Last week I wrote about Growing Your Comfort Zone, and this is a follow-up piece to that post discussing how to take advantage of growth opportunities.
What Are Growth Opportunities?
Growth Opportunities: Moments in your everyday life where you face an opportunity to do what’s easy or what is right.
Occasionally the easy choice is right, but other times it’s doing what takes effort, is uncomfortable or difficult that delivers the best results. But you’re programmed to stay safe by avoiding things that might increase your stress-levels, cause anxiety or fear. As we saw in lasts weeks post, growth usually happens outside your comfort zone. So how do you get past the hesitation to break through your growth wall? By creating a habit of taking advantage of growth opportunities.
Growth Opportunities are found in forms of self-confidence, motivation, and resilience, here are some examples:
- Stand up for yourself or your idea’s
- Voice your opinion, especially when it’s not the status quo
- Say NO, when you’re too busy
- Tell someone how you really feel
- Taking a risk on something you’ve failed at in the past
- Making the next sales call after being rejected all day
- Staying focused after making a mistake
- Asking for help when you need it
- Accepting failure and learning from it
- Getting back into dating after a tough break up
- Starting another venture after your 1st, 2nd or 3rd business fails
- Getting out of bed when going through depression
- Pitching your proposal after being rejected about a dozen times
And so on…
Not all of these situations are ideal, although they do present opportunities to mature, develop self-discipline and generate the courage to pushing forward.
Pushing Your Comfort Zone
But if that is pushing your comfort a little too much, the easiest way to start growing is to get out of your daily routine and try something new. It can be as small as trying new foods, taking a different route to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or calling a friend you’ve meant to catch up with. Disrupt your status quo, and you’ll be open to taking on more significant challenges.
At first, it will be scary, uncomfortable and may even cause anxiety. Your primal nature is wired to avoid situations, which make you feel uncomfortable (danger). In our modern age, the threat is no longer being chased by a tiger but instead experiencing disapproval, discomfort, or rejection. Fear in most cases is what holds you back from new experiences or from growing your comfort zone.
I was recently visiting a co-working space, which has a video wall set up with and tripod for filming short clips and was told by email that I could try it. But I was never offered an opportunity as I had hoped. I was about to leave thinking to myself: “Oh it’s not that important and I can do it another time”, trying to convince myself I didn’t really want to film the clip anyways.
But instead of doing what I would usually do, walk out disappointed with myself – I stopped and asked if I could film my short clip. Greeting me was a big smile and “Of course, come try it out.” All my fears of rejection and self-doubt were lifted, and I’m happy I took advantage of this growth opportunity to get what I wanted.
It sounds simple, but how many times do you let fear or limiting beliefs get in the way of what you want?
Born curious, and willing to try new things, only with age do we begin to develop these fears. Fears of saying something others may disapprove of. Fear of being wrong, making a mistake or failing. Fear of being right and what the outcome may be. Fear is keeping you within your comfort zone – but are you willing to let fears run your life?
When faced with a growth opportunity, identify what fears might be holding you back. As you develop your self-confidence, you’ll become more capable and comfortable with new experiences. What was once difficult may not be so hard. You know what makes you feel uncomfortable and only you can choose to change. Start growing by taking advantage of growth opportunities throughout your day.