Imagine a bullseye. On the inner circle, there is our comfort zone, then we move into the stretch zone, the risk zone, and finally the death zone.
Our comfort zone is a place where we are safe. It doesn't matter how uncomfortable it sometimes is, what matters is that our brain knows we can survive in that scenario, and it will do anything in its power to keep us there.
When we do something different, we stretch ourselves, and an alarm goes off in our amygdala, which is part of our limbic system, our primitive brain whose job is to keep us safe and alive.
The survival instinct of fight or flight that worked for us in prehistoric times will be telling us that it's dangerous to step out there. It will scare us if we continue to move into the unknown, exaggerating the risks, and creating a worst-case scenario.
The #1 fear that people have is speaking in public, it's a fear greater than death itself.
So, it varies greatly what one person considers stretch, risk, or die.
For a person that is going through depression, leaving the house can feel like stretching, while for another with the same condition, it might feel like dying.
Same happens with ballroom dancing, pressing Publish on your blog, being on video, dating again, quitting a job, or a relationship, moving across the country, changing careers….etc.
When we're aware of this, we're able to take small, consistent steps to stretch beyond our inner circle and move towards what we want, knowing that even if it's risky, we'll be fine.
We acknowledge our feelings of uneasiness, and we calm our brain by telling him, "I hear you, and I'll be fine if I fail."
We have to embrace our discomfort in order to get to where we want to go. It's not easy, but it's possible once we understand that our brain is trying to sabotage our efforts to grow in order to keep us safe.
Your freedom is your ability to live in uncertainty.