Monday, 27 May 2019
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How to Stop Living in Fear and Start Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone

I think I may know why we are so obsessed with super heroes good versus evil.

Good overcoming no matter what no matter how big, scary or evil the arch enemy.

Its because it symbolizes how we wish it could be in the real world.

Imagine it&your life is now a movie&

You have music in the background because you are off to work/college/meet friends and your life is pretty normal (all appears well) then on screen, we get a few scenes where your life looks great.

You water your plants (or shrug at your ability to kill anything green), walk the dog, feed the fish, kick back with a good book or hugging a loved one on the sofa with a bucket of popcorn, then all hell breaks loose&

Within 20 minutes, if your life were a film you are feeling, like nothing could ever be the same again and that no one understands what you are going through.

Fear is not the word that springs to mind. Its more likely to be:

  • Why me?
  • Life will never be good again.
  • I cant fight this.
  • I dont know where to start.
  • This is too big.
  • I cant do this alone.
  • My life is over.
  • We are all doomed!

If your life were a movie, then its all fine (you really dont need to worry) because at this stage in your film life, when life is so all consumingly going in the wrong way with no way out and death is likely imminent, along comes:

  • A scientist who cant necessarily get you back to Normal but can make you a nifty suit and help you become a super hero that everyone loves; after some quirky, funny and lesson learning scenes where you get a few things wrong but learn tons.
  • A rich tycoon who already has a team of super heroes they secretly work with, can see true potential in you (after the youre rough around the edges kid scene) they introduce you to the other superheroes and you learn that it doesnt matter what you are like; you will find a network of people that will love respect, trust and help you.
  • An evil so big that everything youve ever believed in as at risk of the worst case scenario, therefore no matter how petrified you are, you somehow find a way to save the world (and your pot plant, dog and/or loved one).

Okay back to reality.

Alas there are not many super heroes around (if you know otherwise I can keep a secret), however I think we feel more than ever we need to feel that there is a solution.

Life is fun exciting, challenging (in a good way) fast paced, energized and a ton of other awesome things but its also overwhelming, scary and sometimes feels like you are fighting a super villain and you dont have the super hero kit to get through it.

Ive never had a client ask me to help them make them a super hero, however Ive had plenty ask me to help them feel more in control of their life and I think that is something we all desire to some degree.

Control of our lives can be eradicated when we feel frightened, un-powerful and like we are trapped in our lives. And often the first sign that we actively recognize is a comfort zone or stress.

But if you think back to our super heroes, no matter how trapped they are, they always find a way out. A solution that no one ever thought could work and thats often what coaching is about coming to a problem and looking at it in a unique way that enables you to find solutions to fight fear and get out of your comfort zones. And you wont need a scientist, a rich tycoon or a devastating intergalactically incident to find those solutions.

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I want to share with you some of the winning techniques Ive used with my clients to help you too.

1. Rethink the Question Am I Weird?

Ive had so many clients ask me this question, I think I should call my next book Am I weird!

Everyone thinks that the way they are responding, acting, feeling and thinking is unique; that they are the only person to feel like they cant face work or their friends or their day because of a fear or a comfort zone.

We all have times like this and its important to remember 2 things:

There is no such thing as normal in my book

Everyone is just who they are. It doesnt need analyzing, or questioning if you like who you are. Or if who you are serves you well, respects those around you. And if giving you the life, career and happiness you want, then no, its not weird. And its all good.

The issue becomes when you find yourself trying to compare your weirdness (or lack thereof) to everyone else and how that then impacts on you.

Weird is good

Check out the best characters in film, book or TV, and you are likely to see that someone else has tried to insult them with the term weird.

Weird is used when you want to suggest that someone or something is different. Different is not bad, the hard bit is finding the confidence to be who you are to embrace your differences and your weirdness.

A little useful side note according to the Oxford English Dictionary:[1]

Weird The adjective (late Middle English) originally meant having the power to control destiny

And who wouldnt want that?

Truly, hear me when I say embrace your weird.

2. Listen up

Just as the newly discovered super hero struggles to accept their super skills, limitations or fears, so do you have to do the same. And if you strip back any successful story (fictional or real), you will discover its not a magic potion or a superior race that enables the hero to achieve success, it starts with who they listen to.

How many times in your life have you heard yourself saying:

Why didnt I listen to my gut instinct?

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Why didnt I listen to my Mum/Aunt/Friend/Boss?

Just as being weird in its original meaning meant to be able to control destiny until you can actually do that, you do need to learn who to listen and when to listen.

Heres how to take action on this:

Listen to yourself (sometimes)

I was working with a client who told me that they could never upset the way things worked in their company. They couldnt tell their boss they felt there was a better way! This meant that they felt trapped in their career, incapable of achieving more and like they werent meeting their true potential.

Enter frustration, anger, stress, work hatred and a sense of being trapped if only they could get out of their comfort zone and tell their boss what they thought!

Learning to trust what they knew meant that they could rationalize and justify their thoughts and reasoning and work out what to do (if anything.)

We worked together to understand why they wanted to say something:

  • Was there envy at the bosss job or was this genuine belief that they knew a better way?
  • Could they prove what they felt was possible and the benefits to those involved?
  • Did they have ulterior motives that werent positive?
  • What would be the best way to move forward and why would it work best for them?

If you need to learn to listen to yourself, start by asking questions (not looking for solutions) and you will start to ask some really smart questions that help you analyse your feelings, actions, etc without guilt, stress and other negative emotions getting in the way.

This process also allows you to find answers personalized to you. In my experience, so often its the silly little ideas that have the most power. Okay so Dumbo is not considered a super hero but think back to Dumbo and his magic feather that enabled him to fly, was there any magic?

Nope, but there was a belief that the magic existed this process helps you do that.

This process also enables you to know when your own thoughts are doing their best to keep you trapped. You can become your own Kryptonite telling yourself the most awful things (that are usually not even true!) So be cautious of what you say to yourself and the questioning will help you to become more aware of this.

Choose your network wisely

Weve all trusted someone and later questioned How could I have let that person have had an impact on my life, thoughts and actions?

Back to weird being a good thing, right?

But the fact is the people you choose to spend your time with can in their selves become a powerful tool to getting out of your comfort zone but could also trap you there!

So look out for the heroes in your life, that say things like:

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  • Whats your thoughts on that? Do you think its a good idea?
  • Where did your desire to do this come from?
  • Do you really want that or are you hiding something from yourself?
  • Hang on a minute, you can do this, remember the time you did xxxx

People that can supply you with evidence of your brilliance and who reinforce the positive and your goals, but also challenge your beliefs, thoughts and actions are like gold dust (or super hero serum.)

They will enable you to be able to take a step back and really understand why your comfort zones are controlling your life. They are there to celebrate your wins, appreciate your frustrations when it doesnt go to plan and give you the faith and confidence to keep going dont think you can do it all on your own.

Everyone, even super heroes get an element of confidence from their network. Its not all internal!

And look out for the super villains who say:

  • Are you sure you want to do that?
  • That sounds like a lot of work, are you up to that?
  • Why would you want to do that, I thought you loved your life/work/partner/house plant.
  • You should tell them what you really think.

People that make comments like these arent looking at it from your point of view, or with your ultimate wants and needs at the heart of their responses. They are seeing it from their perspective of life and their own limitations on what they feel can be achieved; and this influences the way they respond.

Yes, there are a few social vampires out there that will try and ruin your belief in anything better but, most super villains are far subtler than that.

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