Changing comfort zones

When we picture a personal change as "leaving our comfort zone", we feel threatened. We want to hole up in our tree, stick to our routines and justify our reliable habits. We may appear obstinate, neglectful or clueless to others. We don't care. When others are against us and forcing us to change, the safest place to hide is our very secure, comfort zone. Hmm!

When we are out of our comfort zone, we are out of our tree. Oops! We've lost our grip. We're blushing with embarrassment, stammering when we try to speak and going blank in our minds. Nothing works like it should. We're making fools of ourselves. We cannot stop making mistakes, feeling insecure, or causing problems. We get back in our tree -- ASAP.

After enough episodes of falling out of our tree, we get comfortable with what we cannot do. We accept our shortcomings, know our weaknesses and live with our limitations. Getting holed up in our tree does not feel confining, it seems realistic. We face the facts we have learned from vivid experiences of being out of our comfort zone.

At this point in our adventure, we cannot see the forest for the trees. Our narrow perspective disregards our next comfort zone. We only know about our safety and how it feels to be out of our tree. We are staying out of trouble, avoiding mistakes and succeeding as best we we know how.

Sometimes the weather changes in the forest. We get the feeling it's safe to go out on those skinny branches. It appears we can learn from our mistakes without embarrassing ourselves. We find we can take risks and learn from our awkward experiences. The situation has changed to a supportive environment that nurtures growth and experimentation. We start venturing out, exploring and discovering new territory.

We get into some trouble. Oh-oh! We back off and try again. We see how far we can go. We get good at testing our limits and discovering our new abilities. Out on one of those skinny branches, we discover another skinny branch below. We make the leap and land in another tree. Hee-Haw!

We learn our way around this new tree. We develop new routines and ways to succeed here. We find our way to a new comfort zone. We get holed up in the comfy new tree. Hmm! Some say we're transformed. We think we're just trying new things and learning as we go.

1 comment:

  1. Tom;
    Our challenge now is to develop a cultural and personal change plan for educators that accelerates and supports the "Hee-Haw!" process.