Stretching Yourself Too Far?
Stretching Yourself Too Far?
If you are anything like me then you are constantly pushing yourself, taking on more and well stretching yourself beyond what might be comfortable. But the question really is “Are stretching yourself too far? Just enough? Or not enough?” We know we need to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone to grow both personally and professionally but how do we know if we are stretching ourselves too far?
Staying motivated through challenges is difficult in and of itself but we can use these challenging times to help provide a gauge for if we are not just over-extending ourselves but if we are actually working too far outside of our comfort level. What is comfortable for you in a stretch may be too far for your best friend and what is comfortable for them maybe giving you the feeling like you are slacking. Your business associate may be moving forward and knocking off tasks on a project faster than you can blink which is making your head spin and bringing on feelings of being overwhelmed. Again, these all can be viewed as a way to gauge where exactly your comfort zone ends, where you are stretching yourself just enough to see movement and growth and where you are gone too far.
We know, whether it be for your personal life or your professional arena that your comfort zone is an area that you have become accustomed to and feel most comfortable. You know what you know and you are confident in responding to challenges that fall within this area. To be successful in your life, I believe you need to be living …
- 10% in your ‘slacking’ zone – the area where you are so comfortable that nothing challenges you
- 60% in your comfort zone – where you live and work in your most efficient of ways
- 25% in the hot zone or stretching yourself and
- 5% of your “OMG I am way out there – it is scary” zone.
Think of a dart board. Your slacking zone is the first outer ring – the largest or furthest out (alternating red and green segments); your comfort zone is the next ring – the middle circle of red and green segments; your hot zone is the green portion of the bulls-eye and your OMG zone is the red portion of the bulls-eye. I’ve attached a picture of my dart board here at home to help give you the visual. As you move around in your daily activities you can begin to see where and how you spend your time. The black and tan areas in between the red and green segments are your areas of movement. Your areas of transition you might say. In these areas are the triggers or experiences that move you zone to zone but all the zones ultimately point to supporting you when you find yourself in the red center of the bull’s-eye.
Some of you are asking yourselves how did I arrive at my belief of how often we need to be experiencing each zone and it is a great question so let me answer it and see if I can help give you clarity in your own lives as to where you can improve your life balance approach. It is a well known fact that as we age we tend to become more prone to staying put in our established comfort zones and this is not necessarily a bad thing but it does not empower you to stay in action or embrace change and growth.
Staying in our acknowledged comfort zone 60% of the time allows you to complete normal everyday projects and tasks much like normal day-to-day tasks at work, housework, bill payments, or yard work maintenance etc. Experiences that do not require more than what we currently have in our skills toolbox or emotional, mental, physical capabilities.
Next moving in and out of your hot zone 25% of the time happens when you are faced with challenges that stretch your physical bodies to do more than what your comfort zone requires, stretch your mind by activities such as reading, or taking courses; stretch your emotions when refining your communication skills and so on.
Residing 10% of your time in your slacking zone empowers you to ‘turn off’ and ‘take a break’, regain strength and come back to center or neutral. We all need time to just be and not be challenged, to enjoy the fruits of our hard work and dedication; we all deserve to slack off once and a while. For me it’s encouraging myself to catch up on television shows that do not require me to think or to read a trashy magazines. The experiences are fun but definitely not challenging.
And finally, the final 5% in the “OMG” zone is the time that you experience an alleviated stress level; you pushed yourself outside of the hot zone so far that you are not sure you will make it through. When you do recover you realize that by going “there”, to this OMG zone you’ve now just reset your comfort zone all together.
It is this 5% that may cause you the most stress but it is the zone that unequivently support you being able to stay in action and moving closer to achieving your desired goals and aspirations. It is this zone that empowers you to ask the questions if what you are doing or completing in your comfort zone is really in alignment with your life’s purpose and vision. It is this 5% that drives you to change, to grow and to embrace your full potential during the remaining 95% of your life.
Your goal in life is embrace life and to find the ‘lesson’ in each of your life’s experience as you journey along. Knowing what supports your growth is the golden nugget, the pearl of wisdom that your OMG zone reveals to you. The next time you wonder if you are moving closer to your life’s goal I encourage you to take the time to look at how and where you are spending your time. It might just surprise you as it will show you if you are over stretching yourself, asking too much of yourself and pushing yourself a little too hard or not hard enough.