ASK ANDREA – For Results Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
A recent blogger ASKED ANDREA how to achieve Peak Performance and how to be more productive – T.S. Eliot said: “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” The very act of stepping outside of your comfort zone is imperative to achieving success and well-being. Performance peaks when we’re well out of our comfort zone. If you’re too comfortable your performance suffers from inaction, however, if you move too far outside of your comfort zone you meltdown from stress. Peak performance and discomfort go hand in hand. Stepping outside of your comfort zone makes you better. It’s the everyday challenges that push your boundaries the most. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone by implementing the following:
Get up early
If you get up well before you have to start getting ready for work, it’s worth it. It gives you an opportunity to collect your thoughts and mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead, rather than just dashing from one activity to another. It also gives you the opportunity to eat a good breakfast and exercise, both of which have well-known health benefits. Don’t hit the snooze button. Get up immediately when your alarm goes off and you will find that you don’t have that tired foggy feeling all day.
Accomplish an ‘impossible’ goal
Few things compare to the exhilaration of accomplishing something that you didn’t think you were capable of. I have Asthma and have been told my entire life that there were many physical activities I could not do. However, I never let that stop me I have run number marathons, and have cycled a century bike ride. I do it at my own pace and where I feel comfortable. I don’t accept no for an answer, no is not a word in my vocabulary. Many achievements fall outside of your comfort zone and they can seem impossible. Maybe it’s running a marathon or giving a keynote speech at a convention. These accomplishments are worth every bit of suffering you endure to achieve them because once you finally do it, you feel invincible and carry that triumph with you forever.
It’s easy to get stuck in your comfort zone when you’re so busy that you don’t slow down enough to really think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Meditation is a great way to break this cycle and also happens to be very good for your brain. Meditation increases brain density in areas responsible for self-control, focus, problem-solving, flexibility, and resilience. These changes are lasting.
Focus on one thing at a time
Focusing completely on a single task is a big risk—the risk of failing at something to which you’ve given your all. That’s why it’s so uncomfortable. When I started Hello Beautiful Ladies at age 58, I took the biggest risk of my life. I quit my job and spent all of my money putting this dream into a reality. Many told me it could not be done and that it was risky, did I really know what I was doing. Yes, was the answer I spent 3 years researching what I wanted to do and saving my money. I was miserable in my job and wanted out now I am the happiest I have ever been. I often work through the night because I enjoy what I’m doing and I took the risk and paid the price and you can too.
Multitasking is a productivity killer. People who say they can multi-task are fooling themselves. Now don’t get me wrong if you want something done ask a busy person, but that is because they are organized. Research conducted at Stanford confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully. When you spread yourself too thin and chase after every bright, shiny thing that catches your eye, you’re missing out on an important opportunity for personal growth.
We all have demands on our time and have to set priorities, and after a long workday, volunteering can get pushed down to the bottom of the list. Volunteering is a powerful experience that feels good and expands your network at the same time. I suggest volunteering for a fabulous organization called www.Sheroes.com Volunteering can enhance your life and make you appreciate what you have instead of complaining about what you don’t have.
Practice public speaking
Most people fear public speaking. Yes, it’s a challenge. It’s also worth it. Whether you’re addressing five people around a table or an audience of five thousand, becoming a better public speaker can be a huge asset to your career and getting a promotion.
Talk to someone you don’t know
Talking to new people most likely makes you at least somewhat uncomfortable. Do it anyway. Social interaction is good for your mood. Make someone’s day by giving them a smile or a compliment. You never know what someone is going through that day and how a simple gesture can make them feel better. It also expands your network, exposes you to new ideas, and boosts your self-confidence.
Hold your tongue
Sure, it can feel s good to unload on somebody and let them know what you really think, but that feeling is temporary and you generally regret it afterward. What happens the next day, the next week, or the next year? It’s human nature to want to prove that you’re right, but it’s rarely effective. In conflict, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you and the relationship severely damaged. I suggest taking 15 minutes to think about a response or often even take a day and then you will be calmer and better able to analyze the situation and respond in a manner that will benefit both you and the other person. When you take time to process and respond to your emotions, you’re able to choose your battles wisely and only stand your ground when the time is right.
This is a hard one for me. I have learned over the years when you say yes to everything and everyone you only get stressed out and angry because you end up not having time for yourself to rejuvenate. Research shows that the more difficult it is to say no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and depression. Saying no is indeed a major challenge for many people. No is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, avoid phrases such as I don’t think I can or I’m not certain. Simply say I’m not able to do that at this time. You don’t need to give an explanation. Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them. When you learn to say no, you free yourself from unnecessary constraints and free up your time and energy for the important things in life. I have a sign on my fridge from the book “The One Thing” By Gary Keller the sign says “In case I can’t say NO. This sign will have to do it for me”
And Finally – Stop Procrastinating – It only causes more stress
Change is hard. Self-improvement is hard. Getting the guts to go for what you want is hard, and so is the work to make it happen. When things are hard, it’s always easier to decide to tackle them tomorrow. The problem is that tomorrow never comes. Saying you’ll do it tomorrow is just an excuse, and it means that either you don’t really want to do it or that you want the results without the hard work that comes along with it. Read the article on the ASK ANDREA Blog by Steve Sykula, Ph.D Psychologist about Procrastination. www.HelloBeautifulLadies.com Ask Andrea Blog