Stretching Your Comfort Zone
My heart was racing, my palms cold and sweaty, my mouth so dry I could hardly swallow, my belly doing backflips, and soft waves of nausea flowing through me at will. The voice in my head stuck on “Why did I say yes to this?!” Have you ever felt this way? I’m sure you have. It’s our evolutionary response to something our minds view as “life threatening”.
This is what speaking in front of people feels like for me. The 15 minutes before “go” time is agonizing. Pre-emptive Self Care begins long before those last 15 minutes, but nevertheless, my brain still kicks into crisis mode. My inner sense of self (aka “ego”) freaks out about being visible and being vulnerable. My trusty tools slightly soften the intensity — mindful breathing, stretching or moving my body, ritual connection with Source, using mantra, loving self talk — AND the only thing that makes it all dissolve is stepping forward and getting started. Soon after I begin, I settle in to sharing what’s on my heart to share and all is well.
Afterward I’m always blown away — why does this have to be so hard?! Speaking in public is hardly “life threatening”, yet even the most practiced public speakers will share that they feel much the same before going on stage. They’ll say that over time it gets easier, but it never fully goes away. Why is it that doing what we feel called to do and being “seen” feels so crazy scary?! I don’t know the answer entirely. Things like ego, acceptance, judgement, and vulnerability surely play a part..
What I do know, is that it’s necessary. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway is the definition of Courage. Going against the grain, creating a new “normal”, being seen, standing in your truth, speaking from your heart, and stretching your comfort zone takes Courage. Having Courage is what leads to Change. Without Change we can’t Transform. And without Transformation, we live in stagnation and dissatisfaction.
That special space outside our Comfort Zone is called the Growth Zone, and arriving there demands that we get uncomfortable. Either by choice or by happenstance.
Building support around the discomfort allows us to experience success which cultivates Confidence. Every step outside our Comfort Zone expands its boundary and empowers us with more freedom to live with vibrancy and authenticity. All of which leads to greater health and sense of well-being.
So perhaps I just answered my own question. Why does it have to feel so hard to grow, evolve, and stretch? Because that’s where the magic lives. Perhaps reframing my story around comfort is the lesson. Releasing my beliefs that joy and contentment exist only in feeling the “good feels” or that any sense of discomfort means I’m unsafe or not okay.
To do what I feel called to do and to create the life I want to experience, I will continue to stretch my comfort zone — feeling the fear and doing it anyway, remembering that I’m safe, calling in my supportive reinforcements as needed, and building confidence along the way.
Where are the boundaries of your Comfort Zone?
What triggers the symptoms I described above in “Fight or Flight” for you?
Where are you feeling stagnant and dissatisfied?
Where could you use some support for building confidence?