Leaving Your Comfort Zone
January is a significant month for me, but it felt unusually dark this time around. February is already different. I hope you, too, enjoy the incoming light and birds in the early mornings, announcing the promise of spring.
Let me share a personal story.
Recently, I experienced an unexpected No in an interaction with persons I didn't know. It wasn't an essential matter, but it caught me off guard. After processing the sting of the rebuff, I realized I had missed subtle warning signs: doubtful utterances, pensive eyes, communication gaps, and ambiguous vibes. Typically, I sense what's coming.
But why? What was different this time?
Firstly, there was exciting potential in the mix. Secondly, lots of good could have come out of it. Thirdly, I enjoy creating possible futures in my mind. It is part of my daily work; and also my comfort zone. My thing is to welcome possibilities and optimize the now for a better future. However, it was too much of a good thing in this case. Disregarding the present moment, I also ignored my gut feelings and missed the red flags that were apparent all along. (To be precise, I did notice them but brushed it off as irrelevant.)
Have you ever experienced similar situations?
I am grateful for the experience and am now changing my modus operandi to patch the flaw. My comfort zone needs an upgrade, and it will require quite some discipline, as it contradicts my natural tendencies.
Why am I changing my approach?
It is because I value anticipating what is coming.
These are the new guidelines for early interactions:
Without a commitment from both sides, there is no need for thinking forward.
Stay detached until the situation finds its natural progression.
Remain present and mindful of signals the opposite party is sending, and play it back: What do you mean by that?
Balance out new with old behavior to avoid overriding valuable personal strengths. Hanging on to the past or staying stagnant, for example, is not the solution, either.
Balance out gifted trust with earned trust. Both are necessary.
Note: If you, dear reader, don't enjoy change or preparing for the future, you could do the opposite, i.e., choose to become more open and forward-thinking. Use the mind power of a trusted person or team to analyze a situation from different angles, but minus the paralysis of over-analysis.
When it comes to growth, it's good to know:
Triggers may be painful, but they always carry hidden learnings if you sit with the pain long enough to take in the messages that appear AFTER processing it.
Growth always means leaving the current comfort zone, but this can create some fear. With discipline, we can bravely push through it while cultivating new behaviors.
Growth means keeping what is good and helpful and discarding whatever distractions keep you from listening to your gut, your wise guide.
Now, how about you?
What is your current comfort zone, and what gut signals are you keeping from yourself?
Do you process painful situations long enough to learn from them?
Lastly, are you growing and expanding your comfort zone regularly? (frankly, it gets boring otherwise.)
Be perfectly honest with yourself and use your triggers to grow. Be perfectly honest with yourself and use your triggers to grow. You can also use the process described above to work through them methodically.
P.S.: I am always thrilled to receive your comments and suggestions. And please do forward the newsletter to others who might benefit from this content.