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?

Unlocking Potential Begins with Oneself

Having had the opportunity to work with so many outstanding people as a coach and facilitator over the past 15 years it has been heart-breaking to observe how often we underestimate ourselves and our potential.

When it matters most, rather than step up and be all that we can be, we so often capitulate to our limited self-conception and we hold back our potential that lies imminent at the threshold of our comfort zone.

Believing ‘I just haven’t got it’, that ‘I’m not good enough’, when it really matters what holds us back most is none other than ourselves as we undermine our potential with frustrated resignation.

The Stretch Zone is about unlocking potential – and that begins with oneself. When the pressure is on what holds us back most is oneself. While opportunities come and go, our capacity to step up is directly dependent on the extent of our confidence in the stretch zone – yet we sadly hold ourselves back for no reason at all.

Question: In what way might you be holding yourself back from your potential that lies imminent at the threshold of your comfort zone today?

Questions about Confidence

As a coach and facilitator I have been fascinated to observe how often capable high performers hold themselves back for no apparent reason – other than their lack of genuine confidence in themselves.

What is really intriguing is that this is as true of people who seem to exude confidence as it is of people who clearly lack confidence – so I started to ask some questions!

What is confidence? How does it work? Where does it come from? How can we be so confident in some situations and lack confidence in others? What makes it appear and disappear? Where does it appear from and where does it disappear to? How can we be confident anywhere, anytime?

Arising out of these questions is THE STRETCH ZONE, which introduces a whole new way of thinking, challenging outdated assumptions and turning our understanding of confidence completely on its head.

Question: If you had to pause for a moment and ask some questions about your confidence in the STRETCH ZONE, what questions would you ask yourself?