Leave your comfort zone


I read another gem in ‘The Word for Today’ which is the daily devotional I read, and today is about leaving your comfort zone. It’s never easy to leave your comfort zone, but just because you don’t feel like doing something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. The greater the reward the greater the sacrifice.

Real growth only begins when you leave your comfort zone. Staying in your comfort zone will rob you of your greatest moments and memories. Your life story is written in risks – those you took and those you avoided. Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed about the risks you didn’t take than the ones you did.

Things don’t always work out

The way you pre-empt tomorrows regret is by moving forward today into the faith zone. This is much easier said than done, but is something I have been living by for much of my life. There have been times when I have stepped out into the unknown and wondered what I had done, and you know what – things haven’t always worked out as I hoped!

There have been times when I have taken on challenges which were a big stretch and things have gone wrong – that is life! But what I have found is that each time things have gone wrong is the time in my life when I have grown the most. I have grown in my capacity to deal with adversity. I have grown in character. I have grown in patience. I have grown in faith. I have grown in my bouncebackability. I have grown in confidence because failure is not trying.

Stepping out is scary

When I am speaking to audiences on Mental Resilience, I talk about the benefits of being under pressure. The only time you grow as a person is when you are under pressure. You grow in the things I mentioned in the last paragraph. When you are not under pressure at weekends, on holiday etc, you are resting and recovering, and that is very important too.

Whether I am under pressure or resting and recovering I am happy. I’m happy that I am growing when under pressure, so rather than moan about the things I am facing, I embrace them and welcome them. I know that when the pressure finally ends, I can look back and see how much I have grown. I am also happy when I am resting and recovering because it just feels great. So either way I win!

It takes a lot of courage

I have gone outside my comfort zone on hundreds of occasions in my life – from going to the England Basketball trials, to standing on stage for the first time in front of a big audience. I have said yes to live radio interviews, and yes to recorded television interviews. I have set up my own business in a recession with zero clients, and I have gone on an internet dating agency to find the woman of my dreams.

Many years ago I made a commitment to myself that when I was in my 80’s I would be looking back at my life and I wouldn’t have a single ‘What If’ in my life. There wouldn’t be a single instance of regret where I didn’t have the bottle to step out when I had the urge to do so. That urge I believe is the ‘gut feeling’ or ‘intuition’ that I spoke about last week. When I feel that feeling, I know that I may regret not taking it.

Dubai was a step outside my comfort zone

I believe around 80% of decisions are correct when you follow that gut feeling or intuition so the odds are with you if you say yes to them all. As I currently stand there is not one thing I can think of that I regret not doing because I have basically said yes to every opportunity that has come along. There is wisdom required here and there has to be discussions with key people in your life before big decision are made.

The trip to Dubai in March was most certainly out of my comfort zone, as I booked the trip with Julie without a single meeting set up – but the gut feeling was there. When we finally went I had 11 meetings set up over three days and it was a roller coaster ride but fun and we certainly grew over that 5-day period. The frenetic pace during those 3 days was intense but every meeting was attended on time.

Looking for further opportunities abroad

On the back of that trip I am now in conversation with a company with 22,000 staff in 122 countries across the world as well as a couple of other interesting connections. I look back on that trip and see the pressure I was under but also how much I have grown as a result. I am now working with the UKTI (United Kingdom Trade and Investment) to see where else in the world my services could be of benefit.

All this is happening as I am reaching retirement age but as you know that word doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. At the age of 62 I guess the majority of people are thinking about retirement if they aren’t already retired; but my zest for life and challenge means that is a long way off for me. I will of course slow down as I get older, but there is too much to do and see before I finally stop.

So as I face future challenges to step outside my comfort zone I am ready to say yes, because every time I have, I’ve grown as a person and life has had a certain richness to it. It is scary to step outside your comfort zone but the benefits of doing so outweigh the negatives.

Thoughts for the week.

1. Do you have anything you are currently considering which is scary to do?
2. Are you deciding whether or not to do it?
3. Are you a bit scared of saying yes?
4. Is this something which you should really say yes to, but are a bit fearful?
5. If you said yes and did this thing, could it benefit you?
6. Remember that you will grow just by saying yes
7. What is the worst that could happen if you say yes?
8. What is the best that could happen if you say yes?
9. Sometimes we just need to go for it – can you?

My book ‘Off the Wall – How to Develop World Class Mental Resilience’ has a lot of tips on confidence and taking bold steps and is available here.

It’s been a great pleasure sharing some thoughts with you and I look forward to sharing some more next week.

Have a great weekend.

Warm regards


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