There are times when a social post resonates and reverberates through your soul. Such was the case in April of 2019 when this graphic showing the Comfort, Fear, Learning and Growth Zone phases showed up in my timeline.
I immediately began searching for the original author, as the graphic encompassed profound wisdom that was worthy of attribution. I wasn’t able to find the original creator of this masterpiece, only others who had repurposed it with praise.
Since the current pandemic has thrown the world into fear, this graphic has come to mind. In times like these, it’s not uncommon for those who have previously pushed past the Comfort and Fear Zone to revert back.
Such is the extremity of the pandemic to test our ability to learn and grow. We may find that we begin to dwell again on our fears and seek to get some kind of control.
With so much uncertainty, the sense of control can be a great source of comfort, but we mustn’t let it put us in a place where we’re stagnant. But how do we continue to learn and grow, despite the current climate?
Moving From the Comfort Zone to the Growth Zone
Even before this pandemic I tried to understand why some people are able to break through barriers and grow, while others get stuck in the Comfort Zone. The simple answer is “fear is the only thing holding us back,” but it seems as if there should be a better explanation.
Why isn’t it as simple as: if you want to learn something, just learn it? Or, if you want to experience more in your life, why not just pursue it?
What is it, exactly, that holds us back from experiencing more joy and happiness? Simply put – fear.
Fear stops us from leaving the Comfort Zone, but also prevents us from moving into the Learning Zone.
It is like a wall that blocks us. When we try to overcome fear, often we just ignore it or push it down. However, the fear we ignored eventually returns and limits our ability to move forward. Most of us actually dread the FEELING of fear in our body and avoid it at great cost.
What I’ve learned about Life Transformation is that for any new growth area we want to experience, we have to face and move through fear rather than pretend it’s not there.
What does it mean to “move through” fear?
Well, rather than trying to make fear go away, we move through it, meaning we acknowledge its presence and make the fear conscious. When we make fears conscious, the fear no longer has power over us. And, once it no longer has power over us, we slowly gain control over it.
Once we move through fear, we then can learn new skills in order to grow –without the barrier of fear standing in our way.
Although this isn’t an easy task at first, it is well worth the effort, because we become better equipped to move through new fears that come up in any area of our life.
3 Ways to Move into the Growth Zone
There are three key things I’ve personally used to overcome fear and grow into my potential:
1) Identify the Fear
Fear is like a giant wall preventing us from growth. It also prevents us from achieving our dreams and desires.
Before we can move past fear, it’s imperative to understand what these barriers are and not just ignore them. The beauty is…once we become aware of our fears and barriers, and move them into our conscious mind, it becomes easier to move through them.
2) Seek Solutions
My grandfather taught me at an early age, if something’s not working, try something new. As a child, I had no idea how invaluable this advice would be, but now I know it’s one of my strengths. I don’t accept what is, unless it’s what I want, and I challenge anything that isn’t working by looking for an alternative.
I’ve learned that “there’s always a solution to a well-defined problem”. So, if we define the fear, and then seek solutions to breaking through it, the mere focus on the solution will attract the resources and tools we need to move through the fear or barrier.
3) Seek Comfort in Change
The beauty with breaking through to the Growth Zone is that as we become equipped at moving through fear, and seeking solutions to barriers, our comfort zone actually EXPANDS. We become more and more comfortable with growth, and change, and ultimately transformation. And, when we’re comfortable with transformation, we have nothing holding us back from achieving our potential and can create the life we desire.
How to Apply the 3 Keys to Achieving Your Potential
- Ask yourself: “What is holding me back?” Name it. Make it conscious. Face your fears and move through them.
- Seek solutions: In any area of your life you want to change, LOOK FOR SOLUTIONS. Don’t accept mediocrity, don’t accept what is. There is always a solution to any clearly defined problem.
- Expand to the Growth Zone: By challenging your limits and looking for solutions, your comfort zone will expand into growth. And, when you do that, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.