Stretching the Comfort Zone

Stretching the Comfort Zone

This week I am talking about stretching the comfort zone. Because in the last week, I stepped out of mine! I’m relatively introverted. OK, I know what you’re thinking! You’re probably thinking – you’re so not introverted! Showing up on live social media videos, recording podcasts, running classes to groups of people you don’t always know. But here is the thing – I actually am an introvert. Ask my partner – she will confirm it. It is almost impossible to get me out socialising because it is my worst nightmare. Particularly if there is alcohol involved and lots of noise. That one is an energy thing to be honest. As I’ve opened up my spirituality with energy work, I’ve become quite sensitive. And I don’t drink alcohol anymore so it no longer appeals to me to be in that type of environment.

However, I have managed to stretch my comfort zone a little over the years in other ways. When I first realised that I needed to appear on video – for online courses or worse – Facebook Live – I balked at the idea. But I realised that there was no way I could create good quality online course materials if I didn’t make videos. And, I knew that I needed to appear regularly on live videos or reels. Granted the live stuff has taken a back seat recently but it will be back soon (watch this space!)

Stretching the comfort zone

Digging Deep

I had to push myself and dig deep. To find a little courage to do the first few videos. And you know what? The sky didn’t fall in. It was OK. Same thing with recording meditations and podcasts. I’m from Northern Ireland (as if you couldn’t guess from the accent) and hearing my voice back was so difficult at the start. I’ve gradually come to accept it – and now it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m even a teacher on Insight Timer – the free meditation app. If you haven’t seen it you really should check that out.

You see, that’s the thing with the comfort zone. Once you stretch it a little, it expands and gives you a bit more room to breathe. And what previously felt terrifying no longer causes you an issue. You’ve grown and so has your comfort zone.

So this last week I had to give it another wee stretch! I had become very insular. Quiet as a mouse in some fabulous membership spaces that I am in. Not taking full advantage of the networking and business opportunities. All because I was too shy and introverted to comment or engage.

Being Visible

I’m in a wonderful community with the fabulous Desislava Dobreva. She is my business mentor and a wonderful breath of fresh air. She is audacious, bold and amazingly confident. Just being in her energy activates me in the best way possible. Yet I was hiding in the shadows. Not really putting myself out there. Definitely not posting anything in the group that would draw attention my way. And it is such a waste. Des says all the time that the community is the best place to network and engage. By doing so you naturally grow your own following! Makes sense right?

So I slowly began to stretch the comfort zone. I began to post questions. Sometimes I would even be brave enough to share a link and ask for feedback on my content or website. And again – you know what? The sky hasn’t fallen in on me yet.

In fact, I asked for feedback about this podcast. And I now have meetings set up with some amazing people. One from the UK, one from New York and another from Costa Rica. I bit the bullet and actually followed up with them after they said they’d love to be guests. We set up Zoom calls to suit our time zones and I am really excited to see where it leads. And to bring fresh new content to you! One is a meditation expert, one survived a brain tumour and transformed her life through nature and gardening and the other is an expert on soul contracts.

Service to others

I’m commenting more on other people’s posts. Answering their questions and making myself useful. And it feels good! So already I know that the comfort zone has stretched out. Being of service and helping other people is one of my key values in life. So I suppose that helps me in this instance. And the comfort zone stretches out without too much drama.

We believe it is safer and easier to stay put in our comfort zones. But actually it stunts our growth. We stagnate. Life becomes stuck in a rut and boredom creeps in. Then fear. Our primitive lizard brains freak out if we try to even consider change, let alone stretching the comfort zone. And if we aren’t careful that fear stops us living our lives. And we run the risk of dying without ever being brave enough to do the things we really dream of doing.

The Big Leap

Then there are times when we do stretch the comfort zone. But only a little. And we then sit happily in our zone of expertise perhaps. Doing what we are good at but rarely taking any other risks. Not really pushing ourselves beyond this upper limit. Gay Hendricks talks about this alot in his book The Big Leap. It’s an excellent book which I recommend you read. In fact, our Soul Food Members book club has it on the agenda at the moment.

He talks about how we upper limit ourselves. Kind of like hitting a glass ceiling and not pushing through. We stretch the comfort zone and move into the zone of expertise. But we don’t push on past and hit the zone of genius. We sabotage ourselves. He calls it the upper limit problem. I wholeheartedly urge you to read the book. You’ll recognise yourself in so many of the examples he quotes.

I read the book in January. And I’m going to read it again with my members because it really helped me identify where I fall prey to this upper limit problem. But reading about it and being aware of it is just the start. Every day I am working on pushing through the glass ceilings. Stretching the comfort zone. And stretching the zone of expertise too. Because I really want to be operating in my zone of genius, bringing value to the world and being of service.

Challenge Accepted

So I’m challenging my little introverted self to be brave. To maintain my boundaries of course and still say no to things that I don’t want to do. But to start saying yes too! Saying yes to making myself visible. Being bolder in my content and my work. And integrating and applying what I am learning every day with the fabulous Des.

I’ll leave you with a question – if you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do with your life?

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