I’ve been a profound personal change junkie for at least decade. I got hooked on the benefits of personal development when I realized that my experience of life wasn’t expansive enough unless I was discovering new insights and pushing at the boundaries of my comfort zone. It’s an exciting way to live. The benefits of personal change are so addictive, that it wasn’t long before change itself became my new comfort zone.
Before I began to invest in myself, I experienced life from a combination of two apparently opposite states: bored and neurotic. On reflection I think the neurosis was born out of the boredom, or perhaps more accurately, from the habit of playing small and coasting along nicely in my ‘zone of competence’. Gaye Hendricks describes the zone of competence beautifully in his un-put-down-able book ‘The Big Leap‘. It’s a must read for any change seeker.
Rather counter intuitively, the zone of competence feels deeply unsafe at subconscious level: one experiences the chronic nagging feeling that someone is going to ‘find out’ that you are not as good as all that. It’s a symptom experienced by many successful professionals climbing the career ladder and it can have you feeling edgy and unsafe for no apparent reason.
Our deeper fear is that we are not playing full out. When we are not living our potential it makes us crabby, neurotic and sick. This feeling escalates in severity until we get the message. We are being invited to show our true colors, to step up and share our ‘zone of genius’ with the world and to live in the fullest expression of ourselves. Hendrick’s description of the zone of genius had me salivating with excitement about what that would be for me. It got me thinking about how good I could bear to let things get. I was under starters orders.
Self-investment requires us to identify a goal. If the goal doesn’t excite and scare us, it’s too small. We need to allow ourselves to dare to dream. This in itself can feel like a stretch if we have allowed ourselves to become habitually placated by safe thoughts and aspirations. We head in our chosen direction of travel in response to the realization that we are uncomfortable sitting in the gap between where we are now and where we’d like to be. The race has begun.
Most of us have a preference in the way we seek to make change; we tend to be either a ‘towards’ or ‘away from’ motivated person. In other words, our goals either move us away from the state we are not enjoying (in my case being a bored neurotic!) or we move towards a state/circumstance that we feel we’d be more comfortable with; moving from a salaried position to becoming self employed, for example.
What we often fail to comprehend is the raft of fringe benefits we achieve en route to our goal. Garnering all our courage, we sign on the line to work with our inspirational coach/mentor/practitioner of choice, focused on the prize. In the spirit of ‘if I can perceive it, I can conceive it’, the chances of us reaching our goal with the right amount and type of guidance and within a given timeframe is high.
I’ve achieved many of the goals I’ve set myself over the past decade. Others have fallen away as I’ve become more aligned with myself and realized that the path to achieve them was taking me in the wrong direction. There is little point winning the wrong race!
But the cherry on the cake of ‘backing yourself ‘ are the fringe benefits that turn out to be anything but. There’s a great saying that ‘it’s not about the goal you set; it’s the person you become in order to achieve it that counts’. On the journey you meet people, learn concepts and approaches and experience adventures that have you Thanking God on a daily basis that you did what it took to enter yourself in the race.
If you are interested in purchasing The Big Leap by Gaye Hendricks, you can do so by following this link (in doing so I will receive a small commission which helps me to keep the website going):