Originally Published in Coaching for Transformation
Without the challenge to set stretch goals, clients often take smaller steps than they are capable of. By challenging clients to create outrageous goals, we ask them to consider stepping farther than they might on their own. Even if they consider the outrageous goal to be too much of a stretch, they will settle that are bigger than they would have chosen on their own (e.g. a stretch vs. practical goal).
Expanding Your Comfort Zone
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” — Anaïs Nin
Our comfort zone has the familiarity of an old couch. But everything now in our comfort zone was once unfamiliar. Life is full of choices. We can live our lives in fear of making mistakes or we can choose to act in alignment with our deepest values. Acting boldly and truthfully unleashes our full potential. As we act on our courage, we don’t eradicate fear from our lives. As we evolve, our fears change shape, vacillating between sharp barbs that paralyze and gentle prods that keep us moving in the right direction. Courageous people learn to use fear as the signpost telling them where to go next. Fear serves as our personal invitation from life to develop our courage, character and our own personal code of honor. We learn to take action even when it isn’t always popular, safe or certain to do so. For example:
A coach-in-training, came to her coaching session excited about the prospects of living a more holistic life—combining her coaching skills and massage training. She also came weighed down by the obstacles—two small children for whom she wanted to be a fantastic mother and role model, an unsatisfying job and financial challenges that required her to keep a job until her business took off.
She wanted support in designing her ideal life and taking the action steps to get there. Early in the coaching, her words “peace” and “freedom” really brought her alive. She stepped fully into the aliveness of what her life would look like if filled with peace and freedom. She also stepped into the fear and sense of, “How can I possibly do it?” and decided to move toward the aliveness rather than be held back by the fear, uncertainty and inner critics. She changed her housing situation to ease the financial pressure, bringing more peace into her life.She also changed jobs, becoming the director of a nonprofit, which allowed her to use her coaching skills to impact the way her staff delivered services to the community. This brought in the freedom element in a big way. She was excited about the changes in her life and her ability to create them from the place of her personal power and alignment with what was most meaningful to her. In this place, she saw herself as a better role model for her girls—wanting them to also learn to live from the place of power and possibility.
Stepping out of your comfort zone
Using the diagram below, recall each time you stepped out of your comfort zone and write an event in the decade it occurred. The first decade might include going to school, riding a bike or diving off a diving board. In the second decade, riding a horse, going on a date, leaving home or getting a job are examples of stepping out of your comfort zone. Marriage, asking for a raise, having children, going skydiving might show up in the third decade. Changing careers, living in a new country, running for political office… keep going, filling in each decade, including the ones you haven’t lived yet. Remember key times you stepped out of your comfort zone and how you felt afterwards. What happens when you expand or contract your comfort zone? Imagine stepping out of your comfort zone now. To accept life’s invitation to act with courage, what actions will you take?
“The habit of setting priorities, overcoming procrastination, and getting on with your most important task is a mental and physical skill. As such, this habit is learnable through practice and repetition, over and over again, until it locks into your subconscious mind and becomes a permanent part of your behavior.” — Brian Tracy
Small, constructive actions done on a daily or routine basis can quickly give a sense of accomplishment and momentum. These daily habits form a foundation for major changes to take place. What actions, if taken on a regular basis, would make a difference for you? How do these daily actions tie into your strategic plan?
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