Louise Thompson

Inspirational advice to rock your life with energy, passion, happiness and balance.

Louise Thompson: Get out of your comfort zone regularly

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Plunge out of your comfort zone and into new experiences. Photo / Thinkstock
Plunge out of your comfort zone and into new experiences. Photo / Thinkstock

I love this one. I come up against it with many of my fabulous coaching clients. Clients come because they want change in one or many areas of their life. However: in order for life to FEEL different we need to learn to THINK different and we actually have to DO different. And that's when a fear of getting outside the comfort zone can start to kick in.

Here's the thing. If you want to leave your crappy marriage, your soul-sucking job, your disconnected bunch of friends, take that scary looking promotion or whatever, then at some point You Need To Be Brave. Yes, you need to make wise preparations and all those good sensible things, but, you can only plan and organise so much. At some point you need to be brave and take a step out of your comfort zone.

It's like learning to swim. Sure, you can watch DVD's on how to swim, you can read a book on technique, you can go see how it's done at the pool or the beach, but at some point if you want the new feel-good sensation of being able to swim you just gotta get wet.

Many people often make a very misleading assumption. That if something is the right thing to do when they come to do it there will be no fear. Not always true my friend, I am sorry to tell you. And it's this waiting for the moment of No Fear to come that kills thousands of splendid plans and life-enhancing moves forward.

What's important is to separate "this is right for me"/"this is wrong for me" as a decision from the sensation "this feels scary"/"this feels comfortable". We can often get them confused in our minds and think they are the same question. They are not. Answer the first question first.

Is this right for me or wrong for me? Take the emotional sensation out of the equation just for a moment. Assess whether it's the right choice for you in your life to set up your own business or break up with your partner or join the Territorial Army or whatever. You will feel a "rightness" or a lightness in your body and the way you hold yourself.

Wrongness will feel restricting, tense, heavy. Rightness will feel like relief, or excitement. Attend to this feeling first.

Once you know if this is a decision that is right or wrong then you can figure out the fear thing. Remember that right decisions will not necessarily come without fear and that fear does not make them wrong. As a handy equation to remember it looks like this:

Sensation of "wrongness", heaviness, tightness + fear = don't do it

Sensation of "rightness", relief, lightness + fear = put a wise plan in place and jump

It's like shoes (I am a statement shoe fiend so you can never have too many shoe metaphors in my opinion). We all have a crappy old pair of shoes that we know we should really just put in the bin, but, oh my they are moulded to the shape of our foot, they are just so damn comfy. That comfort factor makes them hard to let go of. But, sometimes it's just time to upgrade. Buy some new pretty shoes and wear them in. Look at them and feel that "I got new shoes" feeling. It's just time. You have to let go of the old comfortable feeling to have the new and the shiny.

So, that big promotion that scares you but feels exciting and right? Put a plan in place, get a support crew, do some research or reading on what you can to increase your comfort level but don't wait for "no fear". Get out of your comfort zone. The best discoveries in life are usually found out there. You are braver, better, smarter, more creative, than you give yourself credit for.

Be brave and push the boundaries in 2013.


Louise Thompson is a life coach, yoga teacher and corporate escapee. For more from Louise visit www.positivebalance.co.nz.

- NZ Herald

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