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Moving Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Aug 02, 2023

We are more than half-way through the year, turning the corner and facing year end before we know it.  What have you done to challenge yourself this year?  Whenever I ask this question, it seems to stop people in their tracks.

Think about it.  The last few years were about survival, pivoting, adapting, and adjusting to a new normal. Are we there yet? Instead, we recognize that volatility, uncertainty, chaos, and ambiguity are here to stay. 

So, what have you done to get back on the track to growth and development.  What have you learned?  How have you expanded beyond your comfort zone?

Like it or not, some of us are still in a rut.  We may have found a new rhythm and structure for our work and our lives, which is good.  We have learned important lessons, re-examined our values, focused more attention on what’s most important.

What have you done to challenge yourself, step it up, and focus on the future? What have you done to move beyond the comfort zone you've created for yourself. 

This isn’t as daunting as it may sound.  Eleanor Roosevelt famously advised us to "do something that scares you every day."  I don't know about you, but I have some catching up to do!  So, let's start small.  I have three suggestions.

Suggestion #1:  Learn something new.  A new skill or technology.  Or simply google something you are curious about and learn more about a topic that you know little or nothing about. Do you have a friend or family member who is passionate about a topic that is completely alien to you?  What if you could learn how to have a credible discussion with them about that topic?  You might even be able to deepen the relationship.  Pick a new sport to follow or check out a podcast on something just for the pure pleasure of hearing people discuss it. Speaking of which...

Suggestion #2: Expand your network.  Reach out to someone you admire and want to know better and schedule a visit or conversation over the phone or zoom (I realize we’ve got out of the habit).  I've recently done this with two different people, and it was so energizing to compare notes with brand new people about the state of the world as we know it!  I encourage you to try this.  If you are uncomfortable with one-to-one meetings with relative strangers, try setting up a conversation for four.  Invite three others to in person or virtual coffee and create a discussion topic, if you like.  Asking people how their lives have changed over recent years or what they are most excited about or how they are challenging themselves this year can make for a robust and interesting dialogue.

Suggestion #3:  Explore a new place.  I realize there are travel can be challenging these days.  But how about exploring someplace local that you have never been, that people from elsewhere know about and ask about.  It could be a small local museum, an historic location, a garden or nature preserve, or an unfamiliar neighborhood.  For ideas, check Trip Advisor for your local area.  What is that place you always meant to visit – and never did?

Moving beyond your comfort zone does not have to be painful; it can be fun.  And by starting this way, and having a positive experience, you may just find that you want to learn more new things, meet more new people and explore more new places.  And those are all things to look forward to.

So, before the year ends out in five short months, find a way to challenge yourself.  Did you realize that the drive for change and the drive for challenge are two of the ten human drives that make you feel alive?  Those ten challenges are part of the agenda for my high-performance coaching curriculum.  If you'd like to learn more about that program, click here.  And in the meantime, I'd love to hear back from you about how you are challenging yourself this month.  If you have found this post valuable, please share it with three of your friends.


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