This discomfort is temporary.
Picture yourself going into a new situation and saying, “OK, this is new. I’m going to feel uncomfortable for a while and that’s alright, I will still be safe. Feeling uncomfortable will pass.”
In my own situation I think I let the feelings of not being safe override feeling uncomfortable. Moving from a regular monthly salary for 26 years to generating your own income is scary. It didn’t feel safe. I allowed the feeling of being unsafe to touch on everything new. It was as if the opportunities to expand my comfort zone in smaller ways were being limited because I was so far outside my comfort zone overall. That overwhelming feeling of being unsafe, working without a safety net if you will, was preventing me from expanding smaller comfort zones to try something new and uncomfortable.
What do you feel when you try to expand your comfort zone? Are you confusing feeling unsafe with feeling uncomfortable