As humans, we naturally gravitate to our comfort zone. That’s the place where we feel safe, valued and appreciated. But actually, it is the most dangerous place we can live. If you stay inside your comfort zone you will never stretch yourself and do what is necessary to reach your full potential and impact.
We have our ancestors to thank for the pull toward our comfort zone. They were not likely to survive if they took too many risks and strayed too far outside of their zone. Because we share their DNA our initial thoughts in any new situation will most often be doubts or even fear of failure. But the things they needed to worry about such as getting enough to eat and avoiding wild animals are not the types of things we need to worry about in today’s world. An average person has approximately 70,000 thoughts on a given day. We talk to ourselves far more than we talk to anyone else. Unfortunately, 85-90% of our thoughts are negative. What you must to do is recognize these limiting thoughts for what they are…just thoughts… and act anyway. Eventually, you will conquer these self-limiting thoughts. In fact, this is how confidence is built. Similar to leadership and public speaking, you can learn to be more confident. You gain confidence by stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing it on a regular basis. If you fail, learn from the failure and try again until you succeed.
Another tip to stretching your comfort zone and growing your confidence is to get clear about your goals. This takes time and soul searching, but is worth the effort. Research indicates that only 2% of people have taken the time to define what they want and put it in writing. As a senior executive, I often mentored others. During our initial meeting, I would ask, “what are your goals and what is it you want to accomplish with your career and life?” The typical response I received back was “I don’t know”. This is an acceptable response from someone right out of college or someone new to an organization. But many times I heard this response from someone who had been in their current role for more than 10 years. Getting clear about what you want out of life is something only you can do. When you take the time and effort to do this, it makes it much easier to dare to go for it.
Do you want to take charge of your life and career? Join me and a host of other speakers at the third annual Junior League of Atlanta’s Women’s Forum on April 21 to “DARE to Dream Big.” This event is committed to empowering women as both leaders and catalysts for community change.
This year’s theme “Connect. Inspire. Lead.” targets women at all points in their lives – to develop their potential to improve the community through leadership, effective action and voluntarism.
So I DARE you to sign up today!
Becky Blalock, is a C-Suite IT Executive, Thought Leader, Board Member, Speaker and Author of the best-selling book DARE: Straight Talk on Confidence, Courage, and Career. For more confidence and tips to take charge of your career follow her @Becky_Blalock and take her confidence quiz.