Without question, there has been a lot of discomforts that we’ve all experienced in 2020. And the recovery from COVID-19 will be an uphill battle that we will all have to learn to navigate.
So why would I suggest that you should explore beyond our comfort zone when all we want now is to be comfortable?
Simple. I want to prepare you for what’s to come. The recovery from COVID-19 will not be back to a familiar reality. Instead, we will emerge from this crisis into a new normal that will continue to challenge our comfort zones. In the coming weeks, months, and years ahead we will need to depend on a fortified resilience that enables us to thrive throughout this new experience.
Experience, the teacher
What if I told you that we all live in our own personal bubble? And that the bubbles are made up of our limiting beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. And that our ability to fully embrace and engage in this world is based on the size of that bubble. This bubble is our comfort zone. We all have them yet some are more constricted than others.
In order to expand our comfort zone, we must learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean we no longer have fear, anxiety, or a lack of self-confidence. This means that we’ve determined that on the other side of those paralyzing emotions, there is something worth pursuing so we face our constraints in hopes of liberation.
The absolutely best way to achieve this liberation is through new learned experiences. I’m making the distinction of learned experiences versus lived experiences because the former requires reflection on the experience while reflection may not occur in lived experiences.
Reflection is the key component that makes the shift between experiencing something new and assimilating the doing and being learning opportunities of that experience. Otherwise, we go through life in a zombie state of existence, repeating the same destructive habits and becoming no wiser.
Novelty is also key for learning to take place. Without it, the experience would not wake us up out of our routine view of life. Novelty allows us to go through the entire experience eyes wide open, seeking, and consuming the new.
Consider these two examples. In the first, you drive along the route to work that you habitually travel but instead you are the passenger. This is a first for you so you take in all of the sights, discover new things along the route you’ve never noticed before, and realized the tree line is vibrant with life.
Sticking with the travel theme, you travel to a new country. Upon landing, you start to take in all of the differences. Your ears hear a different language, your eyes admire the architecture, your nose delights in the spices being used to cook the food that your taste buds are about to consume.
In these two experiences, you take the opportunity to reflect through journaling and discovered how you were, what you felt, and what you learned through these novel experiences. The fears that you had were found not to be true. The anxiety you felt was replaced by excitement and anticipation. Your self-confidence was bolstered by having accomplished something new.
So as you can see, experience becomes the best teacher you’ve ever had because it opened you up to possibilities that you thought were not available to you. These possibilities were outside of your reach largely because of the bubble that constrained your experiences…the comfort zone that limited you.
Experiences are a powerhouse of personal and professional development that allows you to embody learning like nothing else. Especially as we ensure that these experiences include:
- Novelty to wake us up for the mundane of doing and being
- Reflection to embody the learning
- Noticing to take in the new
- Vulnerability to allow ourselves a moment of insecurity so that we can take part in a perspective-shifting experience.
In this trying time, it may seem impossible to engage in such an experience that would yield this benefit. I’ll offer that this thought is only part of the story. There are a number of innovative ways that you can undergo transformative experiences that shape and develop you…while having fun.
Coaches and Educators
An aspect of supporting your clients and students means to support their development through learned experiences. We at the Plaskett Institute, believe that transformative experiences have the ability to wake up our clients to the reality they have the power to shape and grow deeper in their understanding of themselves and the world around them.
Our new course, Architecting Transformations, is a comprehensive master course that teaches you the levels of facilitating experiences that can result in a more open, inclusive, liberated, and purposeful individual that show up to life fully present. This course is coming in Summer 2020.