Last year, my business started talking to me, and perhaps my spirit started talking as well. I was feeling a bit complacent. A bit meh. Don’t get me wrong. I love my life, and I love serving my clients and teaching the things I teach. I am passionate about teaching others to implement the things that will help them with growth beyond their greatest expectations. But in the last year, much of what I was doing felt like it was coming with less ease. Less vigor. As a result, I started digging in to figure out what was going on. I discovered that I always pushed myself into new things—trying things a new way, launching new things, heading out on adventures. I realized I haven’t pushed out into my courage zone much as of late. So that’s where I’m headed this year.
Stephen Covey’s writing is where I first read about the Courage Zone, and for much of my life, I have truly embraced getting out of what’s comfortable into where I’m pushing myself. As I was researching the Courage Zone for this article, I came across a 1907 psychological study by Robert Yerks and John Dodson where they define the Goldilocks zone of arousal with regard to anxiety—If you’re too comfortable, boredom sets in; and if you’re too aggressive with your limits, panic sets in. But if you can stretch just shy of panic, you’re in the learning zone, which leads to growth. So, why not call the Courage Zone the Growth Zone?
As I was researching, I started thinking about what we can to do exercise our courage zone (or growth zone) muscle. The answer is that we need to break out of some of our well-worn habits. Eleanor Roosevelts said that you must do one thing every day that scares you. When was the last time you did that? American Psychologist Carol Dweck talks about how being isn’t becoming—which points right back to complacency and boredom. If we’re not becoming something or pursuing something new, we’re only being. As far as I’m concerned, simply being is a recipe for disaster and complete burnout.
What, then, can you do to exercise that courage zone so that when it comes time to do the big scary things, they’re easier or don’t evoke as much fear or even panic?
1. Practice honesty with yourself and others.
Telling people and ourselves the truth can be uncomfortable, so often we don’t say anything at all, or we hide. Think about how you can move to a place of compassionate honesty so that you’re doing good for others and yourself while being brave and telling them something they need to hear.
2. Dig into creativity and let go of perfectionism.
Try a new thing with that right side of your brain! Can you write with your other hand? Take a class? Watch a foreign film? Find ways to stretch your brain and do things you don’t normally do.
3. Try doing something you do habitually differently.
For instance, maybe make the coffee at a different time, pick out your clothes the night before, change what you eat for breakfast or even take a new walking or running route.. What do you do the same every day, and how can you make it new and a little uncomfortable?
If you can do these little things, you are exercising that muscle, which could lead you to taking some new risks, opportunities, or chances in your business which could lead you to massive growth.
For more on the Growth Zone, check out this article.
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