THE STRETCH ZONE – Fear can BECOME the Problem!!

When we step outside our comfort zone the fear that arises in the face of threatening situations is neither good nor bad, it is a natural response and nature’s way of charging us with an intense energy to meet adversity.

While the fear itself is NOT the problem (potential advantage) the intense energy can BECOME the problem pushing and pulling us in unhelpful directions if we do not bring the thinking that governs it under observation.

The encircling doubt that arises under pressure is the ‘thinking’ that hijacks fear as nature’s gift of energy, channeling it in the direction of the negative ‘thinking’ – and fear then pushes and pulls us all over the place.

Like a yacht’s sail harvests the wind’s energy, which is channeled constructively by way of the vessel’s rudder, when nature’s impulse of energy is channeled by doubt, intoxicated by negative thinking the fear becomes like a tempest pushing and pulling us indiscriminately, undermining our performance and potential in the process.

Question: When under the pressure of your stretch zone to what extent are you aware of the effect that unintentional doubt has on your emotional state – at the time?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Fear is NOT the Problem

When it really matters the pressure can be relentless and our confidence is often displaced by fear as we hold ourselves back unnecessarily, limiting our talent and potential for no reason other than ourselves.

Yet fear is not the problem, it is a natural response to threatening situations, to the unknown and unfamiliar, the same for everyone. Fear is an intense release of energy only waiting to be channeled constructively.

The problem is self-doubt as it miss channels the released energy destructively. Because our emotions follow the direction of our thinking, fear follows doubt with dire consequences.

Rather than suppressing fear under pressure we need to welcome it, channeling it constructively by dealing with doubt differently. No one doubts themselves on purpose, it is entirely unintentional. Doubt is an optional layer that ‘covers’ our natural confidence within – and no one creates it other than ourselves, so we just need to un-create it, ‘dis-covering’ a confidence that is congruent and authentic.

Question: When next will you need to step across the threshold of your comfort zone and how will you remember to channel your doubt differently?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Real Conversations & Real Confidence

Yesterday I had the pleasure of bumping into Heather Campbell a colleague from years past whose company, CommsMasters, specialises in developing capability in having great conversations.

In our conversation about conversations we reflected that while there are all sorts of conversations to have content-wise there is really only one conversation to have process-wise – and that is the real conversation.

Unlike easy conversations, real conversations take us outside our comfort zones into the unfamiliar territory of our stretch zone – and under pressure it takes real confidence to have real conversations – not so easy!!

So long as organisations indulge in a culture of easy conversations, avoiding the real issues, nothing of substance really happens, undermining relationships, teams and achievement in the process. Sustainable success is about a culture of authentic confidence to have those real conversations that really matter most!!

Question: Reflecting back on the conversations you have had, personally and professionally, over the past week, to what extent do these conversations reflect easy conversations or real conversations?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Living Anxiety in Advance!!

In his inspirational writings Seth Godin said: ‘anxiety is nothing – but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in advance. What a waste’.

At the threshold of our COMFORT ZONE, under the pressure of those moments that really matter, we so often hold ourselves back unnecessarily imagining what might happen.

Hesitant at the threshold the mind is hijacked by fear and doubt about what happened last time or what might happen this time – repeatedly re-experiencing imagined failure in advance.

This reality is nothing but fiction – a fiction that so often dominates our reality. What holds back our potential is nothing other than conditioned doubt as we re-experience failure in advance. When we disconnect with doubt’s fiction and reconnect with the moment’s reality – opportunity happens with confidence!!

Question: When under the pressure of your STRETCH ZONE to what extent are you aware of your mind repeatedly re-experiencing imagined failure in advance – and what is the effect thereof?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Avoiding the Unavoidable

Given the pressure inherent in the STRETCH ZONE we so often deal with difficult situations by way of avoidance – a flight response to avoid facing a perceived nightmare at every opportunity.

Yet, life has a way of catching up with us and we can only avoid the unavoidable for so long – and sooner or later we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and face the unavoidable.

So long as we do all that we can to avoid the unavoidable, that avoidance only exacerbates our fear and doubt at the threshold of our COMFORT ZONE – it seldom gets any better.

Whether it is a difficult conversation, a presentation, a cup final, an interview, a date, an exam or a new project, flight only remains an option for so long and eventually we have to step up – and the alternative to fear and doubt is calm, poise and composure – a very different paradigm of possibility.

Question: What do you tend to do to avoid the unavoidable and what effect does it have on yourself and the situation you’re trying so desperately to avoid?