Q: Nothing grows in a comfort zone. True or False?
I want you to think about that for a second because chances are, if you are reading this, you are in a comfort zone of your own. We all love our comfort zones, don’t we? When I asked that question in one of my Facebook communities, one of the members said, “False BS grows in a comfort zone.”
He’s right. That BS is our mental programming and all those things that go into our paradigms. They are the things that keep us stuck instead of moving forward. When you are moving toward a goal and you hesitate, you leave a lot of space in there for fear and indecision to fester and grow. I’ve talked before about breaking through the terror barrier—that paper-thin piece of fear that’s standing in your way—and how crashing through it shows you how thin and fragile that fear really was. You get stuck in analysis paralysis and keep telling yourself that you just have to think it over. Just like sitting on the couch all day instead of tackling your To Do list, you’re not moving when you do that. And when you aren’t moving, everything that’s trying to grow inside you just stops.
Maybe you get up in the morning and tell yourself, “I’m going to take action today.” But when it comes to actually moving forward, your paradigms kick in and you say to yourself, “Maybe I should think about it a little more.” When you do that over and over again, you are training your brain not to break through your fear. You’re training your brain to make excuses and use those excuses to grow even more of them. Before you know it, you’re really good at quitting.
Is your fear keeping you stuck in your comfort zone, collecting excuses and reasons to stay there? The truth is, the longer you stay there, the harder it is to break out of that cycle. However, the same way your brain learns to stay stuck is the same way you train your brain to get unstuck. Hebb’s Law says that neurons that fire together wire together. It’s up to you what kind of wiring you want to create because that’s the secret to getting unstuck.
I get it, I do. If you’re a high achiever, I see you and I’ve been you. I get pulled into my work as much as the next person and have days where I have to consciously work at making space for the things that are important to me. I love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work to me but I also know the human connections and things that bring me joy make me more well-rounded, improve my well-being, and build my relationships. I have to choose not to fall back into the old traps and patterns.
You have to make the decision, carve out the space, and then literally just do it. Start choosing to stop allowing your brain to lead you back to your comfort zone and instead start building those new neural pathways. How do you do that? Easy. You take one step in the new direction, then another, and another.
For instance, there was a path I used to take that led from my house to the beach in Kailua. The path was really worn, like a record groove, and you could see where hundreds of thousands of people had walked along it to go from the park to the beach. Often, when I made that walk, I’d have my dogs with me, and we’d go off trail. Our footprints would flatten the grass and leave imprints on the sand. If I never took that route again, the grass would spring back up again and the wind would smooth out the sand. However, if I walked that path over and over again, I would create a whole new pathway.
Your brain’s neural pathways work much the same way. Your habitual behavior is like that worn-out groove, that path that you’re walking, day in and day out. If you want to create the life you’ve always dreamed of having, build more space into your days, and be more effective in less time so that you enjoy the work you’re doing as well as the relationships in your life, then you have to carve out a new path. You’re going to have to make that decision day in and day out, strengthening those neural pathways, until it becomes a habit.
I want you to take a moment and ask yourself some questions. Are you telling yourself, I’m going to do better next time? Are you beating yourself up for not showing up as the person you want to be? Is your life like Groundhog Day? Are you telling yourself the same things over and over again?
Now, imagine following through exactly the way you promised yourself and others. Imagine you are living that dream life. Imagine you have time to pursue your passions and be with your loved ones. Imagine that you love your work. How would that feel, to be the boss of you instead of allowing your circumstances to rule you, your life, and your relationships?
If you need a little bit of support in figuring out where your sticking points are, go to my website at www.RatRaceReboot.com and book a fifteen-minute call with me to get you pointed in the right direction. While you’re there, be sure to check out my podcast and the free downloads I have for you. And remember, everything is created twice, first in your mind, and then in physical form. Let’s start creating a new path today!