How do you react when things get hard? Do you lean in and push through, or do you back off and give up on yourself?
Lately I've been talking with some of the coaches on my team about comfort zones. They're learning that it's OK to be challenged and stretched, and when things feel hard it's not a sign of failure and most definitely NOT a time to back off or give up.
Usually we hold ourselves back from going after what we really want in life because we want to feel safe and secure and are too afraid to rock the boat. It's really freaking scary to put yourself out there and try something new, even if it's something that's not even a big deal in the grand scheme of things, like committing to a fitness program or personal routine. When it IS a big deal, like launching a business, the emotional stakes are even higher.
For the first few days after we decide to take the plunge we're high on the excitement of trying something new, but when the initial rush of adrenaline and the shiny glow wears off and reality sinks back in, we start to second guess our decisions and are left at a crossroads.
How bad do we really want this new thing? Are we willing to do the unsexy behind the scenes work when we're not seeing progress or results as fast as we think we should be?
We're faced with the extremely seductive temptation to throw in the towel and give up, telling ourselves that we just aren't good enough or meant for this after all.
Growing up as a straight-A overachiever and oldest child, and I set the bar ridiculously high for myself because school was relatively easy for me. I conditioned myself to believe that EVERYTHING should be easy, and I should be instantly successful at everything I tried.
Obviously, this isn't a realistic mindset to take into the "real world," and when I WASN'T immediately successful at life after school, I went through a quarter life crisis of feeling like a worthless failure when I couldn't find a full time job that aligned with my goals and vision.
Ultimately, I realized that I had to create my own version of success, and have been building my coaching business ever since. But let me tell you, being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing ever. You're serving yourself up a big slab of Humble Pie every single day, and there's no rulebook to tell you if you're doing the right or wrong thing. You have to make your own rules, and you're the only one holding yourself accountable.
It's super fun and exciting, but it's also super HARD!
My first impulse is to shy away and back off when things get challenging and hard, because I don't want to fail.
When I'm running and start to feel uncomfortable, I start to walk. When I have a big day in my business and do a lot of scary things like phone calls, the next day all I want to do is sit on the couch in my PJ's and numb my brain with Bachelor in Paradise.
I'm trying to overcome the habit of backing off or giving up when things get hard by PRACTICE, combined with a hefty dose of epic self compassion.
I practice going out of my mental and physical comfort zone every day with hard workouts, breathing into my runs when I'm tempted to take a walk break, trying new things in my business, writing blog posts like this!
Baby steps each and every single day.
Whenever we mix up our routine, we're putting ourselves out of our comfort zone.
And going out of our comfort zone brings up feelings of doubt, insecurity, and most of all FEAR. Fear that we won't measure up. Fear that we will fail. Fear that if we give this our best shot, we'll fall short and disappoint ourselves.
I want to remind you that it's ok to feel challenged.
It's ok when things are hard.
It's not a sign that you're weak or a failure or not good enough, but rather a sign that you've found your edge, and that's where the magic happens--growth and transformation and rising into your potential.
Going out of your comfort zone is like taking the GRE. The better you do, the harder the questions get and it's a total mind-fuck because you feel like you're failing but really you're doing great!
Yes, it sucks to feel wobbly and new and inexperienced, and to see a huge gap between where you are right now and where you want to be. It's easy to get discouraged and not even try to take the first step across that gap.
But you can do hard things.
By challenging yourself, you're strengthening your mind, body, and spirit every single day.
By taking baby step after baby step out of your comfort zone, you're forging iron in fire.
Keep surfing that edge. It's exactly where you need to be. Breathe deep and lean in, because now is not the time to back off. Re-program your brain to see challenges as fun and exciting. Get curious, dive in, explore your limits and evolve forward.
Most of all, force yourself to take action even when it's scary, because action creates confidence, while inaction breeds fear.
So try something new today. Put yourself out there. If it feels uncomfortable, celebrate, because you're just growing...and that's freaking awesome.
Take a deep breath, lean in, and rise up, gorgeous girl.
Your dreams are coming true.
p.s. Need more motivation on digging in and rising up? Read this from my fave Danielle LaPorte.