We all find ourselves at some point out of our comfort zones. The thing with comfort zones is that they are different for each of us. What’s comfortable for me may not be comfortable for you and vice versa.
I’m writing this sat at the airport waiting for my flight home. This trip was out of my comfort zone on so many levels. Thankfully, I’m sitting here, with my bottle of sparking water and my duty free, with a new appreciation of what I can be comfortable with and what I’m capable of.
This trip has, however, got me to take a step back and recognise that we don’t often talk about stepping outside of our comfort zone or what the strategies might be to support you when your on a voyage of discovery. So I thought I’d share a few learnings and strategies from the last five days.
Maintaining connection with my support network has been invaluable. Many of mine knew this trip was a test of my comfort zone without me having to say anything, which in itself says something about them. However, at times of self-doubt, low confidence or nervousness they have provided the support I’ve needed. They’ve provided the safe space to share my feelings and discomfort and provided acknowledgement, support and connection.
Taking the time to take care of me. I needed to be at my best during this trip in order to deliver what the client wanted and needed. We don’t just turn up at our best because we demand it of ourselves. It takes care and effort. So, I’ve encouraged and committed myself to keeping up with exercise, reading books and when I’ve been awake at 2am because my body clock simply wasn’t playing the game, I indulged and watched a box set (side note – highly recommend Keeping Faith by BBC). These simple actions are what I need to maintain my energy levels and keep me at my best.
I’ve stayed in tune with my emotions – acknowledging them and getting curious about them. For me during the last five days, it’s been intriguing as many of the feelings could be considered opposites; fear and courage, lonely and supported, energised and tired, relaxed and anxious. Being aware and noticing them, and in my case journaling about them has really allowed me to lean in and learn from them.
Watch that inner critic. I remember on the flight here, that my inner critic was quite active. Not a surprise really, when we’re outside of our comfort zones, our inner critic wants to keep us safe and protect us. Admirable, but not always helpful! I was having a crazy chat about why on earth had I flown the day I had and had I taken all the security measures I needed to and all sorts of things between. I noticed my thinking and decided that this perspective wasn’t supporting me and decided to adopt a new one – one focussed on the strength, confidence and wisdom.
Lastly, as I sit here I’ve been reflecting on all the things I’ve learnt and what I’ve appreciated about the last five days. We so often rush on to the next thing, that we forget to pause and recognise how far we have come. Yes, this wasn’t a life changing comfort zone test, but I am sitting writing this knowing that as a business owner I am stronger, more confident and more resourceful than when I started this trip.
As I sign off, I admit I’m tired. I’ve put my mind, soul and body into this trip. It’s been worth every minute. I’ve given and learnt so much. So shortly I’ll start my 17 hour, multi stop flight, ready to rest, relax and rejuvenate for whatever and whenever the next comfort zone test is.
If you’ve got a situation coming up that’s going to test your comfort zone, what will you do to set yourself up in the best way possible?