All year long we've been focusing on monthly goals in order to unlock opportunity in your life! Last month, I was very excited to see that I'd lost weight, which was good progress toward one of my personal goals, but it was a little discouraging to discover that my number of speaking engagements was still about the same as last year at this time. The good news is I still have five months left in 2015! That is exactly the way the system is supposed to work. It is a perfect time to engage in the topic for this month… s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g outside of our comfort zones!
We all have our established habits, systems and our “comfort zones,” which have been established over a lifetime of experience and repetition. These apply as we move about our busy schedules. We claim to “know our limits” and we definitely tend to stay within those self-imposed limits, because they are comfortable. The problem is, if we don't frequently re-test our limits, or challenge those habits, our comfort zones begin to shrink, not because we don’t possess the ability or the skill to do something bigger or better, but because we don’t stretch our thinking every once in a while.
If we don’t want to be uncomfortable, or risk failure by challenging our limits, we become a spectator in our business or in our lives, rather than active participants!
Lessons from the Tree Tops:
Recently, while in Costa Rica, I had an opportunity to “zip line” through the rain forest. All of my defensive signals were screaming “NO”, and as I neared the 3,000 ft. launch platform. I began to have thoughts like…. “Is my life insurance policy up to date?” and wonder how would a medical evacuation from Costa Rica work. Needless to say, I was way outside my comfort zone… and it was the adrenaline experience of my life!
For those who aren't familiar, the lines start 3,000 feet up, with 9 segments (one over ½ mile long). I overcame my fear, stretched my comfort zone, and believe it or not, I survived! I don’t feel the need to repeat that experience anytime soon, but it was a collision of feelings that I had not experienced in many years, fear, excitement, wonder, helplessness, and exhilaration, all packed into one hour, in a foreign country. I shudder to think of leaving Costa Rica without that experience, but it did require a stretch for me… personally, and emotionally!
This experience caused me to wonder what other opportunities present themselves each day that we miss because of a busy schedule, or an instant dismissal because we “would never do that…” What everyday life experiences do we miss because we decided long ago that we didn’t like something, or we tried once and quit? With today’s advances in technology, and the creation of new experiences, we may never know what we are missing unless we decide to try new things, re-think old habits, and stretch our comfort zones.
This month, based on my weight success, I decided I to set a new goal for the end of 2015... pushing myself beyond the limit of what I thought possible. On the business side, I have decided to be more pro-active about seeking more speaking engagements in the remaining months of 2015... again moving well-outside my own comfort zone.
Over my 30-year career, I have been successful at marketing other people, products, and organizations, but I have never been very comfortable at promoting myself! So, with some encouragement from my friends, I have agreed to practice what I preach, and stretch my thinking and my activities to achieve my business goal in 2015. I intend to get more proactive at promoting myself as a speaker. I am going to go “outside my comfort zone” and send marketing materials to Chambers of Commerce, Business Assistance Groups, and Economic Development Agencies to promote myself as a speaker for their events. If I truly want to unlock my opportunities this year, then it is time to get out of my comfort zone and get busy making it happen… even if it means stretching past my self imposed limits.
Today-- choose to challenge your old thinking and stretch your comfort zones. Decide to try something new in your daily routine, or your business day. Try something different, or just push yourself to go a little further today than you usually do. Surprise yourself, and stretch your thinking and your actions to challenge an old limit… anything that might cause you to stretch just a bit. I think you will find that it is a little uncomfortable at first but then it can become exhilarating!
There is a true adrenaline rush that comes with being a participant in life and not just an observer!
Until Next Time…