OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE – WHERE IMPORTANT THINGS HAPPEN

Hard-Work-Motivational-HD-Wallpaper2You’ve probably experienced something difficult. Maybe it was learning a new skill, meeting a new person, or taking on a challenge you’d never done. We don’t often enjoy these things when they are happening, but, looking back, we have to admit: this is where the growth happens, this is where the solutions are, and this is where fulfillment resides – In short, the really important stuff happens outside our comfort zone.

Therefor, how can we maximize these moments outside our comfort zone?

Acknowledge the value – Reality is that we move toward what we esteem. The first step is simply to confess that getting out of our comfort zone is a good thing. Say it out loud if you need to: “Getting out of my comfort zone is good for me!” Remember, unless you do so, you won’t experience the growth you want, the solution you need, or the fulfillment you desire.

Lean into the experience – So many people shrink back whenever they experience pain. The problem is that this can become a habit, or worse, a way of life. Instead, embrace the discomfort. Move toward it. This is an important step in accomplishing anything significant. We have to go through the realm of discomfort to get what we want in life.

Notice your fear – If we feel anxiety or fear, that’s normal. But, and this is critical, we don’t have to be controlled by it. Yes, it can be an indication of danger. It can also be an indication that we are on the right path and about to experience a break-through. Just notice the anxiety or fear but keep moving forward. Often, the ability to push through fear is the only thing that separates those who succeed from those who fail.

Don’t over-think it – This is my biggest temptation. I want to know the entire path. I want a map to the destination. Alas, I rarely get one. But that’s okay. We all really need is clarity for the next step. When getting it, take the next step in faith, believing you will be given the light you need to take the next one.

Play full out – It’s easy to get timid when we move outside our comfort zone. We think maybe we can just ease into it, kind of like sliding into a cold swimming pool. Not so much. Better to jump in with both feet. It’s not usually as bad as we think. We have a better chance of success if we give it our all.

Celebrate the victory – Historically, I have not been very good at this. As soon as I accomplish something, I check it off and move on. But I am learning the importance of marking the moment, recognizing the achievement, and expressing my appreciation to those who helped make it happen. It’s important for you and for them.

Pause to reflect – It’s also important to take a little time to process your experience
. What did you do well? What would you do differently next time? What life principles can you distill from the experience that will help you in your next challenge? It’s worth jotting a few notes in your journal or, if this was a team effort, scheduling a time to debrief.hardwork1a

If you are out to accomplish significant things in your life, you are going to be spending a lot of time outside your comfort zone.

You might as well get the most out of it.

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THINGS YOU HAVE TO STOP DOING TO YOURSELF

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Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing things that have been holding you back.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Stop spending time with the wrong people – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

Stop running from your problems – Face them head on. No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.

Stop lying to yourself – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself. Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves. Read The Road Less Traveled.

Stop putting your own needs on the back burner – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.

Stop trying to be someone you’re not – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.

Stop trying to hold onto the past – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.

Stop being scared to make a mistake – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.

Stop berating yourself for old mistakes – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.

Stop trying to buy happiness – Many of the things we desire are expensive. But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.

Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either. You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else. Read Stumbling on Happiness.

Stop being idle – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place. Evaluate situations and take decisive action. You cannot change what you refuse to confront. Making progress involves risk. Period! You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.

Stop thinking you’re not ready – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.

Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons – Relationships must be chosen wisely. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company. There’s no need to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.

06Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you. But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.

Stop trying to compete against everyone else – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you. Concentrate on beating your own records every day. Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.

Stop being jealous of others – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Ask yourself this: “What’s something I have that everyone wants?

Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough. But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past. You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation. So smile! Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.

Stop holding grudges – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself! And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too. If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.

Stop letting others bring you down to their level – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.

Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway. Just do what you know in your heart is right.

Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.

Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.

Stop trying to make things perfect – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done. Read Getting Things Done.

Stop following the path of least resistance – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile. Don’t take the easy way out. Do something extraordinary.

Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.

Stop blaming others for your troubles – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life. When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.

Stop trying to be everything to everyone – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out. But making one person smile CAN change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus.

Stop worrying so much – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.

Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen – Focus on what you do want to happen. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.

Stop being ungrateful – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.

DELEGATE? WHY? HOW?

Do you have a long-term b30delegation strategy? This is the secret to moving more into “the zone” and getting out of those activities you don’t enjoy or don’t do well.

The primary reason to delegate is that non-delegation doesn’t scale. It is not sustainable. This is why so
many people feel overworked, overwhelmed, and burned out. But there is an even more important reason to delegate: to enable you to focus on what you do best in order to maximize your impact.

You do some things well and some things not so well. If you try to be the jack of all trades, you will likely be master of none. When you are operating in your strengths zone, you are happy and productive. The quality of your work goes up, and you increase your impact. Equally important, you leave space for your team members to make their greatest contributions.

Conversely, when you don’t do this, you are stressed and unproductive. You run out of margin. As a result, the quality of your work suffers and, you deprive others of making their best contributions. They don’t get the opportunity to express their strengths.

If we are going to stay focused and become even more effective, we have to have a delegation strategy. This consists of three components:

Identify your strengths – My greatest strengths are in writing, speaking, and being the spokesperson for my brand. It is, frankly, a very narrow range of activities. What are your strengths? If you had to limit these to two or three, what would they be?

Offload everything else – This can’t usually happen immediately. It’s taken me almost two years, and I am still not done. When I started my entrepreneurial adventure I was devoting more than half my available work hours to administrative activities. This included things like:

-Reading and responding to e-mail
-Managing my calendar
-Booking appointments
-Making travel arrangements
-Paying the bills
-Collecting money
-Negotiating contracts
-Writing sales copy
-Researching vendors
-Designing marketing materials

And the list goes on. The point is you are doing a lot of stuff others could have done and done them better than you could. Once you realize this, you begin slowly hiring part-time assistants to help you. You start by giving up the stuff either you aren’t good at or don’t enjoy doing.

Each time you confronted a task, you ask: Is this something someone else can do or is it something only I can do?

Get even more focused – Once you have the basic positions in place, you start asking yourself: are there aspects of my strengths that could be delegated to others? But there are aspects of these activities others could do, so you can focus on those aspects only you can do.

The one real limitation you face in leadership is your time. It is truly a finite resource. You can’t buy or borrow more of it, unless you delegate. To do this effectively, you need a long-term delegation strategy. This will enable you to maximize your strengths and increase your impact.