Just Do It!
Three Steps to Stretch Your Comfort Zone
You did not hear from me in April for a good reason: I was pushing my limits on a 16-day adventure tour in Costa Rica. I must admit this trip was the most “exciting, exhilarating, scary, and fun filled discovery-stretch my comfort zone” kind of trip.
In this crazy adventure, I learned a few things about myself and about getting out of my comfort zone… again. And so it inspired me the topic for this month newsletter in which I want to share with you three steps to help you stretch your comfort zone when in the face of fear. Whether it’s at the office or in your personal life, these might help you move to action. Here we go:
Make the decision
First you have to decide you will stretch your comfort zone and commit to doing whatever it takes. Let’s say you wish you could do an outstanding presentation but you’re afraid of public speaking. Or you wish you could ask your boss if you can work from home one day a week but you’re afraid he will say no, or your colleagues won’t like it. Or maybe you need to talk to a colleague about their rude way of talking to you, but you’re afraid he will react in a way you are not prepared to deal with. Whatever the reason is, the first step is to make the decision to stretch that comfort zone. I experienced it first thing when I signed up for a ziplining activity in Costa Rica. Ever since I had booked that trip, I wanted to do ziplining but I was also afraid. I had made the decision before going, but once there I wasn’t sure anymore. With a little help from my husband who said: “Just Do it”, I finally kept my decision and I signed up. Maybe you need to sign up for a public speaking course. Just make the decision and start.
The second step into stretching your comfort zone is to embrace fear. The fear that you might have about doing that particular presentation, or going up to your boss and talk about something delicate, or address an issue with a colleague… simply observe the emotion, feel it and move forward anyway. Whatever it is, you need to develop the courage to do whatever it is you decided you would do. As I was listening to our guide giving us instructions about ziplining, I was sooo afraid! I was terrified! So much so that tears were rolling down my cheeks. I wasn’t sure anymore if I wanted to do it; but I had committed, I was already wearing all the equipment, I had paid for it and I did not want to let my husband down since he was doing it to support me. So, I said to myself: “ok! Let’s do this. Embrace that fear and be courageous.” Remember that courage is easier when you have trust.
So the next step is to practice extending trust. First trust yourself. Trust that you can do that presentation and feel proud. Trust that you can ask your boss and deal with his/her answer, or trust yourself that you can deal with whatever outcomes a situation represents for you. I see trust in three levels:
- Trusting yourself that you are good enough, and that you can also learn
- Trusting others that they will respond in the best way they can, and
- Trusting that life is bringing you situations to help you learn and develop
For me, practicing trust on that ziplining experience was very useful when the last part of the course was about doing what they call a “Tarzan Jump”. The Tarzan jump is a 45-meter jump (150 feet) from a tiny platform in the middle of the jungle!! Of course I was terrified. I had to trust the guides that they had tied me up okay, trust that I would be okay and trust life that these cables would hold. After that jump, I felt exhilarated and proud… really… really proud to have stretched my comfort zone in the face of fear.
Next time you are faced with a situation where you have to stretch your comfort zone, remember you need to decide you will commit, and then feel the fear but don’t let it stop you. And finally trust that you will be ok, so you can Just Do It!
All the best in your next act of courage!