A lot, right? Has it ever helped you? Or has it more often than not had you shrink at the thought of what might be required of you; retreating back into the status quo, telling yourself it’s not so bad, so you don’t have to take that terrifying action after all?
I have been struck lately by people reading my book Be The Leader You Want To See and interpreting that I am advocating getting outside of one’s comfort zone. I’m not! What I am doing, rather, is showing them in tactical detail how to expand their comfort zone.
In the chapter, “why take a leap when you can just stretch?” I share stories of how during my career and many, many times as a founder of my own business I have remained stationary because I was too scared to take a leap. I was tricked into believing that this was safer and wasn’t wasting time or energy, but in fact it’s the worst kind of waste. The emotional turmoil we put ourselves through when we think we should take an action that we physically and mentally don’t feel able to take makes my stomach turn.
That means from where you are right now doing something small in the direction of the thing that you want. Take a step and see what it feels like to bump up against the edge of your comfort zone. Then give it a nudge and you’ll see that it isn’t a fixed place, it’s elastic; it wants to give, to expand.
Picture a child who is learning to walk. They put their foot out just a little bit further than where they are now to check that the ground is safe, and then take the step, expecting that they may topple over. They have already assessed the stability of the ground, so the step then doesn’t feel so risky. Each time they get up and have another go, they are more informed than the time before, and as a result the edge of their comfort zone stretches. It’s the same for you. Moving yourself forward towards your bigger, more impactful vision, doesn’t need you to leap to get there. It’s more of a stretch. At this pace, you can easily repoint your arrow if it is aiming a little off course.
Compare this to your corporate pace. I know that at the rate I used to work, I’d have been long gone, missing all the lessons on the way, and not giving myself the chance to reassess my direction. There is no real expansion available from this viewpoint. And quite honestly, it’s likely that no-one else can keep up either.
Change your assumptions.
You have everything you need already. The key is to operate right at the edge of your comfort zone relying on evidence that you already have. Maybe you haven’t flexed the muscles in a while or maybe you thought they weren’t relevant in a work context, but they are there to be leveraged.
Enjoy this journey. The best thing about it is that no-one really notices the baby steps you are taking so there’s no risk of the judgement you may fear. What they’ll see is the transformation at the end. It’s why that term “overnight success” exists. Take your time. Steady and consistent wins this race.
Susie Ramroop is a mindset coach helping female leaders to make a bigger impact by focusing on what truly matters. She is a popular speaker and runs the life changing Reset Retreat (now open for booking in June 2022)
You can find her book Be The Leader You Want To See on all online book stores including Audible.