Beyond the Comfort Zone
It is a time of change, a time of uncertainty and a time of much discomfort both internal and external. Appears to be all around us and inside of us. So consequently there is an uptick in stress, anxiety and fear. Our brains so conditioned to seek stability and comfort see the uncertainty and change as a major threat. This is not an essay about what is or isn't a threat but simply an evaluation of how perceived threat impacts our ability to stretch, to grow and soar. Everyone wants success and accomplishment.
We want joy, happiness, fulfillment and peace. We want wealth, abundance and impact. And whether we want all these things or just some of these things they all require the same skill set. Here are a few of the mindsets and skill sets required to get to the next level and achieve the success, wealth and impact you desire: COMFORT IS OVERATED WE NEED TO STRETCH IN ORDER TO GROW EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY GET COMFORTABLE IN THE DISCOMFORT BE WILLING TO FAIL UNATTACH YOUR EGO FROM YOUR RESULTS TRUST YOUR INTUITION I will tackle each of these in my next few posts.
COMFORT, SAFETY & CERTAINTY:
Somewhere along our lives we learned that we should be seeking comfort, safety, security and certainty. And we engineered a whole bunch of processes to try to ensure that we could have all these things. Things like getting an education, getting a job, having health insurance, getting married. And don't get me wrong there isn't anything wrong with these things the problem is that we BELIEVED that IF we had these things then we woulf be safe, comfortable, secure and happy.
And well, I see a lot of folks who are just unhappy and disappointed that things didn't turn out the way they "expected" (or where taught). And we hang on to these ideas as if they were the rope or life vest in a wild rapid. The reality is that in life THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES. NOTHING ZIP Heck we are not even guaranteed whether we will be alive tomorrow or not. But we don't like to think about that. Yet..."The more we try to control the uncontrollable the more out of control we feel!"
Because trying to control the uncontrollable makes us feel crazy, and out of control, so we just tighten everything else and pretty soon we are spinning in our own spot!
This is where the serenity prayer is so helpful:
"Grant me the courage to change the things I can, to let go of the things I can't and the wisdom to know the difference."
Sometimes we need to figure it out as we go...sometimes we need to take one step forward without knowing what the next step is...sometimes we need to test several things, until we arrive at THE thing.
EQUANIMITY... One of my favorite concepts that is sooo hard to practice. The idea of letting go of the struggle, without actually giving up the courage and the intention. Really a difficult concept to grasp.
Very related to what I call: "PASSIONATE DETACHMENT", The idea that we can passionately and wholeheartedly pursue something, while remaining detached from the outcome. It is sometimes in this place where we can arrive at creative solutions, sometimes real and sometimes, simply to assuage our own anxiety and fear. And you know what? Either one is just fine.
Let me tell you a little story:
I grew up in Mexico City, a place known for its culture, pollution and crime. And also for earthquakes. In fact I was a teen when the horrible earthquake hit that decimsted so many buildings.
But the thing is, there were A LOT of quakes before and after the big one. So many, that my parents made us pack what we came to know as an "earthquake bag" with some bare necessities. The thing is, we lived in a 6th floor condominium. So I put my thinking and research cap and began experimenting. First I would stand under the umbral for the door. Then under the table. The feeling of the earth shaking beneath you is pretty disturbing and seeing the glass chandeliers abruptly swing from side to side didn't make it any easier.
Then I decided that I would lay down on the floor. My parents were horrified. But I discovered something: that when I laid on the floor my body actually moved WITH the building not against it. I was not resisting the movement I was going with it. And that made earthquakes a lot more fun. Then as I watched buildings collapse I began to think that laying on the floor was not such a hot idea after all.
So, I began grabbing my earthquake bag and booking it down the 6 flights of stairs as quickly as I could so I could make it out. I began practicing and timing myself. At one point I felt like I was literally flying through several steps at a time. I got fast.
Then I realized that the lobby was flanked by a huge wall of glass and that I would need to get through that. Which didn't seem very safe. So I began problem solving again. I heard of horror stories of people trapped in the rubble for days.
So I decided that I wasn't going to continue to go downstairs. I was going to go up to the top floor. And again I began practicing.
My parents thought I was insane. But they just played along. Finally they asked why go up and not down? To which I replied I had calculated that the chances of getting trapped at the bottom floor or somewhere in between was much higher. It took longer to get down and the glass made exiting almost impossible. If I didn't make it all the way and the building collapsed then we'd be trapped at the deepest layers of the rubble and more certainly we wouldn't be found.
However if we climbed the 3 stories left to the top of the building, well if the building topped down, I imagined myself jumping down when the building was about to reach the ground (superhero style), and at worst, well we would be AT THE TOP of the rubble and more quickly found. Luckily we never had to test my theory :-), but it eased my anxiety.
So why do I share this long story?
Because even at that young age, I was problem solving and trying to exert control over my life and destiny in the best possible way. I recognized that earthquakes were inevitable and instead of just panicking about them, I figured I'd try to find the best odds at survival. And in doing so I realized that, just like in the holocaust survivor stories that I read, people who survived and succeeded at things did so because they were willing to embrace the reality of life.
The unpredictability, the danger, and leaned into their fear to find solutions and pathways out of danger. It wasn't by trying to get comfortable or cozy inside the tub. Or building a fort under the table. It was actually leaning into the discomfort of the worst case scenario and finding a solution for that.
This is easy to say and hard to do...ultimately, we need to embrace our fear and transform it, rather than resist it. Use the energy to create something rather than allow it to destroy you from the inside. So...as I've continually pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and guided hundreds of others to achieve excellence I have realized that wealthy, successful and high performing people experience those things BECAUSE they are willing to let go of being comfortable in order to grow.
They are willing to take risks, feel fear, and uncertainty in exchange for their personal growth. They understand that in order to WIN BIG, they MUST RISK BIG, and they are also comfortable with the idea of failing. Successful people also recognize that they can't reach the top by themselves. They surround themselves with other powerful people who will bolster and support their growth, will stretch them and remind them of what's possible.
So...if life is staring you in the face and you know there is something BIGGER you must be doing, and you are feeling the overwhelm, the hesitation and distraction that is pulling you away from your mission, then book a time with me, we can identify the blocks, figure out the next steps to your mission and determine if you may be a good candidate for my League of Legendary Leaders Mastermind!
Let's clear out the blocks and help you rewire your brain to embrace uncertainty and become the legendary leader that you are here to be. Please share below what resonates with you (or not) and what is the area of growth that you need to embrace. Share with others would benefit from reading it.
Defy the Ordinary, Become Extraordinary!