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Unstuck and On Purpose: Life Without Borders

coaching purpose Mar 17, 2024

Published in Expert Profile Magazine Autumn Edition 2023.

In some alternate reality I am not married, I do not live in sun-soaked location and I do not have my own business. Now I am not a sci-fi nerd rather, a person who is aware of her comfort zone and who loves the challenge of going beyond it.

Take a moment to remember yourself as a child and recall all the challenges you took head on that sat outside your comfort zone: riding a bike, swimming without assistance, paying for a purchase without an adult, apologising, or asking out your crush. Now imagine if you hadn’t pushed beyond fear and nerves to live a different life. You have now arrived at your alternate reality.

Every day we make choices based on beliefs that deliver us certain outcomes. Beliefs that keep us warm and secure. In fact, your brain thrives on familiarity and like a drug it seeks it out to ensure you remain safe. Habits are formed and before you realise you’re hitting the snooze button every day, driving the same route to work and grabbing the remote for your favourite show at the same time, on the same channel. Now, it’s your life but at what point will you start to feel like a hamster on a wheel?

Perhaps you are unaware of what really limits you much like the famous story of the elephant and the rope. A fully grown elephant is observed to be hitched up with a small, thinning rope and refrains from breaking free despite his physical size or ability. His belief is born of his upbringing and having grown accustomed to being held by this rope since first experiencing it as a baby.  Rat, elephant or human, we all have conscious and subconscious comfort zones that act like borders to our potential.

Challenging your borders is key. Human nature dictates that pain is a powerful motivator and when harnessed it can fuel a ‘mental border’ crossing. A 1908 study by a group of psychologists shocked rats with mild electricity and proved that it motivated them to successfully complete a maze. The pain of feeling stuck could be the inspiration one needs.

There are several benefits to living large and in his TED talk, Marcus Taylor explains how his world first ‘Comfort Zone Calculator’ collected evidence to suggest that those who challenge their comfort zone are successful entrepreneurs, athletes and earn more money than those who do not. I would also suggest that anyone who remains 100% in their comfort zone would never date, eat a wide variety of foods, or even drive a car. Whilst these are rites of passage there are so many areas of one’s life to be challenged that amount to personal growth, interconnectedness, cultural expansion, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development.

So how do you start to live beyond your self-imposed borders?

For me it’s a commitment that I made to to say yes to opportunities that made me nervous. Since, I’ve agreed to hosting gala functions despite my stage fright, I’ve studied with masters in their field despite my concern over the investment, and I have moved across the country despite fear of losing my network. Each time, I have grown exponentially.

Other methods include remaining curious about your thoughts. Dr Joe Dispenza says that 90% of human thought is repeated each day. By asking yourself what thoughts are repetitive and no longer serving your growth, you can confront fears, conditioning and your self-limiting beliefs.

You could also try journal prompts like “If I wasn’t here, doing what I’m doing, where would I be?”. This will unlock your deepest desires however it’s important to refrain from subconsciously dismissing them based on any thought that limits you from achieving it.

Eager to do this right now and not wait until you have your journal or until you have caught one of your repetitive thoughts, try daydreaming. Start with alternative realities or times in your life where you could have taken a different path and now close your eyes and imagine the ‘what ifs’ and when you reopen them take action toward one of those, just be sure it makes you nervous as that’s the key to truly living a life without borders.