One of our biggest risks as leaders, entrepreneurs, heck …as humans, is escaping the problems and drama that we’ve grown accustomed to.
Last week Jill and I were on a call with a client and she was squarely in the ‘messy middle’ of navigating some unpleasant circumstances.
Her uncomfortable circumstances were the result of getting out of her comfort zone and initiating new boundaries, new conversations, and making a few tiny, bold moves.
Just the thought of doing something different, or engaging with others in new ways, can be scarier than sticking with the status quo.
We’re simply not biologically wired to push beyond our comfort zone. Our brains do everything in their power to keep us safe and minimize risk.
Yet, pushing beyond our comfort zone is where the magic happens.
We might assume that someone like Lady Gaga has only ever known success and fame. Except, she’s human just like you and me.
I doubt that leaving her comfort zone gets any easier, especially as she continues to push boundaries as a singer, songwriter, and actress.
“WHEN I WAKE UP IN THE MORNING, I FEEL LIKE ANY OTHER INSECURE PERSON. THEN I SAY, BITCH, YOU’RE LADY GAGA, YOU GET UP AND WALK THE WALK TODAY.”
There are generally two approaches for getting out of your comfort zone and making bold moves.
I’ve tried both and they get results. Although I wouldn’t recommend the first approach for most people as it comes with some intense consequences.
Approach#1: This is what I like to call the nuclear approach. It’s essentially blowing things up and picking up the pieces after the dust settles.
This approach is fast and furious. It’s what I might imagine special forces training to be like.
I’ve applied this approach when a full-scale change was required for the sake of my sanity, safety, and well-being. It can look like exiting a toxic job, relationship, or living situation quickly.
It’s often needed but could have been prevented by taking the second approach.
Approach #2: This approach is about being curious and stretching yourself one small step at a time.
This approach is moderate and well-scripted. It’s like giving yourself 6 months to find a new job, pivot a struggling business, or setting boundaries in a relationship.
But make no mistake, this approach isn’t comfortable just because it’s slower. It’s about making small, incremental shifts that are required for you to grow and evolve.
If we aren’t proactively pursuing growth and challenging our old patterns and habits, we stay stuck, and nothing changes.
And as my client from the example above stated …
“WHEN THE PAIN OF STAYING THE SAME IS NO LONGER BEARABLE, THERE’S NO CHOICE BUT TO BE BRAVE AND FACE YOUR FEARS.”
How to Make Bold Moves
If you’re wanting to make bold moves but you’re not quite sure where to start, here’s a few steps I’d recommend:
Step One: Acknowledge the Resistance
By acknowledging that you’ll naturally want to stay comfortable and resist change, you won’t give up when the discomfort and pain happens. In fact, you’ll welcome it as a sign that you’re on the right path to growth. The more we rail against what’s not working, the more likely we are to stay trapped there.
Step Two: Bless the Mess
With outdated behaviors, habits, and relationships, it’s better to bless them and move on.
Thank them for protecting you when you needed them and then wish them good riddance.
Step Three: Quicken the Pace
Quicken the pace of making tiny, bold moves. This puts the energy of momentum in your favor.
I like to think of this as the bootcamp equivalent to getting in shape. It’s far easier to commit to 15-minutes a day of intense exercise than it is to carve out 60-90 minutes two or three times a week.
Research on achieving mental fitness overwhelmingly supports the value of daily repetition for an extended period of time.
This is what allows us to convert new insights into neural pathways or mental muscles that form the new habits.
Step Four: Place Yourself in an Environment of Excellence
I remember starting a new role for an organization that had very high expectations of me and everyone else who worked there.
I had no choice but to uplevel my style of working and communicating …and fast!
Every day felt like getting punched in the mouth (in a good way). That environment brought out the very best in me. It required me to adopt new habits and be absolutely impeccable with my daily focus.
By placing myself in an environment of excellence, I was able to normalize to the expectations and behaviors of those around me.
It literally pulled forth a part of me that I never knew existed.
And now I understand that a proven way for me to make bold moves is to put myself in environments that stretch me and call forth my best.
Step Five: Ask for Help
Lastly, making bold moves will require you to ask for help.
If you’re truly committed to getting out of your comfort zone and making bold moves, get support that will help you stay focused when you want to quit.
For years, I’ve enlisted coaches, masterminds, and my team to help me overcome inertia, see blind spots, and stay in the game.
When you’re making bold moves, it’s not a matter of if you’ll get punched in the mouth, it’s a matter of when.
And having the support you need will help you shake it off, spit out the blood, and stay in the ring for the next round.
Every step, every micro-adjustment towards expansion dissolves the stuckness. Eventually, you’ll be roaming freely in a much larger territory.