We all would love to create changes in our lives.
We all would love to evolve and reach places we haven’t been before.
But there is one thing that stops us… our comfort zone.
Why aren’t we moving forward?
The thing that stops us from making a meaningful progress is our emotional glass ceiling.
We’ll find out why it’s so difficult to achieve our goals and how to break through the glass ceiling that is standing in our way.
It seems that every time we move towards something we want to accomplish, our heart touches an invisible wall that we cannot pass. What is that wall? What is it made of and how can we reach the goals we have set for ourselves?
Meet your emotional comfort zone
The emotional safe zone is the source of everything we have accomplished in our lives. It is also the source of everything we haven’t accomplished; everything we haven’t tried or experienced. As a matter of fact, everything I have and I am accustomed to doing is in that area of the comfort zone (or safe zone). Is the comfort zone a bad thing? Not at all, it’s not.
If, for example, someone is in a comfort zone where he or she can make money easily – is it a bad thing? No. We don’t want to take good things out of our zone, but we do want to expand our safe zone.
There are some people that are maintaining healthy relationships out of their personal area, out of what they know and are familiar with, but when it comes to career, they really nail it and gain amazing results effortlessly.
And some people have the opposite: the relationship field is very familiar, and they are accustomed to it, but if they have to go to an interview their knees will start to shake. Each and every one of us has things that are inside of this circle of comfort and some things out of this zone.
As I mentioned above, the comfort zone is not a negative thing, but the goal is to extend it more and more.
What is stopping you from expanding your comfort zone?
When I am in a certain place and I want to move forward towards something that is out of the territory I know, something that I haven’t reached yet, something that unnatural to me, I bump into the wall of my comfort zone, and this wall is emotional.
There is a reason why we are not going through is.
This wall is consists of feelings
When approaching, for example, to the field of relationships, which is a field that you are not acquainted with, or when I am recovering from a breakup, at a certain point, feelings of fear, pain or difficulty will begin to pop up above the surface.
Because most people are not used to coping with their emotions, they are scared of those feelings emerging.
They identify it as something to be careful of and immediately red flags go up in our heads:
“Danger! Stop! Go back! It’s not the right way. You can’t do it!”
“Don’t take this job,” “break up with him,” “don’t trust her.”
Meet your survival mechanism
These voices of doubt are brought to you by your survival defense system. It’s designed to protect you from emotions of fear, pain and difficulty by encouraging you to avoid them.
In nature, there is no difference between emotional pain and physical pain. There is no difference between fear of something tangible and fear of something that might happen.
The comfort zone gets into action to avoid a physical pain of a tiger that wants to get you or an emotional pain, fear or difficulty that might happen to you.
What happens is, every time you come near your goals, sometimes substantial goals, you hit that glass ceiling and go backward.
Swim in the pool of emotions
But, what would have happened when you move towards your goal, the pain and fear would rise up, and you would agree to be in it? What if you don’t run away? Would you agree to feel it and still move on? What if you would allow yourself to feel the fear when it spreads? What if you dip in the pool of emotions, despite the comfort zone’s warnings?
Most people have been trained themselves to do one of the two when they come to those emotions:
1. Moving forward without feeling, operating a shutdown of the emotional system
2. Go back to the emotions will not overwhelm them (that is the common reaction).
Do you know what freedom is?
Freedom is acknowledging the feelings that fill me when I reach the edge of my comfort zone.
Acknowledging the pain, fear, difficulty and facing it head-on.
Only then, I can walk beyond this wall,
Does in mean that I stop feeling? No.
And you know what? In the beginning, I would feel more pain. More fear. More doubt.
We are not afraid of lack of success. We are afraid of emotions.
Imagine what happens to someone who stops fearing emotions, stops fearing the fear and ignoring the screams of his comfort zone?
There is NO limit to what this person can do!
The way of expanding our comfort zone passes through those emotions, and you can’t avoid it.
And if, until today, I identified the fear or pain or difficulty as a stop sign that says “NO.”
Today, I interpreted it as an opportunity. An opportunity to make a change. An opportunity to achieve my dreams.
An opportunity to break through the glass ceiling and allow myself to expand into places I have never been.
3 practical steps to lift up your glass ceiling and break through your comfort zone
Not only is the glass ceiling transparent, but so are the feelings! We don’t always know we are scared, we don’t know that we are in pain -we might see this as simply a strong urge to avoid doing things.
We notice a lack of desire for progress, like a hidden hand that holds us tight; but we don’t really know we are sensing fear. Many times, we are not even aware of the existence of the comfort zone.
For example, if you need to make a phone call, suddenly the phone feels so heavy and you have a noise in your head that says “don’t call, don’t call”! Often times we don’t realize why we might mistake it for a gut feeling or intuition that tells us it’s not the right time or not the right place to make that phone call and we retreat.
Acknowledge the emotions that float in your mind and body, know that they are there and don’t mistake them for other things.
Allow yourself to experience those feelings of fear, pain or doubt. Agree to accept them and work with them, even if they are no pleasant, because then, and only then, can you break that wall and accomplish your desires. Avoiding them will not get you to where you want to go.
You can tell yourself: “thank you defense system for taking care of me, but I got this, don’t worry. I’m still going to feel those emotions, even though you want to keep me safe. I know where I’m going, and it’s important for me to stretch the boundaries I set for myself”.
I remember going out to a great Indian buffet with a friend of mine. There was a huge verity of food, anything good you can imagine! Of course, I wanted to taste everything, and my plate was packed with a small portion of each dish they served, even though I didn’t try most of them before.
My friend took only rice and potatoes. I asked her: “they have wonderful stuff here! Why aren’t you trying out more dishes”?
- “I have never tasted Indian food before,” she said
- “Well, here’s your shot! Go for it”!
- “I am familiar with rice and potatoes. These are the only two things here that I know I like. ”
Begin with the small things. You don’t have to run the marathon or investing thousands of dollars in a new project or move across countries.
Question the regular things you do on a daily basis, and notice the times you are afraid to experience small things. After you train yourself to extend your comfort zone with small things, move on to bigger targets.