Today marks Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. With the on-going cost of living crisis and the barrage of negative headlines in the news, you’d be forgiven for wanting to hunker down to weather the economic storm. In times of uncertainty, your instinct can be to stick in your comfort zone where you feel safe and in control. When in fact, you need face your fears and remind yourself that what doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you. By adopting a growth mindset it’s possible to stretch yourself and develop the skills needed to deal with new experiences and even a new purpose.
So to beat the January blues, dial up your ambition and try one or all of the steps below to move out of that safe space and set yourself up for success in 2023.
- Face Your Fears – It’s entirely normal to feel daunted and nervous as you leave your comfort zone, Silence your inner gremlin – that negative voice inside your head that tells you why you won’t achieve something – by writing down a list of your main worries and concerns. Now think of a counter argument for each worry and write it down. For example, if you are negotiating a new contract with a client and you worry “they’ll never agree to my terms”, turn this on its head by writing down the value you have brought to the relationship and why they should say “yes”. By flipping negatives into positives in this way, you will increase your self-belief and transition more easily into your learning zone.
- Make a plan – As I often tell my clients if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Take the time to think about all the challenges you may face as you move into your learning zone and prepare an action plan to help you deal with any curve balls that come your way. For example, if your goal is to overcome stage-fright and present at a conference, make sure you arrange to speak in front of a handful of people so that you can hone your public speaking skills and boost your confidence before the big day.
- Find support – Remember you don’t have to do this all by yourself. Just as athletes rely on a team of coaches to help them achieve their personal best, don’t be afraid to ask for help to reach your peak performance. Find a mentor, coach, or trusted colleague to help you brainstorm ideas and scenarios.
- Be inspired by others – Take inspiration from those around you who excel in their field. Picture someone who is at their top of their game and ask yourself what they would do in this situation. Role modelling other people’s behaviour in this way can give you the confidence you need to develop new skills.
- Visualise success – A powerful tool to help you move through the fear zone into the learning zone or beyond into the growth zone is to imagine what success looks like to you. If you are trying to get promoted, it could be updating your LinkedIn profile or if you are hoping to win a new deal, it could be signing your name on the contract.
Finally, remember you don’t have to take one giant leap out of your comfort zone, it’s ok to break down your goals into manageable steps. Moving through the different zones in stages will set you up for success by helping you boost your confidence, grow your skillset and seize all the opportunities that come your way.
I would love to hear how you get on – good luck!