Monday, December 7, 2009

Zoned Out on Comfort

It is 4:48 a.m.

Upon waking, a question reappears out of the brain fog.

"So, what gets YOU out of bed in the morning"

Good question.

Been asking it a lot lately. And am still OK with the answer.

But, rather than explain it in a self-indulgent, pontificating fashion, I would prefer to demonstrate through real-life situations and let you figure it out.

So, here goes.

If you're in the habit of listening to what people actually say, you will start to notice the more a phrase is casually tossed around, the less effective it becomes, reducing the potential impact it has. One of the best examples is the well-worn platitude to "think outside the box", which has been squawked and parroted so often, it now serves as verbal evidence of a boxed-in thinker.

Today on TSB we tackle "comfort zones".

For the sake of clarity, Wikipedia defines a "comfort zone" this way:

"The comfort zone is a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk"

But, wait!

There's more!!!

A person's personality can be described by his or her comfort zones. Highly successful persons may routinely step outside their comfort zones, to accomplish what they wish. A comfort zone is a type of mental conditioning that causes a person to create and operate mental boundaries. Such boundaries create an unfounded sense of security. Like inertia, a person who has established a comfort zone in a particular axis of his or her life, will tend to stay within that zone without stepping outside of it.

But what good is theory unless you take action to support it?

Last week, about ten people were invited to take center stage at an upcoming national conference with an invitation to speak before the entire delegation - an audience of about 150 people. In each conversation, the person being invited responded in knee jerk fashion with phrases that sounded like:

"I'm going to have to say no to that one. I'm just not that comfortable with the idea of public speaking, especially before such a large group. I know it's a good idea to step out of my comfort zone, but I think I'll pass this time".

Whether speaking to a class or engaging in one-on-one conversation, asking if it's a good idea to step out of comfort zones will routinely generate unanimous agreement to the affirmative. It's a slam-dunk, just like it makes sense to think beyond the borders of a certain, four-sided geometric shape. In other words, escaping comfort zones makes good sense theoretically, but just don't ask me to do it.

That's why it's always refreshing to wake up and find an e-mail from one of the few people you run across who will say yes.

And actually turning "knowing" into "doing":

Hi Gair,

Well I have been thinking about it and I am scared to death at the thought but will give it a shot!

I really don't know where to even start with this process though? I am generally not great at memorizing lines or scripts and I am a bit of a slow reader. Always have been. I like to speak off the cuff and roll with the punches bu I don't think that will work for this task.

Where do we get started and how do we proceed?



By taking the first major step out of his comfort zone Rod is making a decision to raise his anxiety level, engendering a stress response, the result of which is an enhanced level of concentration and focus. Or put another way, Rod is scared shitless, but will look the bastard called F.E.A.R.* in the eye and do it anyway as he takes his game up a notch.

This is a well-worn path dreamers and achievers have followed for centuries, and each time it begins with a daring first step while embracing the wisdom of uncertainty.

What do you think will happen to Rod as a result of his decision? How would you react if you were in that audience, knowing that he is anything but comfortable and as he approaches the stage, will be feeling more nervous than a chicken running into Colonel Sanders? Will Rod die falling from the nest or soar even higher? Will he fall flat or stand even taller?

But, enough about Rod.

What about you?

What's on your mind as you wake up these days?

Is there a challenge before you that demands a decision this week or this month? It could be anything ranging from career choices to personal relationships, diet, exercise, finances, travel, etc. Will it be enough of a challenge to make your body quiver, as it forces you to stretch your wings and leave the cozy comfort of the "zone"? Deep down, in a place that you know well, how can you expect to become what you want to be by staying where you are?

If you’re afraid to venture out, take comfort in knowing all winners were once filled with doubt.

Which way will you turn?

"Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition"

p.s. ... *F.E.A.R. = False Expectation About Risk.

p.s.s ...Just remember, it's supposed to be hard.

p.s.s.s. ... Does "The Answer" actually have one on this issue?

1 comment:

Ian Varty said...

I really enjoyed this morning's blog! The seed for this week (this life?) has firmly been planted.