Step away from your comfort zone.
No, it’s not a new idea. But it is one that deserves attention today more than ever. There is real magic to experience when we push ourselves out of the easy, familiar, and nonthreatening routines, relationships, and behaviors that we’re used to. Most of us are aware of this magical potential in our lives, yet we revert to our autopilot mode of behaving. Our rational mind tells us to play it safe and take the path that’s known – a path where the signposts are clearly labeled, and the destination is certain.
Our rational mind encourages us to avoid risks and unknown dangers. Yet, this is the very thing that keeps us stuck. We want to take risks on people and ideas, but then our rational brains decide to hedge our bets so we don’t look foolish, get rejected, or feel exposed.
A Risk Gone RIght
A new friendship – from a stranger who lives halfway around the world from me – has helped me to realize just how profoundly these small risks can impact us and those around us. Nitul, a Gallup Certified Coach who lives in India, sent me a message via LinkedIn thanking me for writing a book called Unstuck At Last a few years ago. His parting words were, “I thought I would pen this to you before my rational mind takes over and talks me out of it! Thank you for writing Unstuck.” And with this kind and vulnerable note, a friendship was created.
Nitul and I share many commonalities, despite the vast expanse of geography that separates us. We are both coaches; we are both struggling with the feeling of being stuck – physically and mentally – due to the changes in our routines given the COVID-19 outbreak; and we are similarly struck with the irony in our lives at this moment: we are trying to help others while we are also searching for ways to help ourselves.
Most importantly, we have found that our actions have directly impacted each other. Nitul has reminded me to reach out to others who I might not normally attempt to connect with. I organized a 35th high school class reunion via Zoom last week, which I attribute 100% to my new friend’s bravery in reaching out to me. My book has reminded Nitul that he “has the resources to dip into to get [him] stronger and stronger, every day as [he] manifests [his] vision” to become an authentic and congruent version of himself.
What about You?
What may lie on the other side of taking a few small risks? A new friendship could be formed, an old friendship rekindled, or a long-held dream of learning to play an instrument might be realized. Stepping out of our comfort zones is difficult, but the risk is worth it. Even in these days of various COVID-19 restrictions, there are still (always!) many ways to take chances.
Good luck in finding your own brand of magic. I’d love to hear your stories of risks gone right.
For more practical tools for getting unstuck, see “Unstuck at Last: Using Your Strengths to Get What You Want.”