“Get out of your comfort zone.”
We have all heard this advice, whether as a cliché from a Motivational Speaker or in a Social Media meme. But is this B.S? And by B.S I mean a Belief System!
The belief system (B.S) in this advice is that we employ the courage to try new things and as such is sound; but how much is too much? Consider the following:
In each of the above scenarios, advising someone to get out of their physiological comfort zone would be criminally negligent. “But wait a minute” – the motivators will say, “we are talking about mindset (B.S), a psychological comfort zone.” Well, I have news for you – our psychology has mechanisms for keeping us in a ‘comfort zone’ for good reasons. We prefer certainty and engage in behaviors to control our environment because uncertainty causes us stress. Normal personality is a bell curve of variations, but outside of that standard deviation, we enter the realms of bizarre behavior and then insanity.
But If the advice to get out of your comfort zone is wrong, what advice should we be giving to people to grow and develop?
“Expand Your Comfort Zone”
Just as a mountaineer or explorer trains to adapt their body to extremes of pressure and oxygen, or a marathon runner conditions their body and adjusts their diet to handle the distance, so you can condition your mind to handle greater uncertainty and ambiguity, as well as train your personality or leadership style to be more flexible for different environments and circumstances.
The brain retains levels of plasticity and therefore adaptability throughout life. The key is the intention to change and gradual exposure to greater challenges.
As a coach for over 20-years, I’ve found that when people attempt to step out of their comfort zone by making one or more huge changes, they set themselves up for failure. Instead, if you have a clear idea in which area you wish to develop, set an intention to do so, and follow through starting with small actions and then gradually increase the challenge, you are following a proven psychological path to Self-leadership and success.
Process Goals are the Secret to Success. Focus on the behaviors you control each day, that over time will deliver you the results you desire.
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.”
15 Minute Masterclass for Senior Executives & Managers
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Presenter: Andrew Bryant, Global Authority on Self-Leadership & Executive Presence.