You can run a 100m race with people that are slower than you and you will win every time; run a 100m race with people better than you and you may not win, but you will be quicker.
In life we all love one thing – comfort. To be comfortable is great. You feel happy when you are comfortable. But, does being comfortable allow us to be the best we can be? Does comfort allow us to grow? I would argue not. So how do we grow and become a better us? Learn. Stretch. Improve ourselves.
It was a long time ago when I first heard of Comfort; Stretch; Panic and if I am honest, I didn’t really understand it. Many a time at work I would hear the phrase – putting them in stretch. What? I so wished they would talk sense because it was gobbldygook to me. I now have a greater understanding and strongly believe that without stretch, we would never improve. You have to push yourself in order to achieve what you want from life. I am really learning this at the moment in my current journey. The problem is, if you don’t understand it, how can you use it?
So let me give you my spin on comfort; stretch; panic.
As the word suggests, this is your warm fuzzy place. Think of the word comfort in a home surroundings. Nice warm fire; comfortable sofa. You are happiest here, but are you? Are you happy staying in a zone where you are not able to progress? If we are honest, I would say the majority of us would say no, I want to improve. The bare facts are this – you will never be a better you if you stay in your comfort zone. You need to be stretched in order to progress. However, there is a positive to the comfort zone. It is a good place for reflexion. Having a safe haven where you can evaluate what you have learnt is ideal, especially for personal growth.
This is where improvements come from. This is where you allow yourself to be pushed, to be a better you, but not to the point of imparting too much fear. When you are in stretch you cannot allow yourself to become overwhelmed with what you are doing. You need too allow yourself to feel slightly under pressure. So long as the pressure is not too great, you will soon realise that you can handle these pressures and will reap the benefits of growth. If the pressures are too high and you become too overwhelmed, you have the potential to push yourself into the final zone – PANIC!
This is an area that you really want to try to avoid being in. This is where you find things uncomfortable to the point where you no longer think. You are no longer in stretch; no longer learning, therefore, no longer improving. Panic can have really negative concequences on personal growth. It can push you way back into your comfort zone to the point where its difficult to venture back out of it.
So, lets look at this from a scenario point of view.
I don’t particularly like spiders. I would be happy if there were no spiders around (comfort zone). But, from time to time, as the man of the house, I have to remove spiders from the kids bedrooms. Now depending on the size of the spider, will depend on how I deal with it. If the spider is not too big, I can pick it up and take it outside (stretch zone). However, if the spider is too big for me to handle, it puts the fear into me (panic). If someone was to give me a tarantula to hold right now, you would not see me for dust. But, if I were given spiders that slowly increased in size, I may be able to (eventually) pick up the spider. This is due to being placed in stretch, but not venturing into the panic zone.
You can equate this analogy to anything in life. Place yourself in stretch if you want to grow. We all want to grow, but by how much depends on how willing we are to stretch.
Have a fit and healthy day and go on……stretch yourself 🙂