Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
by Lois Barth, Human Development Expert, Motivational Speaker, Coach and Author
I had the honor of being the closing keynote for a Women’s Leadership Conference a few months back, where I shared my signature presentation, Courage to SPARKLE. In the midst of my very interactive presentation, someone raised their hand and said, “I can see how doing these exercises and thinking this way will be really helpful, but it’s hard to do this on a regular basis”. A sea of faces nodded and she added ‘I guess we just have to get over it and do it anyway.’
I smiled back and said playfully, “Got news for you, lifting 10,000 pounds and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is ‘hard’. What I’m asking you to do may easily initially (or even for a while) feel confronting, awkward, and uncomfortable. But it’s not hard.”
I went on to add, “I don’t mean to be a word police here, but how we frame things in our mind often makes the difference between staying stuck and moving forward. We have to be super careful what we tell ourselves about the things that we do.” She agreed, we all laughed and we moved on, but her question had broached a very important point.
The concept of how we frame things in our mind and the words we use is the lens through which I not only live my life, but one of the key principles I use in my speaking and coaching work. So why did this exchange of using the word “hard” versus “uncomfortable” sit with me for so long afterward? I pondered it further and started to think about the Courage to SPARKLE, which is basically my brand, my messaging, and my mission in the world.
It soon became clear. There are different varieties of being uncomfortable, like when something doesn’t fit, or feel right; but then I thought deeper, what do I ask my clients, the groups I speak to, or even myself? I ask them to be deliciously uncomfortable in the moment, in service of their most aligned, alive self, aka their SPARKLE.
With both the Jewish New Year and Back to School upon us (cause let’s face facts, we’re all enrolled in the classroom of life whether we want to acknowledge it or not), for most September represents “the new year”, often more so than January 1st.
I immediately gave myself the last 90 Day / Last Stride of 2017 Challenge and took on doing one thing a day that made me deliciously uncomfortable in service of my SPARKLE. I actually look for one thing a day that I’ve either been resisting or craving to do that makes me feel more aligned and alive with my true self. They are not all “woo-hoo look what I get to do” list; sometimes they’re “boo-hoo I don’t want to do it, but if I don’t I won’t get to the next level and will let myself down”.
To give you a few examples, thus far some of the items on my list have been:
- Reviewing a recent contract (even though I read it a few times before) for a series of speaking engagements (while on the elliptical bike – yup, I’m that kind of gal; I process information best when I’m moving) only to find a few things that I neglected to see the first few times around; thankfully in time.
- Having a difficult conversation with a friend about a long-standing miscommunication, only to come out with greater understanding on what we both were trying to convey and feeling more connected than before.
- Letting a dear friend treat me to dinner for “no good reason”. Yes, receiving is something I still have trouble with, especially when it’s in the “no good reason” category.
- Unsubscribing from the morass of political emails that I get, even though I feared to be out of the loop, part of the silent majority, head in the sand. Instead, I found an app/portal I can tap into a few times a week on my own schedule. In doing so, I can still stay current with the issues and advocate/donate in a “bite-sized way” that doesn’t flood me emotionally and hi-jack my e-mails.
- Submitting myself yet again to a very important/influential conference, even though I’ve been rejected multiple times, but this time deciding to put a spin on the proposal and be more targeted towards their needs, more conversational, more humorous…more Lois!
You may be mystified and think, “Aren’t those just items on your ‘things to do list’, but I assure you they’re more than that. And even though my list may appear seemingly disparate on first glance, I promise you the items connect in ways that they may not appear to at first glance.
You see, while it’s wonderful to have adventures, meet our goals, and all that jazz, the truth is all of our “bucket list” items always revolve around our core values. And when I express and live those values on a regular basis, I naturally SPARKLE. My list of “deliciously uncomfortable” actions allowed me to experience my core values of clarity, understanding, generosity, advocacy, and audacity. And those are just a few.
Right now, I’m on Day #5 and am committed to take one “deliciously uncomfortable” action every day (and write it down) until the end of 2017. This article may very well be mine for the day, since I often write in a more generalized, less transparent way!
So, I ask you, what daily actions would make you “deliciously uncomfortable” in service of your SPARKLE? I really want to know. Take that action today. Start your list NOW.
It takes courage to remain aware, honor what makes you SPARKLE, and then take action. Sometimes those actions are as simple as exploring what your SPARKLE even looks and feels like for you.
Courage to SPARKLE. It’s a Book. It’s a Movement.
Want to support your team, group or organization to step into their Courage to SPARKLE?
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s “tawk.”
Lois Barth is a human development expert, motivational speaker, coach, and thrilled to have delivered her first ‘book child,’ “Courage to SPARKLE: The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating a Life that Lights You Up”. She champions women to share their brilliance and to live an authentic life. She speaks at women’s conferences all over the country and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fitness, Weight Watchers, and MSNBC.com to name a few.