What Happens When You Stretch Your Comfort Zone
I always like to tell people how all the unicorns, rainbows and magic live outside your comfort zone, and I 100% know that to be true.
All the good stuff happens when you get over yourself and push yourself further than you thought you could go.
So i’m someone who knows this and consistently pushes myself outside my comfort zone, and something interesting happened this last week.
I’ve just returned from a 5 day speaker certification event in Frankfurt and I wanted to share a few things that I noticed while I was there.
The event and the course itself didn’t feel outside my comfort zone at all, I love this stuff. Learning lights me on fire so I was excited to go and I’m more than happy to hold my own and speak to people I don’t know.
No problemmo (even that is awesome to say because I used to be exactly the opposite!)
However, there were a few little things along the way where I hadn’t really appreciated the significance of it beforehand.
A time for firsts!
First of all, it was my first course like this that was outside of the UK.
I would normally always say no to those.
It was a pattern, automatic habit where my brain would say no.
It was just a fact to me that I wouldn’t do it. I’d look at the pitch with disappointment and no thought of how I could actually make it happen or the fact that if I were to just challenge it, it was totally rubbish that it was out of my reach.
I have never been a very good ‘traveller’ to the point that I have ever been abroad on my own. It was something that just wasn’t ‘me’.
I have always found the process of getting to the airport, getting through security, finding the gate and takeoff incredibly stressful so i’ve avoided it.
I never went travelling and would avoid anywhere that didn’t have a direct flight. The whole thing just totally outside my comfort zone.
So to say I was even going in the first place was a big thing for me.
I still invested thousands to go even though my pesky inner voice was telling me not to and decided I would just have to figure it out.
So, then I booked the flight, found the hotel, got myself to the plane and off I went! I was so proud of myself…even at 35 years old ha!
Another couple of people in the same group as me were on the same flight, I had met them before but didn’t know them, and usually this would have given me a huge sense of relief, someone to cling to so I didn’t have to worry.
Observations and promises lead to good stuff
So it was really interesting to observe my thoughts, and I was a tiny bit disappointed that I wasn’t going the whole hog on my own.
Not because I didn’t want to be with the people i’d met.
I felt like I’d cheated myself out of a growth and learning experience a bit.
I made a promise to myself to consistently get myself out of my comfort zone for the duration of the trip.
All too easy
The thing that was so interesting about this for me was just how easy it is for us to cheat ourselves out of those experiences that will make us grow.
This leads me onto my next point about surrounding yourself with people who expect more from you and for you. Those who make it impossible to creep back to old patterns and always move you forwards, effortlessly.
I definitely surrounded myself with the right people for the remainder of the trip and my comfort zone was non existent by the end.
Be a front row person
I consider myself a confident, assertive person who is more than happy to get uncomfortable. I thought I was always making sure I was doing getting outside my comfort zone.
This week made me realise all the times, that seemed unimportant at the time, I was cheating myself out of growth.
This trip, I became a front row person!
I’ve always sort of judged the people that hang around early waiting for the doors to open at conferences. That then run to the front, stick their hands up to ask or answer questions, that dance on the stage at the breaks. But I hadn’t thought about why.
At school we called them ‘Gary get-involveds.’ It was seen as a negative to be a ‘keen bean’, that it was ‘un-cool’ in some way so it shouldn’t be done if you want to be liked and accepted.
Well…this week I became one ha!
I was with two wonderful creatures Carla and Melissa who pushed me to be more, by proxy got me to notice and then challenge my judgement and to realise a few things I hadn’t really noticed.
Be a Gary Get-involved!
The people who have the biggest breakthroughs, the people who were having the most fun and gaining the most insights were the people who were willing to get involved, like ALL IN involved, just by grabbing my hand and getting me to sit in the front row. That’s all they did for me to have all these realisations ha!
It was so gloriously simple and profound all at the same time.
So when on day 2 we met up with another glorious creature Sarah who had been sat somewhere in the middle of the room it got even more interesting.
She was a little more like me.
More of a ‘few rows back, towards the middle is fine’ kind of person.
It would have been very easy to slip back into patterns and I could avoid the front row and go back to the comfort of not having to get involved. But then the magic happened. I realised and recognised my thoughts and I encouraged her to be a front row person too. For the rest of our time there we were ALL front row people.
Now I was a fully fledged front row person but I wasn’t quite yet a dance on stage person, I didn’t feel I had to be at this point.
Carla had been training through all the breaks to lead the crowd in the ‘wake up’ dance routine to get the energy in the room up, and on the last day we were coming back in the room and I heard her on the mic.
Without a second thought when she said ‘I need some dancers on stage please’ I was up there. In front of almost 400 people.
Literally not a second thought. I also had a great time.
The importance of people on the same path
We met up with so many people on the same path all with the same goals and every one of us talked about how amazing it was to have those kind of deep conversations you can’t really have with a lot of people outside of that kind of environment.
Do they give or take energy
We’d been doing 7am-2am most nights in training, we were exhausted, we finished on the Sunday at 9.30 pm. A group of us went for dinner and all of a sudden it was 3am…and we could have carried on talking. The other message here is who you surround yourself with can either give you or take away energy!!
Look at your circle
So, look at who you surround yourself with right now. It’s really easy to listen to the quote ‘you’re the sum total of the 5 people you spend the most time with’ and agree but not really do anything about it.
Until you really, truly see it in practice you just don’t see the huge significance of the truth of that statement.
I really see it in my mastermind too. When other people have wins and successes people push for them more themselves. It raises you up just by being around it. If you see people being negative it brings you down, right?
If you are surrounded by people who don’t push you outside your comfort zone, who actively encourage you to not get out of it, or who pull you back into old habits you’re trying to get out of, or make it too easy for you to stay comfortable then what do you think is going to happen?
If you surround yourself with the people who do the opposite, who drag you up with them, who support you no matter what and encourage you to be more. What do you think is going to happen?
Make that decision for yourself. Look at who you surround yourself with and recognise the patterns where it’s easy for you to slip back and play small.
It doesn’t mean go cull all your friends or anything drastic. It means notice who pushes you to be more (in a positive way, not beating you over the head and telling you you aren’t good enough ha!!) and who doesn’t. You can always learn to love people from a distance. It’s about who you do and don’t have business conversations with.
Another example would be if you want to change any area of your life like health for example, surround yourself with people with higher standards of health for themselves.
The yogis, the runners, the people who eat clean and don’t arrange dinner with the people who are going to suggest Five guys and make you feel bad for wanting to eat healthier.
It’s not about you, it’s about them.
It was really noticeable for me when I wanted to drink less. There were people who just didn’t want to meet up anymore.
It’s really easy to take that personally, but it’s really not personal.
You simply highlight something in them that they don’t want to look at.
That’s fine, they don’t have to. But it is something that comes with personal growth. You’ll pull people up with you and others will get left behind but that’s their choice.
Of course it feels uncomfortable, it’s kind of exactly what it means to go outside of your comfort zone! But when you’re around people who lift you up and force you to grow…what does that mean for your life?
So where in your life can you see this happening?
Where can you become aware of that little inner voice that is trying to hold you back?
What are you going to choose to change?
The best thing is, once you stretch your comfort zone…it never goes back 😉
If you know that now is the time to start changing things for yourself and want to explore this further, have any questions or want some accountability to make sure you’re doing the things you need to then please book in a free discovery call so we can see what needs to happen to get you from where you’re at right now, to the successful business owner you know you can be!!
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Fran Excell, mindset coach for self sabotaging female entrepreneurs at www.franexcell.com