How to Stretch the Elastic Band
“What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds.”
– Wayne Dyer
Some time ago, I witnessed a woman breaking past her comfort zone to get a glimpse of what was possible for her. There I was on the Toronto Transit Commission Airport Express bus, stopped at Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport, when a young woman whom I knew socially got on the bus, and she was very happy to see me.
Just a few minutes earlier, she had been in the departure area seeing a friend off and was about to make her way home. Having never traveled back home by public transportation from the airport late at night, she was worried (scared) about her safety and had considered spending the $50 it would cost to travel home by taxi. As a nanny, making a small amount of money per hour, this would have been a big sacrifice for her.
However, she had decided in that moment that she would save the money and take the chance to get out of her comfort zone and ride the bus. Naturally she was relieved to see me there, but I did not want her to miss out on the fact that even though I would be traveling with her for most of her journey home, she had in fact stretched herself in making that decision. Now she knew that there was no reason to fear should she have to travel this route again.
Many of us hold ourselves back from stepping out of our comfort zones, personally and in business often in fear of what lies beyond our immediate understanding or view. If you and I were having a conversation right now, what might be something that you would share with me that is holding you back from stepping outside your comfort zone? Where might you currently be holding yourself back, for fear of something that might not even exist, except in your mind?
The important thing to realize is that every one of us has something that we fear, something that keeps us in a holding pattern somewhere in our life or business. No one is immune to this feeling. We all essentially live in our various comfort zones, although some of us will push past whatever zone we are currently in faster than others, to create an even newer zone to break through.
Do you realize that you have actually survived everything that you have ever encountered in your life? Do you feel the magnitude of that? How do I know this? Because you are reading this right now!
No matter how bad you thought something might be, in the end, you got through it somehow. You have pushed out of your comfort zones time and time again. The real challenge is remembering this, because we have a tendency to forget how far we have come and all that we have accomplished.
I liken stretching our comfort zone to stretching an elastic band. If you have ever stretched an elastic band enough you will know that over time it never seems to go back to the same original form, it is now stretched out a bit more. Like the elastic band, when we do things that stretch our comfort zone, we never truly go back to the way we used to be. We create a new zone to which we can then decide how and when to stretch past it.
A big part of being a consultant and peak performance coach is getting the client prepared to stretch out of their self-imposed comfort zone and see what is possible on the other side. Once they have done this a few times, the fear can subside, and they gain confidence to attempt new things and push past their limitations.
Sometimes for business owners or high level employees in an organization there is a fear that changing course (pivoting) might not be a good decision and instead it is best to continue with a current strategy no matter the result down the road. I see this in vast types of companies and professions where it is more safe to do the same as everyone else (competitors) than to take a risk and try something new.
Instead by maintaining the status quo they wonder why their business is not doing as well as they hoped or worse that they are struggling to keep the business afloat. In fact, I once was speaking to a business owner who didn’t even know how he was going to make payroll the next month but was fearful of taking a chance in how he acquired new clients because as he said in his own words “in my profession we don’t do that…”.
Right now, ask yourself what comfort zone is waiting for you to stretch past? An even more important question might be how will your life and or business be different if you stretch it now?
POINTS TO PONDER:
• Where are you currently bound by some imaginary comfort zone?
• What needs to happen to help you push past this self-imposed limitation?
• When will you stretch that “elastic band” holding you back?
Sharon Worsley, The Business Development Ninja™ is the creator of the R7 System™ to Flood Your Business With Clients Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, helping businesses to ‘Wake Up, Shake Up, and Show Up’. She also consults and coaches peak performers to excel as leaders. To learn more, contact Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org