Comfort Zone – a great place to be?

I’m looking forward to joining Dave Stimson on Secklow Sounds this afternoon for his radio show ‘Transition’.

Today we’ll be talking about getting out of your comfort zone.  This is one of my favourite topics and gives me a chance to talk about my favourite tool.

Let’s start by talking you through this graphic.

The circle in the middle is your comfort zone, the white ring round it is the stretch zone and the outer ring is the panic zone.  For everyone the size of the ring is different depending on what is going on in your life.

Though the comfort zone is really attractive and safe as a place to be it can actually be really damaging.  The more time you spend in the comfort zone the smaller it becomes.  The fewer new things you do the more scary new things seem.  Sound familiar.  If this happens then new things take you straight to the panic zone and you scuttle straight back to the comfort zone in the middle.

To keep growing and evolving the aim is to make sure you are regularly spending time in the stretch zone.  This is when you are doing new things, learning and getting a little bit scared but only to the point where you don’t panic but you can stick with it.  As you do this more things become comfortable to you and your comfort zone grows.

Think about an example from your life.  For me learning to drive is a great example.  At first being in charge of a moving vehicle was really scary.  Luckily I only had one small experience which took me to panic as I was learning and so I was able to stay in the stretch.  To learn new skills and get more and more comfortable with them.  At some point (I’m not quite sure when) driving became something I was really comfortable with.  To the point where going out for a drive was something that comforted me when I was upset.  This activity is now in my comfort zone and going on Mike’s motorbike is now in the panic!

Think about the times when you are overwhelmed.  Are you spending too much time in the stretch zone?  This can be induced by a change in job where everything is new and challenging.  Maybe you are venturing too often into the panic zone, forcing yourself to do things that really scare you.  How do you feel?  Eventually you get burnt out.  The slightest thing takes you to panic, your stretch zone is tiny and you crave the comfort zone all the time.

Draw out your own ‘target’ now.  Let your gut feeling drive the size of your comfort zone, stretch zone and panic zone.  What does this tell you?  If you aren’t sure and want to talk this through give me a call on 01908 368607.

About Clare Wildman

Life coaching from Lincolnshire. Having moved from Milton Keynes I'm now based between Boston and New York, in the UK. Looking forward to welcoming clients to the new coaching room and having the option for walking as we talk or taking advantage of sunny days in the garden.