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Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone: Five Tips

June 19th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

You’ve heard it before, “move out of your comfort zone” is the familiar phrase spoken by many entrepreneurs, gurus and mentors. As a therapist and small business owner, I’ve come to appreciate the sage advice to move beyond my comfort zone in business, relationships, and life.  When it came time for me to launch out into private practice, I had to move through some pretty intense fears related to income security, fears of failure, and concerns about making good decisions all on my own, but I understood that fear should not be allowed to determine how you go about life.

Fast forwarding to the present moment, I now own my own practice as a therapist helping clients move through relationship and emotional limitations and as a small business coach helping other healing practitioners and creative types start and grow the business of their dreams. I am privileged to help others find and live out their God-given life purposes in all areas of their life and I am working the way I’ve always wanted.  Even so, I find that I have to continually fight the human urge to keep things safe and comfortable.  Keeping things safe and comfortable is a sure recipe for no growth, fewer rewards, and stagnation, so I have to make a conscious effort to push myself beyond my comfort zone each and every day to enjoy spiritual, emotional, and financial growth.

Don’t let yourself stagnate, push yourself out of comfort zones in all areas of life.
Here are 5 tips to help you step outside your comfort zone and into the adventure and success zone:

1. Change your thoughts – Everyone struggles with limiting thought patterns from time to time, but because thoughts drive feelings and behavior, it is important to learn to harness those negative thoughts and replace them with more reality-based, positive thoughts. It is absolutely true that when we choose to pay attention to the positive aspects of life this thought pattern orients our mind-body system toward success-inviting behaviors.

Start by examining those pesky little “what if” questions that creep into our minds. Questions like, “What if I allow myself to be vulnerable and emotionally invest in this relationship but discover that it won’t work?” or  “What if I open up my own office and can’t get enough business to pay the rent?”. These are the kind of fear-based questions that will keep you in your comfort zone. Harness those questions and replace them with positive “what if” questions. “What if I open up emotionally in this relationship and it frees up the other person to feel better about connecting with me?” or “What if spoke at an association meeting and was able to communicate my passion about my work?”

2. Move through fear with action. Use your fears to challenge yourself to new heights. The best antidote to fear is taking action. Take an adventurous approach to anything you fear. Are you afraid to fly on airplanes and as a result, keep missing out on family vacations?  Talk to a counselor, coach, or friend and then do it – step on to that airplane and breathe deeply while you fly to your next awesome family vacation.  Are you afraid to invest time, energy and money into a business idea you’ve had for a long time?  Get some objective advice about best business practices for your idea and then step out in faith.  Are you afraid to speak in front of groups? Perhaps you could join Toast Masters and learn how to speak in a group where everyone else is also learning.

The crazy thing about fear is that it is an emotion that is rarely based in truth. Fear is generally based on cognitive distortions – thoughts that are skewed in deceptive ways.  Don’t let some distorted version of reality stop you from making gains, start taking actions and move through the fear.

3. Picture yourself reaching that next level of success. The brain can more easily create new neural pathways when we engage as many of the senses as possible, so create a mental movie that is rich in details. What would it look like when you reach that major goal? What kinds of sights, smells, tastes and feelings will you experience once you reach that goal? Take a few 5 minute breaks throughout the day to relax with deep breaths and run your mental movie. The more you picture yourself accomplishing your goal, the more likely you are to move out of your comfort zone to create the new thoughts and behaviors needed to succeed.

4. Take up a hobby or sport that moves you out of your comfort zone. Some people go sky-diving or wind-surfing to provide them the opportunity to experience the mind-body feeling state of doing something new and conquering fear. You do not necessarily need to take up a high-risk hobby or sport to move out of the comfort zone. You could try something as simple as hiking a little longer or higher than usual, taking a sculpting class, painting a picture without being concerned with the outcome or joining a community softball team.

The emotional and mental experience of trying a new hobby or sport will translate to an expanded vision for your life, your relationships, and your career/business. Your brain will grown new neural networks as you try new things and experience new feeling states which will result in growing your ability to try new approaches, think new thoughts, and attempt new ways of doing things in all areas of life.

5. Invest money into your personal development.  When times are tight, our knee-jerk reaction is to tend to cut back on classes, coaching, or counseling.  Instead of giving in to the temptation to slash growth-producing spending, find some savvy ways to invest in your personal development.  This will signal your own psyche that you value yourself as a wonderfully created being and that you have faith in yourself to grow to new heights in life, love and work.

If you need help moving out of your comfort zone, consider investing in counseling, business or career coaching, mentoring, or consult an objective person who will help you set new goals and reach for the stars.  Make this phrase your life mantra, “Feel the fear, and do it anyway!”

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Overcome Your Fear of Failure

March 26th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

Fear can be both a helpful response and a hindering response in life depending upon what kind of fear is occurring and how you respond to it. When you are growing up, fear played an important role in teaching you not to touch a hot stove or run into traffic. Later in life, those same fears can become a hindrance to successful living if they are not put into their proper perspective.

One common fear that most adults share is the fear of failure. When we take a closer look at all the different definitions of failure that people think of – we will realize that the true fear is not the actual failure, but what happens after the failure. For example, if you fail at your new job and they fire you, the fear is more about what will happen to you after you lose the job. The concerns that could crowd your mind might be “will I be unable to find new work and end up homeless?” or “will I be forced to get a job I hate in order to survive?”.

There is one surefire way to overcome a fear of failure:  surviving failure.  I can hear the outcry now, “That is crazy – I don’t want to fail, yet to overcome fear of failure, I have to fail?!!”.  Yes.  When you have several failures under your belt, you can look back and see how you were able to move forward despite the failure.  These “failures” become evidence that your brain needs to begin to understand and embrace that failing is simply ruling out one possibility.  There are many possible ways and means of accomplishing something, and you just keep trying until you find the right path.

The only time that we truly fail is when we quit.  Quitting is the customary human response when the going gets tough, so nourish your mindset with a new attitude of searching out new ways to accomplish your goal.  For the past 15 years, I have been a professional, licensed psychotherapist providing therapy in various settings (non-profit and private practice).  I came to a point where I realized that I was not going to be able to continue being an effective wife, mother and full-time counselor since counseling can be a very emotionally demanding job.  I began my own personal business coaching at that point, to explore new ways of working to be able to cut back on my hours as a counselor.

After choosing to provide business coaching for individuals needing support in launching their business or growing their business, I was excited, passionate and motivated to do the tasks I needed to do to target a new kind of client.  I faithfully began blogging, writing newsletters geared toward business-minded people, and using social media.  The results of  my marketing were tepid at best and I began to get discouraged.  I began to let the lack of results discourage me and I began to question if I had chosen the wrong path to pursue.

When I did work with a new business client, I found myself so thoroughly energized and passionate that I stuck it out.  I began to experiment with new forms of marketing and I had to continually rearrange my thoughts and beliefs to accommodate new approaches to my new business coaching practice.  Now, my two years of tepid results has given way to more wonderful business clients to help and I am happy that I did not give up.  It taught me that if an individual knows they are good at something and passionate about something, they must not give up.  It taught me that you can change your approach, change your mindset and even adjust your business model to keep moving forward and hit success.

Next time you are tempted to think, “I must have stepped outside of God’s will and chosen  the wrong path,” or “There is no way I will be able to do this,” or “I must not be cut out for this,” stop those thoughts and remind yourself that slow and steady wins the race.  Remaining steady and giving yourself permission to experiment with different paths to your goal will allow you to experience “failure” in a way that will teach you just how fail-proof (or should I say “quit-proof”) you really are.

If you have been sitting on the sidelines because of some sort of fear of failure, business or life coaching can be just the thing to help you find those new ideas, new pathways to reach your goals.  Sherry offers a complimentary 20 minute consultation with prospective business-starters or current business-owners who are looking to grow or change their business.  Contact Sherry through the Contact Form at www.creativepathtogrowth.com to schedule your consult.

 

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How to Be Happy

March 5th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

Do you know how to be happy?  This could sound like a strange question, but too often people think happiness is something that happens TO them. Let’s stop a moment and see if we can properly define happiness.  Webster’s seems to think it is the following: ”a state of well-being and contentment.”  This seems about […]

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Ten Key Attributes of Successful Entrepreneurs

January 20th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

There are entrepreneurs who have seemed to have all the luck in the world – launching products, services or businesses at just the right time (filling a need) and in just the right way with key people who have been instrumental in supporting these successful launches.  I don’t call it luck, however, I do believe […]

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The Path to Success: Act As If

December 13th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

We have all heard about the power of positive thinking.  “Just tell yourself you can – and you will”, they say.  But does this work on any level?  The traditional teachings of positive thinking have proven to be disappointing for some folks in certain situations.  There are some problems with the way positive thinking has […]

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Want Success? Get Stubborn!

October 27th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

The key to success in business, in a hobby, in sports, in any endeavor – is to hang there even when it seems like your endeavor is too hard to accomplish. One personality trait that successful business women and men possess is the ability to stay stubborn in the face of apparent defeat. When you […]

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Forgive to Create Success in Life and Business

September 5th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

There are pages and pages of advice about how to succeed in life and business, but one aspect of success that rarely receives proper discussion is the act of forgiveness.  How does forgiveness lead to success in life and business you ask?  When you forgive a person or an organization for any wrong committed against […]

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Why Do We Need to Plan for Success?

May 23rd, 2011 by Sherry Collier

Planning comes naturally to some folks, and not so naturally to others.  I am one of those that it does NOT come to naturally.  Throughout my life I have had to learn the art and science of planning, goal-setting, and using a structured way to move toward my life purpose.  I tend to go with […]

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Nourishing Your Mind for Success

April 18th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

Every business owner comes to realize at one time or another, that the things we feed our mind determines how much (or how little) success we will experience in life and business.  When we nourish our mind with positive, uplifting sights, sounds, information, and thoughts – we grow and thrive.  This must be done on […]

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Creativity: 5 Tips to Get it Flowing in Life and Business

March 28th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

Growing a business can consume your brain if you allow it.  One challenge business owners face is that the large amounts of “left-brained” activity it takes to get a business off the ground and growing can seriously deplete your energy stores.  Entrepreneurs are typically fairly creative people.  Creativity gives birth to the entrepreneur’s business which starts […]

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