Acting Outside the Comfort Zone

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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Courage is the first virtue that makes all other virtues possible.” —Aristotle

I just got off the phone with my coach.  Yes, I also have a coach and it’s awesome — I highly recommend it!  We as a society freely talk about mentors and hold the pursuit of a mentor in high regard.  Yet, with coaches, there is still some confusion. For some, there is even a stale stigma attached to coaching or seeking a coach.  However, coaches serve as a resourceful portal to the answers already within you. We facilitate clarity through introspection and exploration; resulting in growth.  Growth into your human potential. What could be a more worthy pursuit!?

Now, as a coach-in-training, I know how important it is for the client to have identified a topic important to them.  However, when I was in the client’s role, I fumbled slightly to articulate the large transformation I am striving to make.  In many ways, I have been on this journey all my life. There’s a sense that all my learnings and experiences have led me to this exact point, which is fundamentally always true at any point.  Yet, I notice that something is different this time. I am now seeing a tapestry of connections and some clear common denominators that cause me to ponder whether I may be onto discovering, or even creating my purpose.  Just saying that causes a wellspring of emotions within me.  I am elated, courageous, anxious, timid, empowered, curious, and, dare I say, vulnerable.  Suddenly, all of this seems to mean more than ever and carry more weight.

So, what topic did I want to focus on for our coaching session?  Since I process through talking or journaling, I was not succinct (lol)!  I explained that I’ve always cared too much what others think. Right now, I find I need to trust more in myself — the best parts of me — my intuition, courage, curiosity, vulnerability and emotional prowess.  I see this as an opportunity to step into my true leadership, my ability to partner with others to gain clarity and to uncover our greatness together. I find I am noticing more than ever. In the past, this almost certainly would have led me to worry more about what others might be thinking, assigning possible meaning or interpretations.  However, now I recognize myself as being more curious than anything.  Curious about what I’m observing.  Curious about the emotions arising within me.  What lessons does this data have to teach me? What my coach and I landed on is really, how do I act in the moment, with the given information I’m noticing and ultimately, how do I grow and expand from this?  What I crave most is to cultivate the skill to notice thoroughly and then act in a courageous, vulnerable and intrigued way.

Another point of clarity is that the emotion of fear, for me, has always been an indicator to lean in and become curious.  Now, I’m not talking about fear, like the intuitive hit you get when walking down an alley alone; but the type of fear that hovers around bravery.  Fear reveals an area worth exploring and potentially a risk worth taking, in pursuit of discovery and growth.  This fear is tethered to my core, my values, and what I care about most. If I didn’t care deeply, it would be apathy and passive actions.  Fear and courage often go hand in hand. So this fear I feel now, what is it trying to tell me? Even with all my positive and bold pursuits, why is a piece of me still holding back my best self?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian-American psychologist recognized as naming the psychological concept of flow said,

Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety when the challenges are just balanced with the person’s capacity to act.”

This resonates deeply with me.  I’ve been bumping up against my boundaries, where a sense of this anxiety is birthed.  I’m gathering my courage to burst through my next boundaries, becoming immediately vulnerable, yet so very invigorated and alive.  This could look a lot like enjoyment and flow. The challenge has been accepted. Now, I must simply hone my skills, and moreover, summon my inner capacity to act!

This is a piece of my experiment and I’m inviting you in for the journey.  Will you join me?