One of my favourite comfort zone quotes is ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’– Eleanor Roosevelt. A few months ago I realised that I’d unconsciously stopped pushing myself . I wasn’t doing anything that vaguely made me feel uncomfortable and took me out of my comfort zone.
I’d stopped taking risks. I had become risk-averse. I was in a job which allowed me great flexibility. We’d moved to Brigsteer near Kendal and we’d settled into a cosy existence of working, walking at the weekends and having a few wines in the pub on a Friday.
In fact the last time I did anything scary was going to Scotland. Before I got married, instead of a pamper weekend I took myself off to Ballachulish and did a Winter mountaineering course. I wanted a challenge of being around strangers, being told what to do and being in a physically tough environment. I’m not good at being told what to do. I like my own company and since my skiing accident in 2000, I get nervous in the snow.
So this course was perfect!
As this was a training course the first thing I had to adjust to was not knowing what we were doing beyond the next hour. I like being organised and knowing what’s happening. Giving up my control to someone felt like being back at school.
Falling over as an adult. I’m a bit out of practice.
On day one we practiced falling down hills with ice axes. We gradually built up to throwing ourselves head first and stopping safely. I was definitely out of my comfort zone. Each time I took a leap I could feel my confidence growing slightly. The feel of the snow became more familiar and I did stop sometimes without much finesse and lots of snow in all the wrong places but I wasn’t injured and I could feel myself getting better.
We also had to gauge how much food to eat and when as we didn’t know how long we were on the mountains for. I’m a bit of a grazer so had to stash snack bars in pockets so I didn’t need to stop because we were always on a march.
What was I doing?
I wasn’t sure about the instructor’s style of coaching and hadn’t really bonded with the group. I felt like a small fish in a big pond as everyone was training for big mountains round the world I’d never even heard of. On the third day I felt spent. It was a culmination of being part of a new team, tough terrain, poor weather and having to concentrate and make decisions about routes, ropes, crampons and ice axes.
After a good meal with lots of carbs and a good night sleep, thankfully my room buddy didn’t snore, I felt much better. The next few days went by too quickly. I’d found my snow mojo and was getting better at making kit transitions while eating food and staying warm. We did lots of scrambling and I enjoyed these chances to lead the group and think about route decisions.
Get into a new risk taking habit.
More recently I‘ve created an almost daily routine of taking small risks. I realized that my next career move wasn’t to be found via a job advert. I’ve set up a new coaching business: Lakes Coaching. Once again working with people to help grow themselves and their business.
So what are these yellow men for?
People talk about their life and their business ideas or their existing business. I give them a stretchy yellow men. This little guy can help remind us that we need to widen our comfort zones. When you pull on the guy he stretches and then retracts. When we stretch ourselves we become bigger. We grow and our comfort zone slightly shifts. Your life starts to expand. When did you last come out of your comfort zone? Ever thought of coaching to help you expand your comfort zone?
New habits to expand your comfort zone.
Each night I plan the risk I’m going to take each day. Even if the risk I take doesn’t exactly work out the way I’d hoped, I’m expanding my confidence and my comfort zone. Here are a few things I’ve done lately:
- Sign up for that evening class you’ve been putting off.
- Get that business idea off the ground.
- Make that phone call you’ve been avoiding.
- Join that interest group or if there isn’t one, set one up.
There isn’t enough business networking in my life, so….
I’ve set up Kendal Entrepreneurs Group (KEG) for new businesses in the South Lakes area. I couldn’t find one so I thought I’d take a small risk and see if there was any appetite for one. It felt so good when the first few people started to RSVP. Just a little step out of my comfort zone but it’s expanding and like the yellow guy I’m getting stretchier by the day! If you have a business idea or want meet other businesses, I hope to see you there!