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Three Simple Ways to Move Beyond Your Comfort Zone

#2021 #challengeyourself #comfortzone Mar 18, 2021

What are you doing to challenge yourself this year?  This is a question I've been asking my clients and it seems to stop people in their tracks.

Think about it.  Last year was all about survival.  It was a year of constant adapting and adjusting and figuring out how to get things done.  How to be.

This year is about getting back on the track to growth and development.  To learning and expanding. 

Like it or not, many of us are in a rut.  We finally figured out how to "do" the pandemic, how to set a new rhythm and structure for our work and our lives.  And that was good, maybe even great; we all learned some important lessons, we re-calibrated our values, we re-focused on our health and well-being.  And those are all good things.

And now, I want to challenge you.  It is time to step up.  It's time to get back to focusing on the future and what's next and how to prepare. It's time to move beyond the comfort zone you've created for yourself.  Yikes!

This doesn't need to be as scary 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 know, I know).  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 virtual coffee and create a discussion topic, if you like.  Asking people how their lives have changed over the past year 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 restrictions but hear me out.  One of the truisms of every place I've ever lived is that there is someplace local that I have never been, and 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 idea, check Trip Advisor for your local area. 

If all else fails, re-visit a favorite place virtually for a different experience of it. Exploring a new place –or an old place in a new way - gives you a fresh perspective, allowing you to view the world anew, if only briefly.  I've been avidly watching Stanley Tucci's travels across each of the distinct regions of Italy to sample the special food that comes from each region.  It has been an absolute delight and even though I've visited Italy multiple times, I now have a whole new list of destinations to add to my list.  I'm very excited about that!

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, I'm challenging you to find a way to challenge yourself this month.  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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