June 30, 2008

Stretching out of your Comfort Zone without Panicking

Every hour I feel more re-connected to San Francisco. The first night was unsettling, having moved yet again. This morning I woke up feeling inspired and motivated to move into my stretch zone. The Zone System is an excellent way to work on goal building. Dewey Schott and I used it in our Personal Evolution: Peer Coaching Circles workshop at the Americans for the Arts convention in Philly last week.

I illustrate the zones as concentric circles. Comfort zone is in the center, stretch zone is the next circle out and panic zone is the furthest from the core. Here's how to think about each zone..

Comfort zone:
Living in the central circle, the core, a familiar, comfortable existence, even no taking any risks and perhaps maybe not getting any rewards - it may be comfortable but it may also be safer than stretching, but are you fulfilled? I visualize the comfort zone as being seated and perhaps evening shlumping.

Stretch zone:
Dewey calls it the breath-taking zone - moving beyond comfort and familiar in your goal setting to a more exciting, fulfilling and breath-taking place. I see this as getting out of that comfort chair and stepping behind it, moving outside that inner circle.

Panic zone:
Been there, lived that - the zone in which your goals are so overly ambitious or your situation so overwhelming and far from your comfortable core that you start to panic, shut down and run for your comfort zone.

How do you stay in the stretch without getting stuck too much in comfort and panic? Break down your goals into small accomplishable, controllable steps. Yes, keep that big picture vision and get there by seeing what actions you can take outside of your comfort zone to get you into your stretch zone.

This move to San Francisco is moving between all these zones. I keep saying to myself - you have your whole life to work towards your vision and it takes small steps to get there. I can hide in someone's spare bedroom for forever. I can have ginormous goals that put me into a panic or I can create a personal vision and take stretch zone steps to move in that direction.