I’ve been thinking a lot about being brave and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone this past week.
As I listen to others tell me what holds them back or trips them up as they’re trying to make positive changes in their lives, it’s interesting to observe how the mind can trick us.
We’re feeling fear but it’s disguised as something else. Which means most of the time, we don’t even realize that it is fear stopping us from making any progress, or creating the changes we want in our lives.
Fear is AMAZING at hiding inside of our feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
What may look like choosing to be sensible and play it safe is fear’s way of avoiding rejection and failure. But failing and being rejected is part of growing, part of the learning process. It’s a vital component of growth!
Anytime you’re faced with, or about to do something different and new, it’s very uncomfortable. Have you noticed that?
If you’re not accustomed to speaking to a large group of people, imagine if that’s a situation you’re now facing.
Or applying for a new job in an industry that’s completely new to you.
Perhaps joining a group, or going back to school to study in a whole new field.
Imagine yourself in one of these scenarios. Notice the feelings you’re having.
Are there any changes in your life right now that you’re contemplating?
What negative feelings arise?
If you’re anxious, your gut is telling you it’s a sign you shouldn’t even be considering this! Fear is hiding inside your ‘gut feeling’. Fear is the one telling you it’s a sign you shouldn’t be considering this.
Maybe you’re feeling agitated and in order to soothe that feeling (which fear created), you move your attention on to something else, telling yourself you’ll go back to it later.
Maybe, like a lot of people (myself included), you get distracted when faced with stepping outside your comfort zone. I love reverting back to working on and tweaking my coaching programs when I need to be working on something new. It’s an area I’m comfortable with, it’s known to me, and it’s such a comfortable place to be! It feels a lot safer and I can easily convince myself that my time is better spent there.
What do you feel?
When it’s time to do something that stretches you, puts you outside of your comfort zone, do you get distracted? Fear is super amazing at camouflaging itself, so much so that you likely don’t even realize it!
Do you suddenly feel like you need a snack? Your mind is telling you that you should have some sustenance first so you’ll have the energy to really get at it. But fear is tricking your mind, and using that as a delay tactic.
Maybe you’re feeling that before you start on a new project, there are other things that need to be done first. Your mind is telling you that certain things need to be organized or dealt with before you can be effective. But fear is once again using this as a delay tactic.
A great example of this is every time I need to learn a new software program, I suddenly feel the urge to reorganize my office first. Afterall, how can I effectively learn a new program if my filing isn’t dealt with or the supply closet hasn’t been reorganized and restocked??
If fear can delay long enough, we just might lose interest and give up. Or decide that it isn’t worth the hassle and effort, and that it’s just too much. It’s more comfortable where we are.
So let’s flip this around.
When you notice any of those feelings, recognize what it really is. Recognize that it’s fear, doing its best to keep you safe from possible rejection, or failing. It’s fear doing what it’s suppose to be doing, it’s just doing its job.
Then look at what fear is keeping you ‘safe’ from.
Reaching new goals.
A new confidence.
A new passion.
A new success.
If you’re facing a time of growth and you’re feeling anxious, agitated, or distracted, instead of thinking that this is a bad idea that needs rethinking, realize instead that you’re on to something!!
Consciously and mindfully ask yourself what it is you’re afraid of. What’s the worst thing that could happen? If THAT did happen, then what? And what’s really LIKELY to happen?
It’s going to require you to be braver than you think you are.
To feel the fear and do it anyway.
You CAN do this.
You’ll thank yourself later.
feature photo courtesy of unsplash/Makhmutova Dina