“Every Monday is a chance to start a new life, so use it!” it’s the start of the week, let’s have a great one. This weekend has flown by impressively fast, even with my 3 day weekend it still flashed on by. Time constraints aside, I was able to put the Drake album ‘Certified Lover Boy’ on repeat, ‘N 2 Deep’ is what I’ve got on repeat as I write. Ironically I’ll be quoting a different artist’s lyric:
“I wrote this from 30,000 feet in the air” – Kendrick Lamar (Hol’ Up)
This Friyay gone, I skydived from half of that, 15,000 feet! Now I’m not crazy about flights but it’s a means to seeing the world, so to now fly to jump out of a plane, was certainly a leap from my comfort zone.
For this week’s blog I’ll be focusing on comfort zones and the 2 zones that surround it, growth and stress. The comfort zone is defined as “a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.” I like comfort, it’d be weird not to, the problem is comfort fails to promote what I want, excitement and growth. Whilst I may be physically tall, that’s not the kind of growth I’m referencing, rather the growth zone is described as the zone in which you will be able to achieve exceptional success. This is the zone where you will have achieved your main objectives and where you will be able to define even more ambitious new ones. One of the adjectives used in the image above is ‘exhilarated’ and I can confirm skydiving gave me that feeling and a whole array of others! This is the zone I’m eager to keep constantly stepping into, as I inferred in my first blog, I’ve spent sufficient time in the comfort zone. The stress zone can be described as that feeling of unease and anxiety, to the point where it prevents progress through the feelings such as fear and being overwhelmed. These 3 zones are well captured in the image above, self-awareness goes a long way in assessing the zone that you can find yourself in and how you need to manage yourself accordingly. For example, if you’re having persisting feelings of stress, low confidence or anxiety, it is essential to acknowledge and investigate those feelings. There may be an explainable issue which can be resolved or there are different steps that could be taken to address those feelings.
“How about you talk to new people more frequently, on any level, can be super light-hearted” this was my advice to my friend last week. We’d just been at a concert and he quizzed me on how I was able to introduce myself to a music executive that he was keen to network with. By introducing myself, my friend was then able to also to introduce himself too once he saw how warm the person was. He explained that anxiety prevents him from networking as much as he’d like to, and whilst I’m aware that anxiety levels are different amongst us all. I too get feelings of anxiety frequently, but there are some things I can’t let anxiety continually block. So, to get to a place where it doesn’t as much, I took incremental steps to begin building up my confidence. One step socially I took was to watch and learn from Malavika Varadan, she talks through ways to make conversation with anyone. ‘Leaving the comfort zone means a phase of trial and error, during which at least some level of success is inevitable. Experiencing this success builds our self-efficacy, with belief in our ability starting to grow.’ From undertaking these phases of trial and error, resilience is also continually developed. I find the term trial and error used to be perfect as leaving the comfort zone isn’t a linear, sometimes it may take you to the stress zone rather than growth. It’s all part of the process, navigating through the zone of fear and stress can last for some time. You will persevere and successfully cross this zone. You will then enter the learning (growth) zone. Aside from resilience and self-efficacy developing, put simply we’ve got one life, and that’s for living!
“Long way down from the heights I’m chasin” – Drake (Love All w/ JAY-Z)
As you can see above, my most recent experience of stepping out of my comfort zone, was more of a leap rather than step. Throughout the day of the jump up until the moment I slept I felt a range of emotions across all 3 zones, from relaxed, to very fearful to alive! I was second to jump so remained rather cool up until I saw the first person jump, then the fear and excitement kicked into overdrive. I’m thrilled that I took that leap, for several reasons, but keeping to one, as the picture shows experiencing those views alone was reason enough. Last week, I mentioned that FJ recommended the Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design. I’ve since begun the documentary series and have been really enjoying it so far. From watching it, two things have really stood out. First, the artists’ desires to push boundaries with their work and how that energy was infectious and translatable to the work I do. Secondly, the reference to a Chuck Close quote “Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Christopher Niemann (the artist from the first episode) and I interpreted that quote the same way. There’s no need to get tied down in finding that perfect moment of inspiration, instead turning up and putting yourself in the position to produce something is more beneficial. So, like Chuck Close infers, forget waiting for the stars to align to step out of your comfort zone, put yourself in a position to step out of it.
So when is the best time to step or leap out your comfort zone? The reality is right now!!! There’s no reason to wait any longer. Let me clarify that I’m not suggesting we should all skydive, after all I’m planning a bungee jump so that’s another option. There are several different ways for us all to step or keep stepping out of our comfort zones, to stretch ourselves physically, mentally, academically, personally and spiritually. One other way I did that last week was to attend a poetry slam and volunteered as a judge, just look for opportunities to take one step out of it. In wrapping up, what are our Monday moods? And what zones are we and why? Personally, this Monday I feel great and geared up to be in the growth zone!