Guest post by Anne Kelly.
Today I had a situation that forced me outside of my comfort zone. Although I have a good business as a Massage Therapist and a Mindfulness Tutor, I still struggle with initiating contact with potential clients or business partners. The critic in my head tells me that no one is interested in me or my ideas and that I’m not good enough, a fraud, or just a nobody. Mostly, I manage to hush up that critic, but sometime it does get the better of me. Today was a day when I pushed aside that critic and went for it:
A couple of weeks ago, I approached a Beauty Salon that I frequent and suggested that we could potentially benefit one another in our respective businesses. They expressed a general interest in the idea, and suggested we get together when I return from a trip to the U.S. So today, I was passing by the salon and decided to drop in to make arrangements for a meeting. My inner critic was on the ball immediately with “They’re not really interested, they were only being polite. You’re going to make a fool of yourself. They’ll think you’re being pushy, wait until they contact you.” And so on, all in the space of the 20 seconds or so it took to walk into the premises.
So I acknowledged the thoughts, but carried on into the building anyway. Half an hour later I was in a meeting with the owner of the salon and we now have the beginnings of an agreement. Turns out their customers had been asking about massage recently, and I turned up just at the right time. Not only is she interested, but she’s so enthusiastic and excited she wants to make an announcement in the salon’s monthly newsletter this weekend!
Our ego doesn’t like risk. It doesn’t like to go into any situation that might incur ridicule or criticism. So it does everything it can to keep us “safe” and inside our comfort zone by deploying our inner critic. But can you imagine what life would be like if we never went outside of our comfort zone? How many of us would never have learned to drive, never sat an exam, or even learned to ride a bicycle?
Any new or unfamiliar situation can put us outside our comfort zone. We weigh up the risk versus benefit ratio and decide accordingly. And that’s actually a good thing. Swimming in a river where there are crocodiles would put us outside of our comfort zone and with good reason. And besides, if we constantly lived outside of the comfort zone we’d suffer from chronic stress and anxiety and we all know where that can lead.
But our ego exaggerates the risk (physical and social) and so sometimes we decide against doing stuff that could actually benefit us. However, we know that sometimes stepping outside out comfort zone is good for us. It teaches us how to adapt to change, increases our creativity and pushes us to make positive changes in our life.
So next time you’re faced with a situation that takes you outside of your comfort zone, listen to your ego with an open, loving mind. At least then you’re making an informed #CreativeGenius decision and not one overly influenced by your inner critic.
About Our Guest Writer
She also has an online Mindfulness Meditation Course that’s super awesome AND she has discounted it all the way down to $10 for all you Creative Geniuses!