33 Small Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone

I’ve written before about how the path to success is uncomfortable. You have to move outside of the place where you’re comfortable to grow and be more than you are today. The more time you spend outside your comfort zone, the larger your comfort zone becomes. As a result, you’ll feel comfortable in more environments. … Continue reading 33 Small Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone

LTM_Lesson02CI’ve written before about how the path to success is uncomfortable. You have to move outside of the place where you’re comfortable to grow and be more than you are today.

The more time you spend outside your comfort zone, the larger your comfort zone becomes. As a result, you’ll feel comfortable in more environments. You’ll be able to reach further without feeling overwhelmed. Your income, job success, and relationships will all grow.

I believe that expanding your comfort zone in small ways sets you up for success when it’s time to make a big leap. Little changes help you get used to that small feeling of discomfort without pushing you into a place of panic. As you grow your comfort zone in small ways, you’ll develop the confidence and grit to change in big ways as well.

Here are 33 small ways to expand your comfort zone.

1.  Smile: Here’s an experiment: smile at everyone you see when you’re on your way to work or out running errands today. It may not make a difference, or it may make your day. Either way, you’ll practice putting yourself out there.

2.  Be Friendly: Push yourself to smile and greet people with a warm greeting when you arrive work. Say hello and ask those who serve you how they are doing. As you start being friendlier, not only will you feel better, but your relationships will improve.

3.  Give Compliments: Going out of your way to say something nice to someone will make their day, as well as give you a chance to practice talking to people you may not know very well.

4.  Encourage People: If the thought of encouraging people makes you feel uneasy, then do it. It will lift their spirit and yours as well.

5.  Repair a Relationship: There are few things more uncomfortable than sincerely saying “I’m sorry.” Do it anyway. You’ll relieve yourself of the burden of a fractured relationship and earn this person’s respect.

6.  Interact with Different People: It’s easy to gravitate to the same people at work or at social events. Stretch yourself by striking up a conversation with someone you don’t usually talk to.

7.  Build a New Relationship: Is there someone at your place of work, church or social group that you would like to know better? Invite him or her to lunch and enjoy building a new relationship.

8.  Go on a Date: If you’re not married, who would you enjoy getting to know better? Does the thought of asking this person out make your heart flutter? Do it today and who knows what may develop.

9.  Join a Dating Site: If you are not married, why not put yourself out there. You may find the love of your life. My brother met his wife through eharmony.com and they are perfect for each other.

10.  Do Some “Out of Character” Shopping: Is there a type of store that would make you feel uncomfortable walking into? Go ahead and push yourself to do it.

11.  Ask for a Review: If your place of work does not have a regular schedule for reviews and you believe you are bringing more value than you are being paid, then ask your boss for a private meeting and discuss your current role, what your boss feels you can do better and if appropriate, ask for a raise.

12.  Prospect: If you are an entrepreneur or sales person, what person or place of business would be your ideal new customer? Make the call today and you will feel great.

13.  Volunteer to Lead a Project: Look for projects where you work, worship or volunteer that you can lead up. Taking on a new leadership role will certainly stretch you.

14.  Apply for a New Job: Are you happy where you are currently employed? If not, consider what you feel would be a job you would love and start making calls to prospective employers.

15.  Call Someone: If you prefer communicating with others by text, email or through social sites because it’s more comfortable, then shake things up by calling people occasionally.

16.  Talk to People You Don’t Know: Does talking to people you don’t know make you uncomfortable? If so, look for opportunities to talk to new people, even if it’s smiling and saying hi to someone at the grocery store, gym or coffee shop.

17.  Try a New Food: Did you hate a certain food when you were young? Does the thought of eating sushi make you gag? Give it a try! At worst you’ll have an unpleasant meal. At best you’ll have a larger comfort zone and a new favorite food.

18.  Get Lost: Being lost is an uncomfortable feeling. That’s why it’s a great way to expand your comfort zone. Pack a map of your surrounding area and a mug of coffee, then go get lost.

19.  Join a New Group: Joining a new group, whether it’s an exercise class, a volunteer organization, or a religious group, is uncomfortable. It often takes a while to become a part of the group, which gives you a chance to practice feeling comfortable when you’re surrounded by people you don’t know.

20.  Exercise: Maybe you’re nervous about trying out a new piece of equipment at the gym. Maybe you’re nervous about joining a gym altogether. Maybe you’re even nervous to have someone see you jogging down the street. Accept those nerves and get out and exercise anyway. Not only will your comfort zone grow, you’ll look and feel better too.

21.  Go Someplace By Yourself: Does the idea of sitting alone in a movie theater or a restaurant give you a flutter in your stomach? Then that’s exactly what you should do. Going someplace by yourself is a safe way to practice feeling uncomfortable. Once you move pass the initial unease, you may even find you enjoy your movie or meal more without any distractions.

22.  Be Quiet: Take a break from music, television, conversation, and even your own voice. Sit quietly for a while with your thoughts. For many people, this alone is a huge step outside their comfort zone.

23.  Speak Up: If you tend to sit quietly in meetings or act as a listener in conversations, make a point to speak up. Practice contributing when you’re conversing with people you know and trust, and you’ll have less of a leap to make when it’s time to say something in an uncomfortable environment.

24.  Try a New Hobby or Sport: Being bad at something is uncomfortable, but it’s a part of every learning process. Learn how to accept this fact by practicing something new. What new sport or hobby would you like to learn? Why not get started today?

25.  Join in on Karaoke Night: Depending on your singing ability, joining in on Karaoke may be more uncomfortable for the people around you than for you! But whether you’re the next Adele or can’t get close to carrying a tune, taking the stage is a great way to expand your comfort zone.

26.  Join a Speaking Group: Does the thought of giving a presentation make you want to curl up and hide? Work on growing your comfort zone in this area before being called upon to give a speech. Join a group like the Rotary Club that lets you practice public speaking in an encouraging and supportive environment. With enough time, speaking in public may come to be squarely in your comfort zone.

27.  Delegate: Many people feel overscheduled and overworked because they don’t feel comfortable trusting someone else to do something for them. If this sounds like you, try to delegate small tasks whenever there’s someone willing to do them. Becoming comfortable with this skill opens up your ability to focus on other areas of your life and improves your ability to succeed.

28.  Do Something Thrilling: Ride a roller coaster. Go bungee jumping. Climb a mountain. Give skydiving a try. Do something you’ve never tried before that gives you a nervous thrill.

29.  Take a Day Offline: Constantly checking your email and your phone can become like a pacifier. It feels comforting in the moment, but the constant distraction can sabotage your productivity, your relationships, and even your emotional well being. Disconnect from it all for one day a week.

30.  Explore a New Area: Take a break from your usual haunts and give a new neighborhood or city a try. Try a new restaurant, visit an unfamiliar stylist or spa, or join in on a worship service or community event.

31.  Break a Routine or Habit: It’s comfortable to do the same things the same way every day. Changing up your routines makes it easier to work with the unexpected.

32.  Have Fun in a New Way: Making a change is always easier when you’re having a bit of fun. Try a new activity on your day off to stretch your comfort zone in an enjoyable way.

33.  Grow Your Knowledge of an Uncomfortable Subject: Many times the things we are most nervous about are the things we don’t understand. If there is a certain situation or area that constantly makes you feel uncomfortable, learn more about it.

These are just 33 of the hundreds of options available to expand your comfort zone.

Here’s my challenge to you. When you find yourself in situations where one option would push you outside your comfort zone and the second option is what you would normally do, challenge yourself to choose the option that expands your comfort zone and do it immediately without further thought.

Each time you choose the uncomfortable option, your comfort zone will grow, new opportunities will present themselves and you will feel great about the person you are becoming.

When you start doing the small things to expand your comfort zone, the things that frighten you today will be conquerable tomorrow.

10 Most Valuable Human Attributes

Over the last 30 years I have made a list of more than 1000 little things that influence who we become, what we achieve, and how we are viewed by others. In reviewing this list I selected what I believe to be the 10 most valuable human attributes. These are the 10 things that can … Continue reading 10 Most Valuable Human Attributes

Over the last 30 years I have made a list of more than 1000 little things that influence who we become, what we achieve, and how we are viewed by others.

In reviewing this list I selected what I believe to be the 10 most valuable human attributes. These are the 10 things that can have the greatest impact on your career advancements and earnings and are not listed in any specific order.

To learn more about any of the points, simply click the link to read more.

1. Desire – In his famous book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill said “Desire is the starting point of all achievement.” For things in your life to get better, you must first have the desire for them to get better. For your income to grow, you must first have the desire for it to grow. But simply desiring a better life or higher level of income is not enough. Your desire must be strong enough that you will do what is required of you.

  • Is your desire to grow your income strong enough that you will do what is required of you each day to increase your value to the market?

2. Discipline – Self-discipline is a pattern of behavior where you choose to do what you know you should do, rather than what you want to do. It’s the inner drive that pushes you to get out of bed to exercise rather than sleeping in. Simply put, it’s doing what you know you should do, but don’t feel like doing and often requires that you push yourself outside your comfort zone.

  • Are you willing to do what you know you should do every day to increase your income, rather than what you want to do?

3. Accountability – Make no mistake about it: you cannot achieve any worthwhile goal if you don’t hold yourself accountable. The reason is simple. It’s your life!  No one is going to hold you accountable to doing what’s required of you to achieve your goals. If you have to be held accountable at work, don’t expect to be promoted or to experience any type of significant career advancement.

  • Are you willing to hold yourself accountable every day for your actions, responsibilities, and goals?

4. Integrity – While people without integrity may make it to the top, they seldom stay there. The news is full of examples every day. To me, there is no human quality more important than integrity. You can spend a lifetime building your reputation and destroy it in 5 seconds by crossing the line. Remember, the best way to keep from having someone question your integrity is to make sure your integrity is not questionable.

  • Will you make a commitment to build your life on a foundation of integrity and never cross the line?

5. Respect –Unless it’s your job, would you follow someone you don’t respect? Would you promote someone you don’t respect?  Would you recommend or endorse someone you don’t respect?  Would you want to be friends with someone you don’t respect?  Point made! There are hundreds of little things that influence people’s respect for you, but if I were to give you one tip, it would be to always treat others with respect.  People won’t respect you if you don’t respect them.

  • Are you willing to focus on doing the little things every day that will cause people’s respect for you to grow?

6. Responsibility – My definition of responsibility is doing what is expected of you. When people send you an email, SMS or party initiation, they expect a response in a timely period. When you have appointments, people expect you will be on time. When you have a deadline, people expect you will be done on time. When a person hires you to do a job, they expect you will do the job to the best of your ability.

  • Will you commit to doing what is expected of you, even if it’s things you didn’t agree to do in advance (like returning a call, SMS, email, or party invitation), in a timely manner?

7. Humility – What type of attitude quickly wins respect? Humility—a modest view of one’s own importance or rank!  It’s about being open to the possibility of improvement. By its very nature, humility is not an attitude we ever perfect. It’s a practiced trait that requires constant monitoring, especially since arrogance—egotism, superiority, conceit— is always tugging at our human nature.

  • Will you begin to adopt an attitude of humility and be open to growing and getting better every day?

8. Communication – One of the key factors influencing how we are viewed is how we communicate. When listening to people, do we look them in the eyes, show an interest in what they are saying, and not interrupt? When typing emails, do we take pride in making sure they are clear, concise, friendly, and properly formatted? When we walk in the office, do we acknowledge people with a smile and warm greeting?

  • Are you willing to learn what you need to do to improve your communication skills? If so, click the link above.

9. Likability – If you were going to hire someone for a job and had two equally qualified candidates, would you be more likely to hire the person you liked the most? If you were going to promote someone and had two great employees, would you be more likely to select the person you liked the most? If you were interviewing Realtors to sell your home, would you be more likely to select the one you liked the most? When you are friendly, pleasant and demonstrate appealing qualities you will gain an important edge in this competitive world.

  • Will you start demonstrating the qualities that make people likable?

10. Personal initiative – Personal initiative is your inner power that starts all action. It is the enemy of procrastination. It’s the spark that initiates your productive actions. It’s recognizing what needs to be done and doing it without being told. Napoleon Hill talked about personal initiative at length in his 9th principle of success. He said, “Success is something you must achieve without someone telling you what to do or why you should do it.”

  • Being honest with yourself, do you take the initiative to do the things that need to be done each day to advance your career? If not, will you start today?

When you focus on doing the things that increase your income, not only will doors of opportunity open, but more importantly your self respect will grow and you will be proud of the person you see in the mirror.  

How to Overcome Limiting and Imprisoning Beliefs

One of life’s greatest tragedies is when people fall short of their potential because of self-limiting or imprisoning beliefs. These are negative statements you’ve said to yourself and repeated so many times you believe they are true. Examples include such statements as: I can’t do that because… (something negative) I can’t be that way because… … Continue reading How to Overcome Limiting and Imprisoning Beliefs

Break The Limit concept

One of life’s greatest tragedies is when people fall short of their potential because of self-limiting or imprisoning beliefs. These are negative statements you’ve said to yourself and repeated so many times you believe they are true.

Examples include such statements as:

I can’t do that because… (something negative)

I can’t be that way because… (something negative)

I will always be…(something negative)

I will never be promoted because… (something negative)

My needs aren’t important because… (something negative)

There’s something wrong with me because… (something negative)

Limiting beliefs are those that limit you or hold you back, while imprisoning beliefs are those that can be destructive to your life and overall well being.

These types of beliefs are caused by a variety of factors. Previous mistakes or failures, a continual focus on faults and weaknesses, and surrounding yourself with negative people can create a breeding ground for developing these destructive beliefs.

Once the seed of a limiting or imprisoning belief is planted in the mind, it’s generally fertilized with negative self-talk. Your self-talk is the internal dialogue you have with yourself. When it gets really negative you say things like “I can’t do anything right,” “I could never do that,” “I will never find the right mate for me,” or some other negative statement.

Changing the conversation

When I started my real estate career at age 23, I remember saying negative things to myself such as, “I am too young. Look at me; I look like I’m 18 years old. Why would any seller select me over a more experienced Realtor?”  These thoughts haunted me every time I went on an appointment. I believed these statements to be true; after all, I was too young.

I then listened to an audiobook by Anthony Robbins titled Unlimited Power. In this book Tony talked about limiting beliefs and how to overcome them. What I learned changed my life, because it changed the conversations I had with myself.

I vowed to never again say anything that would limit me, unless it was a physically limiting truth, such as “I can’t swim around the world.” I then created positive statements for each of my limiting beliefs.

I then went on to sell more than 60 homes my first year and earned more than $250,000. This lesson taught me to NEVER allow myself to say negative things that would limit who I can become or what I can achieve.

Are you ready to be set free from your limiting and imprisoning beliefs?

If you want to be set free from beliefs that are having a negative influence on your life and holding you back from being who you want to be and achieving your goals, follow these three steps:

1. Identify your limiting or imprisoning beliefs. To help you, make a list of your answers to these questions:

  • Do I believe I can be one of the top achievers in my chosen career? If not, list the reasons.
  • When I look at my life, what do I believe can’t be changed?
  • Do I believe I can save enough money to become financially independent? If not, list the reasons.
  • Do I believe I can lose weight and achieve my ideal body? If not, list the reasons.
  • What are my fears that could be holding me back?
  • Do I believe I can find the perfect person with whom to spend the rest of my life? If not, list the reasons.
  • What negative things are going on in my life that I don’t believe will change?
  • Do I believe I am too busy, too tired, too heavy etc., to do something that I would love to do?
  • Do I believe I can enjoy an amazing marriage with my spouse? If not, list the reasons.
  • Do I believe my race, age, or gender is limiting me? If so, list the reasons.
  • Do I believe I can get straight “A’s” in school? If not, list the reasons.
  • Do I believe there is something wrong with me? If so, list the things you think are wrong with you.
  • Do I believe I can have a great relationship with my children or parents? If not, list the reasons.
  • When I look at my future, what do I see? List the negative things that you see.
  • What other questions should I ask myself to identify more limiting or imprisoning beliefs?

As you answer these questions be honest with yourself and list everything that comes to your mind.

2. Challenge your beliefs. This is when you determine if your belief is indeed a fact of truth or a limiting or imprisoning belief.

Go over your list one point at a time. Put “Me” next to all the points that are negative beliefs about yourself as a person and put “Do” next to all the things you don’t believe you are capable of doing.

Then go back over each the points you’ve identified with “Me” and ask yourself, “Is this something that is truly wrong with me or have I come to believe this is true because…?”  Put TRUE or FALSE next to each point. Your goal is to go through your list, being 100% honest with yourself, and determine which of your beliefs are true and false.

Now go over the remaining points with “Do” next to them and ask yourself, “If I was paid one million dollars, could I figure out a way to do it?” If it’s something that would be impossible to do, even if you were given one million dollars, put TRUE.  If you could figure out a way to do it if you were paid one million dollars, put FALSE.

3. Set yourself free. To be set free from these types of limiting beliefs, you must first have the desire to be set free, and then you must reprogram your brain by changing the conversations you’re having about yourself and your abilities.

The most effective process I’ve learned and used throughout my life for overcoming a limiting thought or belief is through positive self-talk and affirmations.

Go over your list and next to each point with “False” next to it, write a positive statement.  Here are some examples:

  • If you wrote down on your “Me” list that you are too young to do something, write, “I am young and full of energy. I will look for ways to use my youth as an advantage to achieve my goals.”
  • If you listed on your “Do” list that you can’t prospect because you fear rejection, write, “I will treat everyone with the utmost respect and present myself and my services in the most professional manner possible. Just as 100% of people don’t like chocolate ice cream, I understand that not everyone is going to choose my services. I will prospect with confidence daily and when I get turned down, I will consider what I could have done better and continue to improve each day.”

Rather than having negative self-defeating conversations, your goal is to have positive life-building conversations.

If you would like to be set free from negative thoughts and emotions and live a life free of self-destructive beliefs, write a positive statement after each the points you listed. When you are done, read this list of positive statements aloud every morning and evening with passion and belief.

If you say these positive statements each day, you will begin to believe them. Over time you will reprogram your mind with new positive beliefs and begin to believe you can do anything.

Protect your new beliefs from negative influences

In addition to reading your positive statements each day, start filling your mind with positive thoughts that will make your life better and distance yourself from negative people. Read books on personal and professional development. Remember, for your life to get better, you must get better.

If there are people in your life who are saying destructive things about you, you have two options. If possible, have a conversation with them. Tell them how their negative words are impacting your feelings towards them and ask that they stop saying destructive things. If a conversation isn’t possible or profitable, simply distance yourself from these people.

If there is something that you’ve been struggling with for a long time, perhaps a painful experience from the past, I encourage you to go to counseling and get the healing you need.

You can live a happy, healthy, and successful life if you focus on your positive attributes and the things you can do.

Making Your Weaknesses Relevant

One on the most misunderstood statements today is this: “Focus on your strengths and make your weaknesses irrelevant.”  Every time I hear or read it, I cringe and think, “What if your weaknesses are relevant?”

Excuses for Weaknesses

Have you ever heard people make excuses for poor performance?  Then they followed it by an explanation like this: “That’s just the way I am; it’s part of my DNA.”  Or, “That is one of my weak points.” Or, “I’m just not good at that.”  Then they blow it off like it’s acceptable.

How much respect would you have for someone who is always late and says… read more

One on the most misunderstood statements today is this: “Focus on your strengths and make your weaknesses irrelevant.”  Every time I hear or read it, I cringe and think, “What if your weaknesses are relevant?”

Excuses for Weaknesses

Have you ever heard people make excuses for poor performance?  Then they followed it by an explanation like this: “That’s just the way I am; it’s part of my DNA.”  Or, “That is one of my weak points.” Or, “I’m just not good at that.”  Then they blow it off like it’s acceptable.

How much respect would you have for someone who is always late and says, “I’m sorry, but it’s awfully hard for me to be on time.”

How successful would a tennis player be who is exceptional at every part of his game, but can’t serve?

How far within your organization would a person get who does his or her job well, but can’t communicate effectively with co-workers?

Or, think about the young father who is a dedicated dad but has a real problem with his temper.  How do you think his relationship would be with his wife and children if he thought, “I’m so good at everything else, I‘m just not going to worry about my temper?  They will have to accept me the way I am”?

For most of us, our weaknesses are relevant and the worst thing we can do is to ignore them or discount their importance.

Deal With Your Weakness

Author Nathaniel S. Summers said, “The strength of a person is often weighed by how they deal with their weaknesses.” 

When I started my entrepreneurial career 31 years ago, my English was awful. (It had been my worst subject in school.)  It quickly became clear to me that if I wanted to be successful, I would have to focus on my written communications and make them a strength.  Today, I proof all my emails and consider the little things I can do to improve my messages, even if they’re casual emails going to my family and friends.

I am an extreme introvert but, because I consciously work on it, no one would ever know if I did not tell them.  I realized if I were going to be successful, I would have to push myself outside my comfort zone and work on my people skills and make them a strength.

How do you feel about your weaknesses?  Are you intentional about working on them or have you fallen into the trap of thinking they don’t matter?  Do you think or say, “That’s just the way I am.  I can’t help it.  Don’t expect me to change”?

If your co-workers sat in a conference room and made a list of your greatest weaknesses, what would be on the list?  As you consider the things they would discuss, how many of those things could you improve tomorrow, if you were intentional?

If your spouse or significant other were to make a list of the things you do that bug him or her, what would be put on the list?  As you think of the most likely answers, how hard would it be to stop doing those things, if you really tried?

Rewards for Turning Weaknesses into Strengths

What many people don’t realize is that their weaknesses are holding them back from enjoying more meaningful relationships, advancing their careers, improving their self-images and confidence, and living happier lives.

I am a firm believer that when you do the little things that you know you should do, without excuses, you feel better about yourself and the person you are becoming.  When you blow them off or discount them, your subconscious knows the truth.  When you repeatedly fail to do the things you know you should do, it’s impossible to feel good about yourself.

The fact is that 95% of the weaknesses I see holding people back are things they could change today, by simply being intentional.

My Three Challenges For You

1.  Change Your Attitude.

Never again allow yourself to think or believe that weaknesses are irrelevant.  You can change weaknesses into strengths.

Michael Jordan said, “My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”

2.  Acknowledge your weaknesses.

The first step towards improving your weaknesses is to openly acknowledge them.

3. Be Intentional.

Choose one weakness and start today to work on it at home, at work, and in your social circles.

For most people, it’s not the lack of focus on their strengths that holds them back; it’s the lack of focus on their weaknesses!