So many of us gravitate toward our comfort zone because we know what to expect and believe it feels good. In reality, the only way to experience growth is to move OUTSIDE your comfort zone and into your stretch zone. This is where the learning takes place and you experience meaningful moments (aka Top 1% moments) and fulfillment.
Take a pause and reflect on any recent wins (a.k.a. accomplishments) you are proud of achieving. Perhaps you changed jobs, started a business, learned to play the piano, enrolled in an art class, or became debt-free for the first time in years. Did you know what to expect in each of these situations or did you experience a level of uncertainty? Uncertainty is always present as you experience growth. The question is how much uncertainty can you handle?
You’ll notice that as you enjoy new experiences and accomplishments you will move through three zones of action. It’s important to note that what you consider your comfort or stretch zone today often shifts over time. The process of moving between zones is dynamic. The more frequently you move outside your comfort zone, the more comfortable you will get with uncertainty.
Your role is to assess which zone you spend most of your time in and, more importantly, which zone you need to function in to share your best self with the world. You can read more about this topic in my book, Living in YOUR Top 1% (see Ritual Six, Live in Your Stretch Zone).
The comfort zone holds your existing habits. It’s where you feel most comfortable. Your stress levels and challenges are low because you never take any chances. Your mind is less stimulated than in the stretch zone.
CAVEAT: It’s tempting to stay in this zone but you give up the opportunity for learning and growth.
STRETCH ZONE (ideal zone)
The stretch zone is filled with learning and growth. You continuously challenge yourself to improve, and you effectively manage stress levels as you step through each new situation. You condition yourself to deal with uncertainty with each small step forward and small win you experience. You mind is clear, focused, and ripe for great insights.