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“A comfort zone is a beautiful place. But nothing ever grows there.” ~unknown
I have always dreamt of being up on a big stage empowering others. There was only one problem…I was petrified of public speaking. I'm talking the pit in your stomach, I’m going to throw up kind of fear! Even giving my 30-second elevator speech made me want to run for the hills!
Standing in front of the room, with dozens eyes looking at me, brought me back to being a kid when the teacher would call on me and I didn’t know the answer. You see, in the middle of first grade I was put back into second grade due to some comprehension challenges. So, as a little girl I developed a limiting belief that I would never be smart enough.
Once I created that awareness to my subconscious belief, I was able to take baby steps to face my fears. I started attending more networking events so I could practice giving my elevator speech. I started giving mini presentations to my leads group on my business (I used to find every excuse as to why I wasn’t able to present). I accepted positions where I was in charge of running meetings. And eventually I was getting up in front of a room of nearly 100 women and welcoming them to the Women in Business Breakfast each month.
The more I practiced the more I comfortable I got and eventually public speaking became a part of my comfort zone. I’m not saying that it’s smack dab in the middle, it’s probably still closer to the edge, but the more I practice the more comfortable I get and the closer it’s bringing me to my dream.
To support you in stepping outside of your comfort zone it’s helpful to first understand what your comfort zone is and how it works.
Fears: The main purpose of our comfort zone is to protect us from our fears. Not fears like spiders or snakes, but fears to keep us safe, especially emotionally. You know the fear of failure, rejection, being alone….
Beliefs: Our fears are typically created from limiting beliefs we have about others, the world or ourselves. Beliefs that we most likely we developed at a younger age and are stored in our subconscious.
Survival Mechanism: The protective shield, the armor, around our fears. This is where we decided to become a perfectionist, control freak, overachiever, workaholic, caretaker, etc.
Feelings: Our feeling also hang out in our comfort zone… good feelings, bad feelings, and the occasional feelings of joy or life is awesome.
We spend most of our days living inside our comfort zones. Sometimes we are smack dab in the middle. Sometimes we are slightly off center. At times we are even on the edge. But very rarely are outside our comfort zone…and this is where the magic happens and where possibility lives!
Below are 5 things to support you in stepping outside of your comfort zone:
Create an awareness of your fear: Creating awareness is always the first step to making a change. Explore what you fear is and where it is coming from. What is the core belief that created this fear? Be patient, finding these hidden beliefs often requires that we do some hunting.
Get clear on your Future Vision: What do want your life to look like? Get connected with your, “what for,” your “why,” your goals and your big commitments. Be sure to revisit this on a regular basis…this is the fuel for your fire!
Don’t Do It Alone: Partner with someone you trust to hold you accountable. Pick someone that you can vulnerably share your fears, your plans and what you want to create. Practice asking for support and help.
Avoid Overthinking: Our minds have a habit of building up things to be worse than they are in reality. We overthink things and play out every scenario, which can paralyze you. Take a deep breath, connect with your commitment and rip off that Band-Aid! Don’t let your brain sabotage your goals.
Don’t Expect Change to Happen Over Night: Create milestone and take baby steps to support you. Keep practicing! The goal is to take things on, to build your muscles so that eventually you will expand your comfort zone.
Nicole Comis, Certified Life & Executive Coach, helps business owners and other career-driven professionals achieve their BIG career goals while integrating more balance into their lives. She partners with her clients to gain clarity on what they want their future to look like, face their fears, identify obstacles holding them back, and create a plan to help them achieve BIG, stretchy goals that are outside of their comfort zone. Her coaching practice incorporates her client's whole life, not just their career, leading to a more balanced, productive, healthy, and happy life. Nicole is a graduate and certified coach from the Accomplishment Coaching Coaches Training Program and is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC). Nicole's high-energy, judgment-free, fun, no-BS approach helps men and women live a more balanced life with a career they love, fulfilling relationships, a healthy well-being, and killer confidence!