When looking at the goals you want to achieve and the things you want to accomplish, it is easy to get to the place of overwhelm that I have mentioned frequently in my blogs. When I was first starting my business I had to allow myself to be comfortable with discomfort and overwhelm. Why? Because in order to reach your larger goals you need to get out of your comfort zone.
I attended a goals workshop in the beginning of this year. The speaker introduced me to a concept I had already known, but for some reason at that point and time it made perfect sense to me. Instead of looking at something as uncomfortable, you need to look at it as out of your comfort zone. The difference here is you may be resisting something because it feels in conflict with your typical response to situations. It poses a challenge to do things differently than you might have done in the past. For some people it may be doing public speaking or appearing on live interviews. You will know if it is out of your comfort zone if you get a slight feeling of fear. How do you know if the fear is telling you something is wrong? Dr. Martha Beck, my coaching mentor, explained it this way: if you look at the fear and taking the action feels like jumping into a clear pool of water, it is healthy or “clean” fear. If you look at the fear and you feel dread and the water looks murky, there is something in the situation that conflicts with your core beliefs. We call this “dirty” fear. It could be that there is something you have not worked out with yourself or that the situation may be unethical in your eyes. It is up to you to get clear about your true thoughts about your goals. Are you using excuses because it’s out of your comfort zone? This is a common reaction; people will hide behind their comfort and limited beliefs as way to impede their own progress out of fear.
The speaker at the workshop listed the source of the next activity as unknown; then proceeded to draw a circle shape and put a line through the center. She labeled the parts above and below as the comfort zone and the learning zone. She pointed to the center line and called this the panic zone. When you think of a regular goal that is easily attainable you are in your comfort zone. When you make the goal slightly more difficult you approach the learning zone, where you may need to research and play around with logistical issues so you can attain the goal. Coming out of the comfort zone to the learning zone creates personal and professional growth.
When you create what appears to be an unreachable goal, how do you feel? Are you nervous and overwhelmed? Uncertain of the outcome? This is called the panic zone. If you can give yourself the encouragement to push towards the panic zone, this is where accelerated learning and growth will occur. It is this level of personal growth that may lead to a real possibility of transformation. You may develop a renewed sense of personal strength and create a life that you may have seen as impossible in the past.
Set your goals as close to the line of chaos as possible. Sounds too scary? Take it as close as you can and you will notice your creative juices flowing. Then intense learning opportunities will occur and they will manifest positive changes in your professional and personal life. I’ve been getting many responses from readers to this month’s contest “tell us about something that seemed like a mistake or complete failure but then turned into a great success”. Many of you have pushed yourself through the panic of failure and arrived at successful outcomes. Haven’t tried it? Maybe it’s time to examine what your comfort zone is doing for you.