One of the things I love the most about my role as a coach and facilitator is the opportunity to work with people to face their fears and expand their comfort zone. We all have a comfort zone, it’s made up of the things we do habitually and at times subconsciously. The route we take to work each day, the mug we choose for our cup of tea, the spot we occupy on the sofa, and the brands we repetitively buy, and so on… all of these little habits or rituals make up our comfort zone.
Something else to consider is that our mind and our thinking patterns also have a comfort zone! The type and quality of our thoughts leads to the type and quality of our actions, which of course leads to the type and quality of our outcomes.
In simple terms: what we think dictates what we do, which impacts what we get!
Therefore when we are faced with a situation that evokes fear in us, our mental comfort zone is likely to go into a ‘protective’ defensive state. We picture all that could go wrong and quickly talk ourselves out of taking any risky action. From my experience the top 10 most common work place scenarios that evoke fears (in no particular order) are:
- Speaking in front of groups or public speaking
- Dealing with conflict
- Voicing opinions that differ from the majority
- Performance managing under performers
- Confronting highly assertive or aggressive people
- Saying what you really think to your manager
- Asking simple questions
- Challenging negative people to be more positive
- Change in systems, structure, people or processes
- Learning and development… and in particular role play!
What if you could expand your comfort zone to a place that allows you to act constructively and courageously in all of the circumstances? One thing is for sure… You would be occupying some pretty rare air! Think about all the things you could achieve if you had no fear… and then the question becomes; but how?
The answer is surprisingly simple: stop stressing about what could go wrong, and start visualising all that could go right! In the book ‘Three Simple Steps’ by Trevor Blake the emphasis in step one is all about developing the right mindset. He says that we must change from being against things we don’t want, to being for things we do want. That’s all we need to do!
Next time you are faced with a fear try stretching your mental comfort zone, think about what you do want, not about what you don’t want… chances are you might surprise yourself.