3 Keys to Overcoming Comfort Zones: Key 3

Years ago, I was asked to speak at a very conservative church function. Little did I know what I was in for! I asked my sister in law to come with me because my husband was out of town and the venue was about 2.5 hours away. When we arrived to the speaking engagement, the coordinator received us at the door and stared at me for a while. “Umm...you’re not allowed to wear makeup here…”

I blinked quickly a few times and asked, “Are you serious?” Yup, she was! I could feel my temples begin to sweat as my sister in law thanked her for letting us know and escorted me to the nearest bathroom. She could tell I was upset and trying to stay focused at the same time.

“I’m only wearing lipgloss and filled in my eyebrows!” I said frustrated.

“I know, I know. But if it’s their rule then there’s nothing we can do,” she responded as she wiped her face down.

“Why are you wiping your face?” I asked.

“Well, I’m with you here and I’m not going to get us in trouble. Here,” she said as she handed me a wipe.

I realized that she was wiping her face to encourage me to wipe mine. It was her way of telling me I wasn’t alone and that the mission I came to fulfill must go on. I took the wipe and wiped off my lipgloss. As I looked at my bare lips in the mirror I was reminded that my prayer earlier that year was to be God’s vessel in delivering a message of hope to the hurting, no excuses.

If it hadn’t been for her, I may have let my thoughts get the best of me and walked out. But her act of selflessness led me to refocus on the reason why I was there. She was a true team player!


Accountability

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” (African Proverb)

Who is on your team? Your team is comprised of your coaches, your players, and your cheerleaders. This is your accountability system and I find that you need all 3 to ensure that you are moving in the right direction.

The Coaches

Coaches are people who know your strengths and weaknesses, and push you to focus on maximizing your strengths and leaning on others for your weaknesses. These are the people that can envision you at your best (even before you can) and hold the keys to unlocking potential within you that, sometimes, you didn’t know existed. These individuals tend to be the ones you look to for advice, counseling, and wisdom. They can call out your excuses in a heartbeat and will stretch you in ways that are very uncomfortable. They won’t let you use the words “I” and “can’t” in the same sentence.  These are the people that will have your back in public and will correct you in private.

And when you win, they win too! They aren’t intimidated by your success because they understand that the higher you soar is a testament of their leadership and character.

The Players

Players are the people around you who support your vision and are backing you up every step of the way. They rejoice in seeing you excel and become a better version of yourself. These tend to be the people you call your friends - those who aren't afraid to “tell you how it is,” but you can trust they will also show you lots of love and stand up for you. They will have your back, come what may.

Your players are the ones with whom you feel most comfortable being vulnerable.  They know your struggles, your true intentions, and will always keep an eye out for you. Sometimes, they may even contradict the wise advice of a coach because they feel your pain to lash out in challenging situations. But one thing is for sure, if they see you going into a pit, they will climb in after you to pull you out. This is why you call them “family.”

Sometimes a player or two may have to be switched out along the journey, and that’s ok. Some people are on board with you wholeheartedly in the early stages of your journey. But the moment there is a disconnect (whether it’s envy, pride, fear, selfish behavior, or inability to keep up), it’s time to reevaluate whether to keep them on the team or cordially part ways.

The Cheerleaders

Cheerleaders are those that are rooting for you and motivate you to stay in the fight. Their purpose is to fuel you with positive energy so that you can fulfil everything you’ve set your heart on. These are the people you are afraid to let down if you don’t finish what you started. They could be a parent, a relative, a friend or colleague. Whenever you feel like giving up and going back to your comfort space, your cheerleaders come to mind and remind you why you started. You can count on them to uplift you, send you encouragement, and applaud you every step of the way. They seem to know when you are getting distracted and will do whatever it takes to help drown out the negative voices and thoughts running through your mind. They may not be “running the race” with you, but they are rooting you on from the sidelines.

So I leave you with this thought…

Imagine your comfort zones, the things that may have held you back or are currently holding you back from pursuing some of your goals. Your comfort zones are your box. Imagine staying there because you fear rejection, you fear getting hurt, you fear pain, you fear the process, you fear not being in control or the unknown - whatever it might be. Now, everything that you want for your life is laying outside of that box. Your purpose-filled life and your desire to truly live life to the fullest is outside of that box. The price of staying confined to your box of comfort is actually higher than the price of stepping out. Think about the pain of regret for not writing that book, not launching that business, not leaving that toxic relationships, not making that move.

There’s something liberating about living a life knowing that you did all you could to accomplish and be everything you knew you could.

So, I challenge you to be courageous in your endeavors, build a good team around you, stay committed to your vision, and don’t look back - don’t you dare look back - unless it's to reflect on how far you've come!