Insights

Comfort Zone – Good Bye!

Kiss your Comfort Zone Goodbye! Become The Action Taker You Know You Need To Be To Realize Your Goals And Dreams…

Intro

One of the most significant traits of successful people is that they are action driven individuals. They are constantly trying out new ideas to see what sticks and what doesn’t. More often than not, new ideas and strategies they come up with will NOT work as expected. They use each one of these experiences as a learning opportunity to advance closer to their goals.

This is no small task for the average person. What very few people realize is that successful people are always pushing themselves, challenging their personal limitations and becoming more skilled in many different areas of life.

Comfort Zone

If you really dissect what is happening behind the scenes, you will realize something very interesting.

Producing Results Is More Important Than Being Comfortable

Instinctively we all strive to find a comfort zone in life. We want to be sure of everything. We want to feel safe and to be assured that nothing unexpected is going to happen. The bad news for business people is that your comfort zone is a very dangerous place to be.

Why?

If you are totally comfortable with everything in your life it means you aren’t doing anything. You are not learning or growing. By natural law, this actually means you are becoming less!

Successful people actually become quite concerned if they find they have settled into a comfort zone. They understand the negative implications of this kind of activity and quickly launch themselves into action again.

Defining Your What & Why

The ultimate purpose of this program is to help you take bigger and better action to move you towards your goals and dreams. It would naturally follow that in order to get any value from this course you need to start at the ground floor and define:

  • What Do You Want?
  • Why Do You Want It?

If you want to experience the freedom of being a complete action taker who is willing to do anything, regardless of how scary it may be, you have to find something of major significance to drive you. I promise you that having a fluffy goal with no emotional backing (for example, a certain amount of yearly income) is not a driving force, it is more of a nice-to-have.

The driving force I am talking about is something much more personal, much more sacred to the individual. It is a representation of you, your beliefs, your morals, values and everything else that defines you at the core of your being.

Very few people ever take time to define this for themselves so they never truly tap into their driving force. That is why we see so many people living complacent lives, accepting mediocrity and frustration instead of aggressively pursuing something that makes them come alive. Because of this, it never occurs to them that they should be stepping out of their comfort zone and trying new things.

Now that you know this, it is time for you to get clear on what you want and why you want it. Even if you have done this exercise with other personal development programs, do not skip this step. You can never define and crystalize your driving force too often.

Exercise 1 – What and Why

What are your big ideas? What do you really want in your life? These are not goals but rather, things that you would simply like to “have” in some way, shape or form. Also, decide why these wants are important.

– Step 1 –

Take a piece of paper and divide it into a left side and right side and then make a bunch of rows. On the left side write your wants and on the right side write the corresponding why.

Example:

What do you want? Why do you want it?

  • I want to control my entire schedule. It is the ultimate freedom to me
  • I want to do work that I find meaningful and that makes a difference in an area that I feel needs focus I have done work that had no meaning and I felt like I was wasting my life
  • I want to change the world I see many things that need improvement
  • I want to feel excited and exhilarated every day I think this is how life was meant to be lived
  • I want to play to my talents and become the best in the world at what I do I would feel powerful, confident and happy
  • I want to have significant wealth so that I can donate to causes that I feel compelled to help If I don’t do it, no one will

– Step 2 –

Take all of your answers from step 1 and enter them into a service that emails you once weekly with your list of “whats” and “whys”. This will give you a weekly reminder on what and why you want to leave your comfort zone.

For example, you could use http://www.futureme.org to send an email like this:

From: Me
Subject: My driving force

Email:

Remember your values and beliefs because this is who you are and these are the things you want for your life:

(insert your list from step 1)

Read your list a number of times. Read it aloud if you really want to ingrain it. Send these emails to yourself more frequently if required. It is entirely up to you, how often you want to say Good Bye to your comfort zone.

– Exercise take away –

The key to this exercise is to define your driving force. Some of the points may seem a bit vague in terms of implementation. That is okay. If one of your driving forces is to motivate, inspire and lead others, you can achieve this in a number of different ways. Today you may be doing this in the capacity of a business manager but 3 years from now, you might want to lead a humanitarian effort in a 3rd world country. Your desire to lead and inspire does not change, the way in which you execute this desire will definitely change as you go through your life journey.

Creating Objectives

Now that you understand what motivates and drives you as a person, you can select things to do. For me, when I began to understand that time freedom, living life on the edge, living life in a way that I can look back when I’m old and have no regrets, living life as a leader and someone who inspires were all part of my driving force.

I chose entrepreneurship as my vehicle to experience these aspects. I looked at it as an opportunity to beat the odds. Most businesses fail in their first 5 years. Most corporate employees will not break the mould and leave their job due to fear of loss.

Think about an olympic athlete and the level of dedication they display towards their goals. It is the same kind of example. They are driven by the desire to compete, the potential of one day being an olympic champion. They don’t stay in their comfort zone at all. There is no way they could withstand the years of physical exertion if they were doing it for fame or money. They are doing it for a much more profound reason.

Your goal could be to improve the community you live in. You might want to create a youth organization that brings kids off the street and into your program that advances their life skills and gives them a better shot at living a life of greatness.

Exercise 2 – Massive Action List

Fact – If you do not have daily opportunities to go outside of your comfort zone, you are simply not trying hard enough.

People with big, challenging objectives for their life will face a mountain of work before they even come close to achieving what they want. If you do not have a long list of comfort zone stretching ideas, then you have simply not done enough to attack your goal.

– Step 1 –

Write down a major objective and begin a brainstorm (it can be a simple list, a diagram or even software). Note: If you like using software and visual tools, you might want to try the free mind mapping site http://bubbl.us

Example:

Objective: Create a live training event for 200 specialists in my industry (first attempt at running an event in business).

Potential Actions:

  • Go to networking events and get to know people in the industry
  • Cold call potential attendees personally
  • Hire a sales rep or sales firm to call prospects
  • Place ads in the paper
  • Do a video blog promoting the event
  • Create strategic partnerships to help sell tickets
  • Do a publicity stunt that brings awareness to your event
  • Publicly call out a competitor and sell this event as an alternative
  • etc…

– Step 2 –

Rank each action for its reward quotient (RQ) on a scale of 1-3. So if you rank the action a 1, it would have a major potential impact on your objective. In some cases, this one action might take you right to your goal.

Rank each action for its fear quotient (FQ) on a scale of 1-3. For example, if the action makes you very nervous, or even scared, it would be ranked a 1.

Example:

Objective: Create a live training event for 200 specialists in my industry (first attempt at running an event in business).

Potential Actions RQ FQ
Go to networking events and get to know people in the industry 3 3
Cold call potential attendees personally 2 1
Hire a sales rep or sales firm to call prospects 3 3
Place ads in the paper 2 2
Do a video blog promoting the event 2 2
Create strategic partnerships to help sell tickets 1 1
Do a publicity stunt that brings awareness to your event 2 1
Publicly call out a competitor and sell this event as an alternative 1 1
etc…    

Exercise 3 – Massive Action Execution

Once you commit to your objective and decide that…

Producing Results Is More Important Than Being Comfortable

You are in the perfect position to start getting out there and making things happen. From now on, you will commit to doing at least one action from your list in Exercise 2 every single day.

Some actions in your list are going to be simple steps that you have no problem executing while other action items may terrify you. The idea is to get in the habit of taking action and scale your way up to higher thresholds of comfort zone busting!

– Step 1 –

Use the following template to plan your action. This does not have to be written out but you might want to try writing it a few times until you completely embody the process emotionally.

Describe the action  
What is the desired outcome?  
What is your accountability that you will follow through?


– Step 2 –

Categorize your fear. You are about to take some action that is outside of your comfort zone. That basically means you are experiencing fear.

The quickest way to deal with fear is to investigate it. Fearful thoughts can generally be categorized into the 4 following areas:

  • Death
  • Embarrassment
  • Loss (of love or possessions)
  • Rejection

Your job is to bring the fearful thoughts into perspective (i.e. rationalize the fear). Fill in the following chart either mentally or on paper:

What action are you considering taking?  
List all of the potential positives that could result from this  
List all of the potential negatives that could result from this  

– Step 3 –

The final row from step 2 is the most important. Those are the things that are clouding your judgement and potentially stopping you from trying to reap the rewards that could be available if you made an attempt.

For each potential negative, categorize the fear from one of 4 areas listed in step 2.

Rarely will your actions involve the potential threat of death. So you are usually left with the remaining 3 which is fear of embarrassment, loss and rejection.

Now, think about other times you have lost, been rejected or been embarrassed. Did you survive? Did you make any successes after? Yes. So you can do it again.

This is entirely a mindset exercise.

When you start decomposing your fears using a process like this, you make it easier come to grips with the risk and overcome whatever is holding you back.

– Step 4 –

The techniques mentioned in step 3 can be easier said than done and simply require practice. Try using the following technique to put your fears into perspective and evaporate that restricting comfort zone of yours.

SCALE THE RISK – put a size on the upside vs. the downside. In most cases the potential upside is huge compared to the downside. If you were coaching someone else in your position, how would you see this risk?

Visualize the upside as a much bigger “thing”…

Scale the risk - Good Bye comfort zone

Using this sort of visualization technique can boost yourself image and make you feel much more powerful and confident than you might have been without ever attempting this mental exercise.

Breaking Routine

In order to become a proficient comfort zone breaker, it is important to understand the psychology and behavior patterns that cause so many people to remain stuck living a life less than they are capable of.

As mentioned earlier, certainty about every aspect of life is what keeps so many people bound. Think about how few risks you would take in life if you had to be absolutely certain of a result before taking action:

  • You would not get in your car to drive to the store because you could not be certain that you will be able to avoid getting in an accident
  • You would not purchase a home because you would be uncertain as to whether you will be able to make the mortgage payment every month
  • You would not have children because you wouldn’t be certain you could earn enough to care for them, to know how to raise them, that they wouldn’t grow up to be criminals (or make up any other potential disaster scenario)
  • You wouldn’t enter a relationship because you have no guarantees that your partner will be as committed as you
  • You wouldn’t accept a promotion at work because you would be uncertain if you could live up to the new expectations placed upon you
  • You wouldn’t go on a trip because you would be uncertain if you would arrive safely, or even alive for that matter
  • You wouldn’t go out an make new friends because you’d be uncertain if people would approve of you

This list could go on forever. The truth of the matter is that there are so many areas of life where we have learned to stop worrying about potential disasters and we simply trust. What many people have not yet realized is that you can apply this same level of trust to any action you might want to take in your life.

How do you learn to worry less and trust more? Like anything else, you practice. You can systematically break patterns in your life where you have previously expected a routine and do something entirely different.

Some examples:
  • If your routine is to wake up at 7:30 just in time to get ready for work and start your day, you can start waking up an hour early and start writing that book you have always wanted to write.
  • If your routine is to come home from work and eat dinner with your family, bring home a game that you play for 20 minutes before dinner. Create some quality time that will enhance your relationship with your spouse and/or children.
  • If your workout routine involves 30 minutes on the treadmill, join a running club instead and create new friends and new experiences.
  • If you drink coffee every morning, try changing to a protein drink for a few weeks and see how it makes you feel.
  • If you go to the same restaurant or eat the same kind of food when you go out, try a new restaurant with food you have never experienced before.

The point here is to catch yourself in routines or habit patterns that you may have never even thought about before. Use the opportunity to try something new and do some self analysis as to how you handled the experience. Some people are very uncomfortable when they break a routine and others find it to be fun and adventurous.

The way you handle minor deviations in behavior will give you a good indication as to how you will handle major changes. If this kind of change is difficult for you, you now have an abundance of smaller, low risk opportunities to practice challenging your comfort zone.

Exercise 4 – Routine Breaking

  1. Start noticing your patterns and build a list of routines you are in
  2. Begin immediately to practice breaking the patterns
  3. For each new pattern, develop a strategy that enforces you to try your new behavior

Please use the following table as a guideline:

Current Routine New Routine Enforcement
Wake up at 7:30am, shower, eat breakfast, rush to work. Wake up at 6:15am, shower, eat breakfast, write my book for an hour before work. Find a writing buddy who will trade updates. Review and edit each other’s work daily.
     
     
     
     
     

Exercise 5 – A Big Event

Now that you have done a significant amount of self analysis and personal growth activity, it is time to demolish your comfort zone altogether.

You are no longer willing to be imprisoned by fear, at any level of your life. You understand the true freedom that comes with your willingness to put results ahead of comfort on your personal priority scale. It is time to put your money where your mouth is and act like bold, courageous, risk taking individual you have always known you could be.

Before you proceed with your big event, let me say a final word about fear. The idea here is not to remove your fears entirely. Personally, I don’t believe that is possible, because fear is a natural reaction that we by instinct rely on for survival. But you might appreciate, that we can control our fears by knowing what to do when certain events or certain obstacles get into our way.

The real lesson here is to act in spite of any fear you may have and to make a habit of “running towards” your fear. This final exercise will be a biggie but it will let you prove to yourself that you are ready to elevate your game to the next level.

Your Next Step

Print this page and use the box below to describe your “big event” that crushes your comfort zone to bits. Then contact us to arrange a call where one of our coaches will be your accountability partner to see you through your big event.

You also could book an obligation-free session with our Chief Excellence Officer, Bodo Frost. In this phone call of up to one hour, you can discuss your big hairy audacious goal, and how we can help you to achieve it. Find a suitable slot via Calendly. We are looking forward to assist you.