Transformation Happens When We Push Through Our Comfort Zone

Our transformational journey and personal growth will be tested many times by the decisions we make about getting outside our comfort zone. Most people do not like getting outside their comfort zone and deliberately make some changes to their life. Throughout various times in my life I have stayed inside this comfort zone. However, the truth is that our greatest growth in life comes from pushing through our present comfort zone.
 
This process starts at birth. A baby feels safe, warm, and secure in its mother’s womb. However, to stay there much longer than the gestation period would mean certain death for both the mother and child. Life began for all of us as we left the comfort and security of the womb and faced the strange and unfamiliar world outside. Our first breath is often a painful experience and a cry of protest at the temporary discomfort. Yet, without this experience, a baby's life would be very short.

Each milestone of growth and accomplishment for a young child involves leaving an existing comfort zone. The first crawl, the first step, many new first experiences all push from the familiar comfort zone into the unknown. For the child the process of pushing through their area of comfort leads to increasing independence and the formation of their unique personality and character. This foundational principle continues into adult life. But, what is so amazing to watch in children is that they don't look at these developmental stages as getting outside their comfort zones. Babies and children are just living in the moment and doing what is natural. We, as adults, have a lot to learn from babies and toddlers.

 
A child's risk of falling when taking those first faltering steps is high. Yet, what a transformation there is to a child's life once they have mastered the skill of walking. Their lives will never be the same again as limitless possibilities are opened up for them now that they can walk. The falls and tumbles are soon forgotten and overshadowed by their new adventures and experiences. They have pushed through their comfort zone. 
 
In order to enrich our life, it is necessary to step out of our present comfort zone. Personal growth occurs when a person moves out of their area of comfort and into the unknown challenge of a fresh experience. There is a stage of risk and discomfort before any significant growth in our life. For each of them comes a point where we hold back and resist. It becomes easier to remain static and comfortable than to keep moving forward.

So, what holds us back? Well, whenever we consider taking on a new project, or venture, or we want to put ourselves out there we will feel fear. FEAR is natural and is to be expected. It is our body's way of letting us know we are moving out of our comfort zone. Fear can alert us to possible threats and dangers. However, unlike our cave men predecessors, many of the threats today are not life threatening. Fear can warn you and enable you to be more aware and cautious, but they don't need to stop you from progressing. If you want to move forward on the journey towards where you want to be, you will have to confront your fears. Unfortunately, many people will allow fear to stop them. Therefore, they don't achieve their goals and aspirations.
 
Fear does not feel comfortable and many people want to avoid it at all costs. Everyone experiences fear. However, people who want to be successful feel the fear and do it anyway! Fear is part of the package. Yes, there is always a risk of failure, but that needs to balance with the old phrase, "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained." What many people don't realize is that this fear is not real… It is all within them. 
 
If they only knew that "WHEN"  they get into 'ACTION' the fear disappears. Also, the good news is that once we have faced our fears and done it anyway, we have moved forward to a new place. Every time we push through and live out of our comfort zone, we will never be the same simply; because of our personal growth in leaving the comfort zone.
 
Pushing through to leave your comfort zone is hard work. Nature demonstrates that graphically for us. The chick pecking its way out of the shell, the butterfly struggling from its cocoon, illustrates how that struggle is necessary in order to bring life, growth, success, and personal growth. I, personally, have experienced these kinds of struggles as I allowing myself to push through uncomfortable stage.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. US Supreme Court Justice, once said: 

"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."

I believe this is true of not only our mind, but also of who we are as unique people. Life moves into a new dimension through each experience and each transition that we go through in life. However, once we have been through this personal growth of pushing through our comfort zone, we can NEVER go back to original starting place.  We are now a different person with a different level of consciousness.

 
However, there is also the possibility that once we have pushed through our comfort zone into a new place of growth, we rest there too long there, and will create a different comfort zone!  I encourage you to keep pushing through and moving forward towards growing your uniqueness and living your life fully as you push through your comfort zone into the world of possibilities. 
 
1. Please leave your comments below and tell me how I can assist you in getting out of your comfort zone.
 
2. Please leave a comment telling me of a time when you pushed your comfort zone, what happened, and what you were able to accomplish in your personal growth journey.

Personal Growth Skills Give Us Courage to Change Our Lives

It takes courage to make changes to our lives and these changes will test the depth of our personal growth/personal development skills. One of my favorite scriptures that has helped me so many times in my life when I was going through so many changes was:

Romans: 8:28. And, we know that all things work together for good for them that love God and are called to His purpose.
 
When any kind of change happens in your life– either by 'design' or by 'default' we must trust that is always working for our good.
   
However, when we are going through change the level of our personal growth maturity levels will be tested; and when we have internalized some important personal growth skills, they will give us more courage to change the course of our lives if we feel like we are stuck in a certain place. Personal growth skills can include having more feelings of confidence, less fear, having more resources, supportive family members, and a 'knowingness' that we can make the changes we want in our lives.

Most of us have been dissatisfied at times in our lives.  I know that I've been through times in my life where I've felt very unsatisfied. However, I didn't know what I needed to do to make things differently. Or, I was afraid of making the changes I thought I needed to make. Or, I allowed all of the excuses to come up about 'why' I couldn't make the changes I thought I wanted.

Many times, we wish things were different, but we're still resistant to doing something about it to change the dissatisfaction. Many times, I've felt like I didn't even know what I wanted and wished that somebody would just tell me what I wanted and needed to do. But, then would I do it when they made those suggestions? 

Making changes is difficult for many people simply, because most of us like to stay in our comfort zones. Many times, we waste a lot of time, just thinking about how our life could be different instead of actually doing something about it and therefore, we just stay in our comfort zone until…….

The research shows that most people who grew up in dysfunctional families have a tendency to stay in their comfort zones without actually stepping out and making some actual changes. This includes nearly everybody, including me. Most of us do not like to feel uncomfortable because it feels good to have that feeling of security and things being the same– as dysfunctional as it may be. It gives us a sense of 'knowingness' because we know how things stand; and we like that. We prefer things to be safe and secure although may just be an illusion. Even the 'little' changes that we choose for ourselves can often require months of emotional adjustment such as having a baby or moving to a new area. The truth is that most people do not like change!
 

However, when change happens that's out of our control, like being laid off from a job or a partner asking for a divorce, we often feel overwhelmed. At those times, we are forced to go through changes simply; because our situation has changed. It is at these times that most of our transformation will occur in our lives and we will acquire some new personal growth skills. All of a sudden, we are forced to make changes and all of a sudden, we realize that we 'can' do it. 

On an unconscious level, change can make you feel vulnerable and out of control, which reminds you of negative experiences from childhood when you were small and vulnerable. If you're not aware, you can unknowingly go into defensive, reactive behavior, expecting the worst and protecting yourself from your perceived enemies. 

However, as you allow yourself to go through the changes, you will feel yourself 'being' different. Your behavior may change as well as your beliefs. I've experienced this many times in my life–that when the crisis actually happened–that I could do it. All of a sudden, I had more self-confidence in my ability to make those needed changes and guess what? It actually felt good! I felt happy, motivated, and my life was exciting although I was in the middle of a crisis and going through tremendous changes.

Fortunately, with awareness, you can transform negative responses when they occur in the crisis and throughout the change. Your life is changing for the better although you may not see how it is all going to work out right away. However, if you can change your perception and interpretation, you can choose to see change as a gift, which can “change the course of your life.”
 
In addition, by making that choice, you can become open to the amazing opportunities that change offers you. In these opportunities, you will learn and grow in the process of this journey. So, what can you do when the world you know falls apart? Well, why don't you just learn to ride the waves of life during these times of changes happening in your life instead of trying to control everything? 

Yeah, that’s right—'don’t resist it'. You don't know where it is taking you. You are just going to have to trust the Divine in this process of changing your life although it may not have been your choice. Throughout these periods in my life, I've had to hold on to God and allow Him to lead me. Many times, I have felt like I was walking through the 'valley of death' with blinders on. 🙂

Here are some things that you can do to make peace with change:
1. Surrender and let the Universe take charge of your life. The Universe knows much better than us what will be for our best and highest good.

2. Stay open to the life lessons that the Universe/God wants to teach you. The Universe always wants you to learn about self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-actualization. It always wants you to grow through your challenges and life transitions. There are so many things that the Universe wants you to learn. In other words, let yourself trust that everything is in Divine order for your life.

Remember: Whatever you do, don't forget to stay open to the good the Universe has in store for you.  When you look back ten years from now, you may be saying, "Even though I thought that the world had turned upside down and against me– those were the best years of my life!" Change is always working for our good and our level of personal growth gave us more courage to go through all of those changes.


Please leave your comments below and tell me about some of your experiences.

How can I assist you on your journey with changes that are happening in your life?   

Coping With Life Transitions

Coping With Life TransitionsA long time ago, I learned that our lives can change in a "New York Minute" and never–ever be the same again. My life instantly fell apart when I found myself in a sudden divorce. One day I was happily married and the next month I was filing for a divorce. It was a devastating time to say the least.
 
Some of the major crisis that are very painful are the death of a loved one, an unexpected divorce, the loss of job, a financial loss, or a sudden move. All of these events are very stressful and we are completely devastated when these situations happen.  All of a sudden, we are feeling emotions that are outrageous such as shock, denial, anger, desperation, abandonment, fear, shame, bitterness, betrayal, depression, grief-stricken, helpless, hysterical, insecure, petrified, rejected, tearful, as well as experiencing many more negative emotions. These are all natural feelings that we will sometimes feel throughout this time of grief. You are just barely coping with this sudden chaos and turmoil in your life.
 
Nearly everybody has been through some kind of crisis in their lifetime unless they are one of the fortunate/unfortunate ones whose lives have sailed along fairly smoothly throughout the years. I have met some of those people and I actually felt very sorry for them because they had never had the 'opportunity' to grow through life's challenges and were really very shallow. Many of them had not acquired the depth of the lessons and wisdom that we learn on the journey of a life crisis that are truly transformational.   
 
I've learned that it’s difficult enough to manage a major life transition that was planned. However, what do you do when one enters your life through a sudden crisis? The depth and complexity of your crisis will eventually determine what you’ll do, how you handle it, and the choices you make along the way.
 
I remember that when I found myself in the middle of my traumatic divorce I told God that IF this was what I had to go through then, for Him to help me 'Grow' through it rather than just 'Go' through it. I did NOT want to go through this much pain and suffering for nothing and I certainly did not want to go through this again!  Therefore, I chose to grow through it. I asked that Him to mold me, to make me, and refine me as I walked through the fire of hell. And, He did! He brought all kinds of people, books, seminars, events, as well as all kinds of healing/counseling modalities into my life to help me grow and begin the process of healing.
 
However, I learned that are several steps that we can do that will make our situation easier as we are coping with this life transition. The amount of time it will take for every person to get through these steps will vary, as grief is a very individual process for everybody. Some people can move through them faster than others can. But, whether it takes somebody a long time to get through these steps or whether somebody can do it faster does not matter. These steps in managing this life transition emotionally are the same.
 
The first thing you need to do is to step back from the situation and realistically assess two things.
1. Become an observer.
2. Look at your crisis from another perspective. In other words, try to see the good that might come out of it.
 
Next, ask yourself: "What is the worst thing that can happen to me"?  It's important to accept your answer as a mere factual statement. Turn off your emotional attachment to the situation as best as you can by being your own mediator between your thoughts and the real world. That’s not the same as suppressing your emotions. It just means that you have to be able to think "through them" and not "with them."
 
This is especially true when your expectations of the worst-case scenario are exaggerated. Today, many people are facing financial crisis. The truth however, is that you have probably NEVER gone hungry and never will.  You may have to learn to do things differently. In fact, we may all have to do things differently, but that’s why a crisis exists. It’s a catalyst for change and life will just be different from now on.
 
Now, ask yourself what the "best possible outcome" could be. Let your imagination help you. Every crisis contains an equal amount of opportunity in it if you take the time to look for it. I have experienced many–many significant crises in my life. In some, I was able to see the 'opportunity' right away and in others, it took quite some time. My divorce is one that took me years to get over simply because I could not accept that it was happening since I did not want it. Have faith that the best possible outcome will happen in time although you may not see it as you are coping.  
 
For example: What if you did have to move? That might become a major adventure in your life. Visualize the people you would meet, the new activities that you could participate in, or the advantages for your family. Think of the legacy you will leave behind when you can tell your grandchildren what happened to you throughout that painful time. This will be an eye-opening experience for them to hear the story from you that helped make you a better person with more character, wisdom, and experiences to share with them. 
 
Then, ask yourself what you can do at this time. If there is something within your power to change for the better, then do it. Brainstorm with yourself to find an answer that will help you change for the better. Find a trained professional to help you such as a counselor or a specialized grief counselor. Often it is closer than you think. But, remember: The only thing you have the power to change is what’s going on in your own mind and how you choose to go through this transition.
 
As you are going through this major life crisis, it is important that you admit that you don’t know what to do and to be able to ask for help. Sometimes, this means letting go of your ego and humble yourself enough to ask for help. You were not meant to live this life alone. There are people surrounding you every day who are truly angels in disguise and would jump at the chance to help you–if you would only ask. There are infinite human beings everywhere that have unlimited resources to help you in this situation.
 
Now, the last thing you need to do is to accept the fact this this crisis and this major life transition is the Universe’s way of pointing you in a new direction. Be willing to look down that road and see what is waiting for you there. It will be a road full of emotions both positive and negative. However, it will also be a road full of life lessons that you have learned, perceptions that you changed, and new beliefs that you shifted to; as well as the opportunity for walking a path of wisdom and arriving at a newer and better you. There is so much hope for you and with this major transformation that you have just been through. Celebrate that– because you are a 'new you'. 
 
"As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves." –Mahatma Gandhi

How We Act and React Is Indicative of Our Personal Growth Level

"HOW" we are and "WHO" we are; is always showing up and is indicative of our level of personal growth and level of emotional maturity. 
 
When I was raising my son, I used to tell him to be careful of how he acted and reacted because people are always watching us and would be watching him. They are making mental and emotional decisions about how they feel and what they think about us. How people feel about us is going to affect everything in our lives. Will they support us when we need support? Will they vote for us as the class president? Will they respect us when we have something to say in the class discussion or will they snicker at us behind our backs?
 
So, let's talk about how you act. What does your behavior say about you? How are you 'BEING'? Are you kind? Are you compassionate? Are you generous? Do you take or give credit to others? Do you speak encouraging words? Do you speak about people’s strengths to others? Do you work enthusiastically? Do you do what you say you will do? Do you tell your truth when it could be a contribution? Do you listen to empower others? Are you taking responsibility for all aspects of your behavior?
 
How you and I act creates our value in the world and to the people around us like our family, friends, coworkers, and clients. When we act with excellence, speak with excellence, listen with excellence, and behave as excellent a person as we can in the moment; we are valued, we are attractive, we are trusted, and we are loved.
 
 
Do these things every day to improve how you act:
  1. Make a commitment to SAY something kind to someone every day… and then increase it to every hour.
     
  2. Make the same commitment to DO something kind for someone every day. “Pay it Forward.”
     
  3. Make the same commitment to LISTEN to someone. I mean to learn to listen from your heart (not your mind) and to really listen to what they are saying, what they are NOT saying, what they really want to say, and how they feel.  Listen to someone at the therapeutic level once a day. This is a skill I had to learn as a counselor. (Now, learning effective listening skills is another topic). 🙂
     
  4. Audit your conversations. Develop the habit of asking yourself after each statement, “What was my motive in saying what I said and how I said it? Was it to contribute to the person or to make myself look good?” Then ask yourself how you feel about someone who speaks to make themselves look good, more important than you, or more “right” than you do.
     
  5. Make a bold request every day that will improve a relationship, business productivity, or will help  improve the life of another person. For example, make a bold request that a friend or loved one stop speaking negatively about himself/herself by battering their own poor self-esteem. Or make a request that your spouse do something that you know will improve your love and relationship. When bold requests are made out of the context of support and improvement, they are often the encouragement that leads a person to act with excellence and change their way of 'BEING". Changing their behavior is part of personal growth and transformation which will "change their life." 
How You React or Do YOU React?: If actions are those things we think about before doing them, then reactions are those things we do WITHOUT thinking. They are our built-in boomerang over which we may feel we have no control or personal responsibility. Most people react in negative and destructive ways. These negative behaviors also are an indication of their need for their personal growth. People that "react" need to do lots of inner work and learn many new skills in their personal growth. 
 
We can develop new “reactions” and new ways of "responding" by developing new interpretations and habits.
Here are some examples:
  1. When someone speaks down to you, what do you think and how do you feel about it? What is your reaction? Do you think they think you are smaller and less than them? Do you think they may be right? Do you react with anger and retaliation or do you shut down? What if when someone spoke down to you and you “interpreted” that they, themselves were feeling small, and could really use a lift up. This new interpretation gives you a perfect opportunity to engage yourself in improving how you 'act' rather than 'react'. 
     
  2. When someone is late, do you think they disrespected you? How do you retaliate? What if you interpreted their being late due feeling overwhelmed, maybe they had a sick child, or something happened on the way to meet you that caused them to be late. I think we should always give people the benefit of the doubt unless it is their constant pattern. The point is that when we react it is always a matter of a personal growth issue.
  1. When someone in authority tells you “no” or 'tells' you to do something versus 'asks'; how do you react? Or, do you take it in stride and respond. What if you interpreted that this person in authority is working on their path of compassionate leadership; that they have more responsibilities than they can often handle, and they need support. We can choose new interpretations for other people's behavior. 
These are the kinds of things I taught my son when he was growing up. Therefore, it made his life so much more enjoyable because he learned to be compassionate, saw the good in others, understood that people are always doing the best they know how to do in their situation, that we are all imperfect human beings, that showing empathy towards others blesses them as well as ourselves. He learned that having friends makes life easier versus having people that don't like you because of how you 'show up' and how our behavior affects other people….
 
Please leave your comment below and tell me your thoughts on this article such as:
1.  How did this article affect you?
2.  How can I help you?
3.  What kind of reactions do you have that affect your relationships?
4.  What sentence brought up a negative reaction for you?
5.  What aspect of your behavior needs some personal growth?
6.  And, anything else that will help me be of service to you.  🙂:)