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The Comfort Zone - Finding your limits

You may have seen me talk about a statement " The map is not the territory". This statement has proved really useful for clients, who have felt limited to do or get what you want.

To explain this phrase simply I would start by saying, we know we are unique... each experience is not an exact imprint of another human, to our knowledge. Our perspective on life, our experience of the world is what we make it and with that we build ourselves walls, fence ourselves into a system of thoughts, beliefs and the "doing" of life. Some work wonderfully for us, others we find at points in our life need a little bit of landscaping to determine new parameters and expand our options.

It's possible for us to explore new maps and versions of our self without losing sight of those bits of us that work just as we want them to.

I recently visited Dusseldorf in Germany. One of the things I love about travelling (especially since having my coaching business) is that I really become a-tuned to my "map" in new environments.

It's amazing how "unconsciously" we make our way through systems of transport, restaurants, interactions in the UK with little or no conscious thought in the day to day.

In Dusseldorf I embarked on unfamiliar territory, different transport systems, observed peoples compliance with pelican crossings and made attempts to communicate politely with my limited German language skills.

Throwing myself into a new system reaped benefits and opportunities to learn. Not content with staying in the "comfort zone" of the hotel/city region I ventured out to explore the wilds of the suburbs and enjoyed fantastic views on a 9 mile walk (I am never one to miss out on some time in the woods!).

As a Coach I have learned to feel more comfortable and excited outside of that ever-habitual "comfort zone". Understanding the benefits I reap from exploring the "just-outside-of-comfort". Whether developing practical skills, reaching new goals or even benefiting my well-being (as the time in the countryside offered me). Being "out-of-the-zone" creates a new map and new opportunities.

When you start coaching with me, we will no doubt look at two key focuses at your starting point:

a) what's the problem?

b) What do you want?

Once this is established coaching helps to identify steps that you need to take to get there, these are not just practical steps... Often and more importantly these are aspects of your current belief or behaviours that mean you haven't yet reached part b.

When embarking on the coaching journey (a to b) the topic of the comfort zone can often come into discussion. It's is no surprise that we work at ease in our "comfort zone" it's very name is cosy, reassuring and in practice it involves little thought, energy or change.

I am also very aware that for some, the comfort zone is indeed the opposite of comfort, maybe stifling, repetitive or hopeless (this all depends on your problem/experience... your map of the world).

Ask yourself, how does my problem relate to my comfort zone? Like a loyal pet or a persistent rash?

Navigate the zones!

The phrase "out of my comfort zone" has many a negative connotation.... wrongly so in my opinion! Being just outside of "comfort" optimises performance, it accesses new capabilities. It takes us to new corners of "our map". The way we get there is of course important to success and that is where coaching can resource if you are reading this thinking, "I wouldn't know where to start?".

Let's Explore

Now the "just outside" has a few alias', stretch zone, learning zone, performance zone are some of the names in theoretical models. This is where the fun happens and where the party starts. Determine a clear vision of what your goal is and welcome the zone that gets you there! Resource new skills, learn to re-program thoughts about this zone and the goals that sit within it

The "Oh No" zone

It's important to know how far to step at once.

Like wise - step tooooo far out and your in the Danger zone, the snap zone, the panic zone.... My guess is no one wants to be there... it doesn't sound too fun right? This is the zone where unrealistic goals are set, where fear sets in and shuts down hopes of success.... where there is a mismatch between resources, beliefs, capabilities. This is burn out, this is attempting to beat Mo Farah when you can't even jog to the shops. This is robbing a bank to start a business venture in finance.... Maybe you already went to this zone and are recovering from the impact. A re-connection with the middle core and a little bit of comfort for good measure and you can get back on track.

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