A very wise mentor of mine once told me: "Success lies on the other side of your comfort zone."
What does this mean exactly? Let's first explore what defines our "comfort zone."
According to online sources: it is "the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity."
"A place or situation where one feels safe or at ease without stress."
The best definition is from the Cambridge Dictionary: "a situation in which you feel comfortable and in which your ability and determination are not being tested."
Need I say more? Our comfort zone may offer protection, but it is stagnant zone of energy where nothing new grows. Therefore, there's no magic. It is the zone of limited focus and automated habits.
How can anyone achieve a high level of success if they stay within their own limited boundaries? How does one achieve success if what they are doing is not pushing them beyond what their current abilities demand of them?
Success in life is the reward for hard work and dedication to a cause or effort, whether it be physical, mental or even emotional. It is an energy alignment with our highest good and any rewards received are earned not handed out randomly to those who continue to express at the same level day after day after day.
Rewards of success and personal fulfilment are reserved for those brave souls willing to "take risks" by moving beyond their own fears into uncharted areas of their lives.
Comment: Developing personal power to achieve goals
Fear is a tyrant of a ruler and the offspring of survival and those who lack self-confidence and dwell in low self-esteem are easy game for fear to operate in and take hold.
It keeps these uninspired individuals locked into their present situations (whatever they be) and feeds them excuse upon excuse about how they will fail if they try anything new. It is the voice of negativity whether listening to ourselves or to others.
Once fear gains ground, life becomes a repetition of the same old thing. We become a hamster on a wheel, going around and round only to end up at the same spot again. The words "I can't" play continually and keep those who entertain such negativity paralysed in this repetitive, demeaning circle.
Unfortunately, many, if not most of the world's population live their lives from this dead-end, unfulfilled pattern of negativity that leads to boredom with life and eventually depression.
There is no excitement to living life in this mediocre, uninspired, tethered to survival way. Excitement is the result of the new, of living and operating in the "now moment. It's a positive, potent force of energy pushing us towards greater heights, bigger more challenging goals and new adventures.
It is the key that opens the door to courage which in turn opens the door to adventure, passion, self-actualisation and personal fulfilment. All these are attributes of and help define individual success.
Moving past fear is, without doubt, the most important step towards getting beyond our current comfort zone. Once we tackle the initial blockage of fear, we find ourselves in a new dimension of perception. We begin dealing with life's challenges from positive perspective rather than a negative one. We open ourselves to acquiring new skills and setting new goals.
The words "I can" replace the defeating words "I can't" as we embrace and reach towards our personal visions, dreams and passions. The very same dreams that have been waiting patiently and perceived as unattainable are now clearly within our newly empowered grasp.
If your life seems to be on hold, it's time to take a hard look at what you are paying attention to. Are you paralysed in your own safe bubble, your own personal comfort zone of protection?
If so, it's time to break free and open yourself to new adventures and challenges because the reality is, "if it doesn't challenge you then it won't change you!" That scared feeling that emerges when you try something new is proof you are embarking on a journey and moving past your comfort zone to explore new and exciting things. It is a rush of energy that is both powerful and empowering to those who take the risk.
Life has never been about remaining stationary or stagnant. If it was, we'd still be living in caves. Every success or great discovery in life has been and will continue to be preceded by someone who pushed past their own protective barriers and comfort zone by bravely moving into previously uncharted territory.
You can't run and hide from life's challenges. The only way around them is through them. Embrace your challenges, move toward your dreams, go after your passions and visions as they tickle you to greater heights.
Face them with courage, unyielding motivation and invigorating excitement as you reach beyond your present known parameters and watch as your life bursts into new dimensions of reality without limits!
Every action we take outside of our comfort zone boosts our self-esteem to greater heights and expands our self-confidence supplying us with the zest to achieve the next one. It is the never empty pot of gold at the end of the rainbow patiently awaiting our focused attention and determination.
Our rewards will be great as added abundance, exciting new beliefs and adventures, personal fulfilment and dynamic achievement fill the void that fear previously held us bound to.
In the end we enjoy a high level of success in our own lives as we lay the groundwork and become bright guideposts for others to follow suit.
• Carolyn Hansen is co-owner of Anytime Fitness.