Comfort Zones Have Gotten a Bad Rap

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We seem to automatically assume that it’s a bad thing to have a comfort zone or to be comfortable in our comfort zone.  We’re told we have to get out of it.  We’re made to feel lazy or that there’s something wrong with us if we’re satisfied with our comfort zone.

This isn’t true!

To be in a comfort zone means that we are feeling good about ourselves.  We feel safe and secure.  There are no real threats to our wellbeing—mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually.  We feel capable and competent.  We have self-confidence and self-esteem.

This is a good thing!

When our comfort zone is working for us we enjoy a level of satisfaction and contentment.  Our life is working for us!

Comfort zones become “bad” when they stifle us, limit us, and cause us to live below our potential.  We become fearful or sad or frustrated—or a smorgasbord of all of these.  We can feel helpless and feel that we’re beyond hope.  When we have these feelings, they’re telling us it’s time to enlarge the boundaries of our comfort zone.

Sometimes we hesitate to move out of, or expand, our comfort zone.  We’re not sure what’s “out there”—if there is anything at all “out there” other than some sort of abyss.

We must remember that this state of unknowing is only temporary.  As we gain our footing, the Bravery Zone where we find ourselves will turn into our new comfort zone.  Isn’t that amazing?  I think it is!

Here are the three points to remember:

~Comfort Zones can be a good thing for us.  It can be the safe and stable place where we bloom and thrive;

~Comfort Zones are “bad” only when they stifle us and cause us to live below our potentials, accepting less than what we know we’re capable of;

~Outside of our Comfort Zone is our Bravery Zone.  Once we step into our Bravery Zones and give ourselves a chance to get used to it, our Bravery Zone becomes our new Comfort Zone!

Let me know what you think about this post.  Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

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Thoughts to Finish the Week Strong

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Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind from our discussions on the comfort zone this week:

~It’s good to have a Big Vision to strive for but day-to-day keep your focus on the one or two or three steps ahead of you—create a Small Vision for these few immediate steps.  Doing this will help you stay calm and feel more in control of situations.  This leads to confidence, which then dramatically increases the likelihood of you taking steps outside your comfort zone.  And all the Good Stuff in life is outside of your comfort zone!

~Change your thoughts about what’s beyond your comfort zone.  Ros Place of http://www.angels-with-ros.com/ refers to moving outside of her comfort zone as moving into her Bravery Zone.  I think this is brilliant!  To me, this sounds much less risky.  I know that might sound a little odd but just stating that I’m moving out of my comfort zone without saying anything else about it leaves me feeling like I’m hanging out there in an abyss.  If I say I’m moving into my Bravery Zone (or that I’m moving out of my comfort zone into my Bravery Zone) then there’s a name for and a definition of what’s beyond my comfort zone.  If I can name it and I can define it, then I have a shot (at least) of handling it.  It makes sense to me!  🙂

~You can do this; you can move out of your comfort zone into your bravery zone and achieve your dreams.  Take it one little tiny step at a time and keep taking tiny steps after tiny steps.  And finally, stay at a pace that works for you regardless of what others are doing or saying.

 

I believe in YOU!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

More Thoughts on Judith Sills’ book “The Comfort Trap or What if You’re Riding a Dead Horse?”

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Yesterday I told you about the seven steps to getting out of your comfort trap as outlined in Judith Sills’ book.  Today, I want to talk about the step “Create A Vision”.

This concept isn’t a new one for me.  I first heard of it years ago and even made several vision boards for myself.  Over time I found they didn’t really work for me.

In reading Judith Sills’ book and her explanation of creating a vision, it occurred to me why the vision boards never worked for me.  It was because even though I put on my board dreams and goals I really wanted, they were too far in the future and too big for where I was right then in the moment.  No wonder I always found myself back at square one!

I realized that the most effective visions are ones that are two or three steps ahead of where I currently found myself.  While it’s great for me to know where I’m headed—the big goal and big dream—it’s more effective regarding moving forward if I focus on the one, two, or three steps ahead.

For instance, if you want to pay closer attention to maintaining your health, your overall large goal may be becoming slim, trim, and physically fit.  This might be a long way from where you are, though.  In that case, start with creating a vision one or two steps ahead of where you are.

Your next-step vision might be acknowledging that you like to snack while you watch TV.  The next-step vision after that could be deciding to add something healthy to your snacking, such as fresh blueberries or another favorite fruit (it’s important to keep things positive so that at this very beginning and vulnerable stage, you don’t feel as if you must give up something, do without, and miss out on something you like and enjoy).

Another point to understand is that, once you get to step one or two, you can—and should—create a new vision for yourself.  Not only can you make new visions, but you can tweak and change the ones you’ve already made—nothing is cast in concrete or chiseled in stone.  What a concept!

What are you going to create a vision for?  Feel free to share in the comments below.  Thanks!

My “big” vision is to be fully prepared for the panel discussion I’ll be on in June at the health and wellness expo which will be hosted by Hearst Publishing (more info to follow soon!).  My next-step vision is to design a business card as well as a brochure that highlights the benefits of subscribing to Yes I Can Pep Talks.

I’m looking forward to working together through our visions!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

 

Comfort Zone Resource: “The Comfort Trap or What if You’re Riding a Dead Horse?” By Judith Sills, PhD

 

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We know we’re stuck in our comfort zones and we really want to get out but we’re not sure how to do that.  We look for guidance and most of it is of the “Just do it!” variety.  While this advice may work, often the gains are short-lived and we find ourselves right back where we started:  stuck in our comfort zones.

Needless to say, this can be frustrating and disheartening.

The good news is that I came across the book The Comfort Trap or What if You’re Riding a Dead Horse?  by Judith Sills, PhD., and I think it can help.  Judith Sills’ years of experience in her own counseling practice has enabled her to distill her extensive knowledge into these seven steps:

~Face What Hurts:  admitting that your comfort zone is no longer comfortable; identifying what about it is no longer comfortable;

~Create a Vision:  no one will move out of their comfort zone if there is not something better to look forward to and work toward;

~Make a Decision:  determining that “the horse is dead” and it’s time to move on;

~Identify Your Pattern:  has something similar happened before and how can you use it to move forward;

~Let Go:  detaching from what is no longer working; minimizing losses;

~Face Your Fear:  identifying and moving forward in spite of anxiety;

~Take Action:  laying out the steps to get from here to there.

 

Her book is written in an easy-to-read, engaging, and easy-to-understand style.  She illustrates the steps with anecdotes and real life examples of her clients’.  Also, her suggestions are simple to implement.

The section I found interesting was the Create A Vision chapter.  I’ve known about creating vision boards and have even made a few for myself in the past.  However, Judith Sills’ explanation sounded is much more doable and reasonable.

Let me know what you think of the book!  And, let me know if you’ve come across books that have helped you.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

How Comfortable is Your Comfort Zone?

 

 

 

I’ve come across a couple of books on the comfort zone that I think are good.  I’d like to share them with you, so this week we’ll be talking about a few tips, techniques, and steps for getting out of your comfort zone.

There are many good resources and I’d love it if you would share a few of the ones you’ve found helpful in getting you out of your comfort zone.  Feel free to leave the information in the comments below.  Thanks!

I’m looking forward to this week; it’s gonna be great!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Happy Easter: Resurrection and Transformation

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Happy Easter to all who celebrate the holiday!

 

In the Christian tradition, this day celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ—His defeat of, and mastery over, death.  You don’t have to be Christian or believe in Jesus–or follow any faith or religious tradition–in order to be inspired by this concept.

 

The Resurrection is about radical transformation and overcoming tremendous odds.

 

You’ve heard and read about people who have overcome bad childhoods who go on to make something extraordinary of themselves.  Right off the top of my head a few examples are Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, and Stephen King.

And it isn’t just famous people who seemingly have that special moxie to overcome the odds.  You probably know people who you thought were down and out for the count yet somehow managed to turn their lives around in spite of the odds.  I have two friends who are recovering alcoholics and both have been sober for over two decades.

Examples and inspiring stories of resurrection and radical transformation are all around us.  When you’re feeling hopeless and helpless, look around you and be inspired.

In the meantime, Happy Easter!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Back by Popular Demand: Look for the Helpers—Updated

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We’ve been talking all week about reaching out a helping hand to others as well as yourself.  I came across a post I did three years ago regarding Mr. Roger’s famous quote about always looking for the helpers because there are always helpers in any situation, no matter how bad or hopeless (posted 3/28/14).

I can personally attest to that fact.  I’ve had tough problems to wrestle with and situations that seemed hopeless.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised how neighbors, friends, loved ones, and even strangers have reached out a helping hand to me.  Sometimes it was a small gesture but other times people went out of their way to help.  I was deeply touching while it was happening and even now as I think about it, it’s still moving.

I urge you to ask for help if you need it; you’ll be pleasantly surprised how many people will help.  I also encourage you to keep reaching out a helping hand to others because you just don’t know who hangs in the balance—how your help will make all the difference to someone.

Feel free to share an experience where you were helped.  Also feel free to share about the help you gave.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren