Expanding Your Comfort Zone
Last week I traveled to Dallas to work with a group of extraordinary emerging leaders. It was one of those quick trips – in one day and out the next – and making those trips to Dallas for me is always bitter-sweet. Having lived there for five years, I get a little sad when I don’t have the opportunity to spend time with all the people I care about, but it’s always very comforting too. There’s something really great about “the familiar” – it feels safe. And I always feel stronger having been there.
When we first moved to New York a year ago, I was intimidated and overwhelmed. The idea of bringing my business to one of the world’s largest markets scared me to death. But, unexpectedly, this move was probably one of the easiest transitions I’ve ever made – I strongly suspect it’s because I kept traveling back and forth to Dallas for work. It’s amazing what an infusion of “familiar” did to bridge my confidence and make it possible for me to take the risks I needed to take to get my business up and running. In New York City. With each trip, I could feel my comfort zone expanding.
Eons ago I heard a great analogy about comfort zones that has stayed with me. Consider our comfort zone is like a rubber band. Rubber bands can expand, but unless they’re stretched in the right way, they’ll either return to their original shape or snap in two. They have to be pulled slowly, methodically, consistently over time – growing wider, and wider. Little by little. But they also can’t expand by themselves – someone has to help them to stretch.
We’re not so different, we human beings. If we want to expand what is possible, for ourselves, for our teams, for our organizations, we have to work at it consistently. Methodically. Over time. And we can’t do it alone.
What are you doing to expand what is possible for yourself? What are you doing to help the people on your team increase their comfort zones? If you have visions of making big things happen, then the time to start stretching is now. Little by little.
Thankfully I haven’t had to stretch alone. Thanks, Dallas for helping me grow!
©OnStage Leadership, 2013
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