THE STRETCH ZONE – Wasting our Efforts, Draining our Energy

In the face of our worst nightmare, whatever that might be, our confidence frequently goes absent-without- leave – deserting its post when we need it most.

Disarmed by fear and doubt in the face of adversity we are so often compelled to manufacture what we believe we lack – drumming up the oomph with all sorts of confidence boosting hype.

The ‘confidence’ that follows is never really convincing, never really authentic and it never lasts – and as the cracks begin to show we are compelled to plough more effort and energy into maintaining the façade.

Psyching ourselves up with confidence boosting hype is no more than misguided effort that drains our energy relentlessly – it is exhausting and unnecessary. Confidence is not something we lack and need to acquire. Confidence is our natural state, an imminent potential within – a very different paradigm.

Question: When outside your COMFORT ZONE to what extent do you psyche yourself up with all sorts of hype and what is the effect on your performance and potential?

THE STRETCH ZONE – it’s about Comfort-with-Discomfort!!

One of the most powerful assumptions that undermines and limits our potential is the idea that confident people are comfortable when facing adversity under the pressure of the STRETCH ZONE.

The reality is that while confident people might make facing difficult situations look comfortable, when asked they’ll tell you they felt anything but comfortable – it just looks comfortable from the outside.

What confident people have developed is the knack of being comfortable with the discomfort that goes with being in the STRETCH ZONE – I call it comfort-with-discomfort.

So long as we associate confidence with comfort we’ll hold ourselves back, putting our potential ‘on-hold’ as we wait for that feeling of comfort at the threshold of our COMFORT ZONE. The STRETCH ZONE will always feel uncomfortable, that is why it is call the STRETCH ZONE – so embrace the discomfort and step up anyway.

Question: To what extent does the threat of discomfort result in you holding yourself back in the hope that you’ll feel more comfortable next time?

THE STRETCH ZONE – The Mistake We Make!

Because our confidence so often disappears when we need it most, we frequently come to the conclusion that ‘confidence is something I lack’ – and therefore ‘need to learn and acquire’.

Believing we lack confidence we end up ‘doing’ all that we possibly can to acquire and ‘have’ what we believe we lack – hoping to fill an assumed gap in our personality.

What follows is a whole lot of frenetic ‘doing’ as we do all that we can to psyche ourselves up – and what we end up with is a façade of pseudo-confidence that is neither convincing nor sustainable.

Psyching up a façade of pseudo-confidence wastes effort and energy in a desperate attempt to manufacture what is already within us in limitless measure. Rather than wasting time and opportunities unnecessarily, our efforts and energy are better channelled in creating the conditions within which confidence is inevitable.

Question: When under the pressure of the stretch zone, to what extent and in what way do you tend to psyche yourself up with a façade of pseudo-confidence?

THE STRETCH ZONE – Our Day-to-Day Experience

Over the past 15 years I’ve asked countless seasoned leaders whether they see themselves as confident and they either say ‘no’ and then negate that saying ‘yes’ or they say ‘yes’ and then change that to ‘no’.

Regardless of whether it is ‘yes – no’ or ‘no – yes’ this response is such a consistent pattern reflecting our day-to-day experience of confidence at the threshold of our COMFORT ZONE.

In The Stretch Zone I call this pattern circumstantial confidence where our confidence seems to come and go depending on our circumstances at the time.

The trouble with circumstantial confidence is that our confidence is less dependent on ourselves and more dependent on our circumstances. And, being circumstantially dependent, we are not really in control of our confidence and never really know if it will be there when we need it most – not very reassuring!

Question: To what extent is your experience of confidence circumstantial with it coming and going depending on your circumstances at the time?

Life Happens in the Stretch Zone!!

In our humanity we are most certainly creatures of comfort, seeking to minimise our pain while maximising our pleasure – and why not enjoy all the comforts life has to offer!!

Paradoxically, however, when we are within the safe confines of our comfort zone immersed within our pregnant pleasures that is exactly what happens – we become confined by none other than ourselves.

Experience demonstrates that our comfort zones give birth to complacent stagnation as we become seduced by the trappings of yesterday’s successes – which, like brass, quickly lose its brilliant shine.

The reality is that life really happens in our stretch zone when we enlarge ourselves beyond the illusory ideas upholding our confined self-conception. While our comfort zone brings complacent stagnation, our stretch zone inspires, invigorates, enlivens, energises, achieves – creating a life worth living.

Question: As a fellow creature of comfort to what extent are you stagnating within your comfort zone? What is the stretch zone for you at the moment – right in front of you today?