Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

This week sees five inspiring leaders complete our 10th cohort of our Leadership Development Programme, our 7-month programme which is based on a mix of experiential outdoor and indoor learning with 1:1 coaching. The leaders have had so many amazing experiences and challenges both personal and pandemic wise and throughout the programme they have found themselves in situations that have put them outside their comfort zones and into their learning zones.

Watching them willingly engage in activities which at times have pushed them to their limits and observing how they have developed as a strong team leading and supporting each other to overcome the barriers they have faced has really made us think! What does this it mean to live in your comfort zone?

It seems that living in your comfort zone is all about doing what is safe and easy where you know what the outcome will be. It means that you are afraid to take risks and do something that scares you or to try something that you do not know what the outcome will be. It is a lovely safe and secure place to be. We can perform well, have established relationships, and rarely feel out of our depth. Life is relatively risk free and things come easy – so why leave it? It’s safe, right? Or is it ?

NO – comfort zone is dangerous!

The comfort zone frame of mind is settling for who you are today. You will never really understand who you truly are or what you are truly capable of achieving.

Living in our comfort zone often causes us to close our doors to change and progress. We fear the discomfort that change will bring in our life. If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got!

An unwillingness to go out of your comfort zone blocks your potential progress and growth. As we know, life is constantly changing, and if you are not changing and developing and growing then you are going backwards.

Living within your comfort zone leads to boredom and discontentment which in turn affects motivation and enthusiasm and results in a negative mindset. When you are in your comfort zone, you are part of a set of people who just wait for things to happen. Because you don’t take risks and think outside the box, you cannot grab opportunities ahead of others. Which means that being too comfortable causes you to be left behind.

Living within our comfort zone limits our chance to live our best life to the fullest and achieve our true potential.

If we feel the fear and do it anyway and leave our comfort zones, we step into the unknown and into learning. By doing this we allow ourselves to explore new things, we seek out opportunities, pursue our dreams, face our fears and thus we develop and grow.

It has been a privilege over the last few months to watch our cohort embracing stepping out of their comfort zone into the learning zone and then into their growth zone. Month after month we observe them challenge themselves in new and unfamiliar surroundings and then taking this learning into their day-to-day work, pushing boundaries, challenging the status quo, daring to have honest conversations. As a result, we are seeing their confidence and self-belief grow. They are taking control of situations, sourcing opportunities, and making things happen!

So – Are you living in your comfort zone?

• If the answer is yes. Challenge yourself. What can you do to step out of it?

• What opportunities can you take?

• What dreams do you want to pursue?

• What are you going to commit to today?

• Here are 3 steps to help you on your journey of growth.

Step 1 – Get Information

Anxiety usually comes from a fear of the unknown. Usually, we imagine the worst-case scenario of what could happen when we push past the boundaries of what makes us feel safe. Your goal here is to find out about whatever skill or activity you are pursuing. Talk to people who have done the same thing. (Many of our past attendees would be happy to chat with you 😊). Read books on the subject, check-out articles on the Internet about the subject.

Information is power and the more you know about something, the less scary and more powerful you’ll feel.

Step 2 – Develop a Plan

After educating yourself, you want to create a plan of action for pushing the boundaries on what you think is possible. Write down a step-by-step blueprint for how you’re going to get out of your comfort zone. You start with the easiest thing to do. Then you create a plan to get to each level.

Step 3 – Hold Yourself Accountable

Accountability is another key to breaking through your comfort zone. Start by telling your friends and family about what you’re trying to do. People in your life will keep you on track. You want them to give you that ‘push’ as you’re pushing your boundaries. They will make it hard for you to quit.

The first step to change in your circumstances is a change from within you – we cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are. We can only change our life, if we are brave enough to be out of our comfort zone.

Remember: “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” – John Maxwell

If we can help you step into your learning zone, please get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss options that will help you achieve this. And, there might even be funding available for you too.

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