Post ID: 663

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I don’t know about you, but I am loving this weather. The sunny days are just crisp, clean, and stunning, and the change of weather to rain showers is such a relief and welcome change of pace. Nothing makes you want to curl up in front of the fireplace with a good movie or book like a chilly, rainy day, What a perfect way to RECHARGE!

Well, today’s blog is not about recharging necessarily, but more about one of my favorite topics – stepping outside your comfort zone and what you need to do to get there. I just had to share with you snippets of the engaging conversation I had last night at a dinner party. I happened to be sitting across from a dad around my age who had been an accomplished documentary film maker. At 40, he decided to begin a new career and went to law school. He has now had a 10 year career at one of the prestigious Silicon Valley Law Firms. Later in the evening, I was talking with the grandmother of one of my daughter’s friends whom I have known for many years. She happens to be someone I really admire and look up to. She is working with a group from Stanford that goes into assisted living programs to work with the elderly on balance, coordination, strength and confidence. We were discussing the 3 elements to balance (mental, inner ear, strength and coordination) and she was commenting that many of the elderly are afraid to get out and do things even as they improve their balance for fear of falling or getting hurt. She went on to say how staying within your comfort zone (safety) is overrated. As these people become more and more fearful, they are slowly losing their ability to enjoy life at all. She and her 85 year old husband hike the beautiful trails around our area every week. She said they do feel vulnerable and yes, they are the slowest on the trail, but the rewards they get from being out there far outweigh the risks.

I often talk about the most important thing we can do for our kids is to help them build a well stocked tool box (think EQ people – or tools to handle what curve balls are thrown our way), but I realize that all of us, no matter what our age need to have the ability to take the tools out, dust them off, add a few more, and restock periodically so we can be ready to take the risks we need to keep on living. See, when something you want to do so badly frightens you, it’s time to unlock the tool box, lay out what you have, and rebuild your base of support. I believe the difference in the 90% and the 10% above, especially for those who are not naturally risk takers, is the number of tools in the toolbox that help you take the jump.

Here is an example – take a mom who has been out of the workforce raising her kids and really wants to go back to work but feels like she has no idea what she will do and does not have the confidence that she will get hired. First, start by aligning yourself with people who support you! Constructive feedback is always welcome, but get rid of the negative forces that might be holding you back. Two, seek out a friend or coach who can help you work on identifying your skills, strengths, and passions. Third, work on building your confidence – this can be through visualization techniques, repeating positive phrases, or conducting research in different areas and networking with people in those fields. Sometimes, we literally have to reprogram our thoughts in order to move forward. Once you can start to identify what you want to do, then start making a list of what you need to do to get there (resume, get up to date on linked in, networking, any extra certifications or degrees, etc). All throughout this process, make sure you have someone to talk with about the ups, down, fears, challenges, as well as the accomplishments along the way. I think you get the idea. Focus on where you want to go!

We want to make sure we never stop learning, growing, and taking on challenges and risks because that really is where the magic happens. I hope you will think about the tools in your toolbox and how you might need to replenish them in order to take that plunge you have been holding back on!

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