What is waiting for us on the other side of the comfort zone?
My great sparring partner and friend Jan Rezek, wrote an article about the pain of growing. It got me thinking: does growth need to be painful? And when it is painful, why should we do it anyway? Yesterday I had a day that I could easily entitle “Stepping out of the comfort zone”, which I have used to reflect on the pain of growth and dealing with fear.
Approaching the process with curiosity
A big part of my work with clients is exactly on overcoming inner-limitations, so every time I myself am in a position of experiencing a lot of fear, nervousness, self-doubt I approach it with loads of curiosity and observe my own reaction before, during and after, so that I can perfect my tools and be in a better position to help others. I find it quite amazing, how an objectively simple thing, like saying a few words about yourself and your business publicly, can cause such a strong physical reaction. That is actually the first step in overcoming your own limitations, awakening your awareness and approaching the whole process with great curiosity.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
I frequently speak in public, and usually, I enjoy it, but for the last 10 years there has been one big exception from that rule; speaking in Danish. Speaking in Danish has been a painful experience, I believed I sound awful and that I can’t express myself, so I avoided it. Big time. Until recently, when I’ve decided to change it. I had a conscious healing session on that topic, which helped me identify the root cause of me feeling so bad about speaking Danish and equipped me with both awareness and tools to change those beliefs which have been stopping me from a joyful process of acquiring a new language and sending into a dreadful feeling of freezing and wanting to flee. Yesterday I joined a workshop for entrepreneurs where I was the only non-Dane. When the time has come to speak about me and my business, my heart was pounding and I felt light-headed. I was experiencing a pretty strong reaction. Then I sent a lot of compassion towards myself, I told myself that I will be alright and I felt the fear and did it anyway. Instead of excusing myself, switching to English or apologizing for my poor Danish, I just did it. I have taken a conscious decision that the time has come to break free from the unreasonable fear and belief system that has been keeping me small. I invoked, all I have learned with mindfulness, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and conscious healing. From that point, I spoke Danish all the way through the workshop, even when people proposed to switch to English. I stood by speaking Danish, which never happened before. How else will I master the language if I avoid speaking it?
Speaking from your heart
In the evening, I was making a Pecha Kucha presentation about Spirituality for down-to-earth people. Pecha Kucha, also known as an art of concise presentation, has a rigid format of 20 slides, exactly 20 seconds each slide (changing automatically). That means you have to be super well prepared, on spot and on time. Additionally, the topic is very close to my heart, so it made no sense to talk about it from the familiar and comfy mental level, I needed to gather up my courage and speak from my heart. That made me nervous. Quite a lot. Again I sent myself a lot of compassion, I ensured myself that I will be alright and I felt the fear and did it anyway.
Now that I reflect on the two events, I must admit that yes, overcoming fear, nervousness and self-doubt were quite painful. I went through actual strong physical reactions in my body. Why do I believe it was so amazingly worthwhile?
Because what was waiting for me on the other side of that fear, was an actual greater sense of freedom!
On the other side of the comfort zone
I woke up today feeling full of energy. Not only have I stepped into a greater sense of freedom, but I also feel empowered, aligned and peaceful. I need to acknowledge that what made a huge difference yesterday, is that I really had my own back in that process of stepping out of the comfort zone. In the past, I would have done it quite differently, I would have forced myself to do that, in some sort of me vs. me inner-battle. Now, in the process of overcoming my limitations, I am able to apply self-compassion, which allows me to feel more like an encouraging friend, rather than an enemy. And that makes the process so much less painful. Thanks to connecting self-compassion with effective NLP and conscious healing tools, I am now enjoying a state of inner-growth, freedom and empowerment.