Thanks to years spent in Al-Anon and other exposure to the Twelve Steps, I’ve learned a lot about navigating in and out of the comfort zone. Frankly, I recommend learning from the 12 Steps as a way of life and creating Emotionally Intelligent Leadership. That being said and done, I’m drawing from a bit of 12 Step wisdom in this blog post.
I was working with a client this week and as we were creating a breakthrough around beliefs and habits, the phrase, “the easier, softer way” popped into my head. This is a recognizable jewel of mindset familiar to the Twelve Step community. It is also a key to why we run back to our comfort zone.
I asked the group, “what belief or habit are you addicted to that keeps you in your comfort zone?” and I watched the cascade of light bulb moments.
What are you addicted to that shows up as the easier, softer way? Excuses? Justification? Resignation? Depression? Command and Control? Opinions and Judgment? Swooping in to save the day? We are addicted to our comfort zone behaviors and beliefs. This addiction requires a leadership intervention.
This easier softer way is a subconscious safety net. We all know that the unconscious is in control until we bring it into the light of day. Unconscious mind is replete with old programming and comfort zone safety.
Emotionally Intelligent Leadership requires that we truly get on to ourselves to the best of our ability. Journaling, asking for feedback, working with a coach, participating in a group program, and meditating are all great ways to know ourselves better so that we can expand that zone of comfort and re-program our allegiance to the easier, softer way.
Do a little exercise with me. Draw a circle and place a dot in the center of the circle. That dot represents you, by the way. Inside of the circle, write all of your “go-to” behaviors, communication tricks and mindsets that keep you safe and secure inside of the bubble. Outside the circle, list all of the things that might be possible if you just did something a little different, if you weren’t addicted to the soft landing of the easier, softer way. Then make a commitment to yourself to do ONE THING to stretch yourself today.
One thing. Expansion.
The easier, softer way is an illusion. Taking committed and conscious action is a reality. You choose.
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