About this time last year, I published a blog talking about the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone. It was shortly after I had my first skydiving experience – and that was definitely outside of my comfort zone!
As we shift gears into fall and back-to-school, I just stepped out of my personal comfort zone again and sent my youngest off to college. I’m excited about the future he has before him, but it’s a new season for me and my wife. It got me thinking again about the importance of expanding your comfort zone, especially if you’re trying to grow.
As leaders, stepping outside our comfort zone can become a fairly regular occurrence. You have to be willing to take the first step, to try what others may not be willing to try, to do that scary thing. I believe this is such an important part of our leadership journey that I wanted to revisit the topic. If you want, you can watch me tell my skydiving story (it’s just a little passionate!). It was a terrifying – and exciting – experience. But what I really want you to do this week is focus on how you can take that first, scary step into whatever it is that’s outside your box. As a leader, you have to be willing to take the first step and do the scary thing - the thing that no one else is willing to try. Click To Tweet
- I controlled my focus. I thought about all those who have gone before me, folks like our military who do this in situations requiring far more courage than this highly controlled jump. Thinking about that, I said to myself, “If you don’t do it, you’re a wuss!” I used some negative leverage to help control my focus.
- I changed my story. When fear creeps in, I change my story…I create a mantra. Something like “I am strong, I am resourceful, I am fearless” which swells to keep fear and negative thoughts from entering my mind. Create a mantra that will swell and force the fear out of your mind. Click To Tweet
- I changed my physiology. I stood up strong, I acted brave, I put my shoulders back and just stepped into it. And then I jumped.
I’ve used these techniques for more than twenty years in various situations. What works for you? I challenge you to intentionally expand your comfort zone this week. What scares the heck out of you, but you know you need to do it to get better? DO IT – this week. And then tell me about it! I can’t wait to celebrate that success with you!