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Stretching Beyond Your Comfort Zone?

In all the years I’ve worked as a therapist and creative career coach I have found in general people avoid being uncomfortable like the plague. I think it’s our natural human instinct to steer clear of anything that may cause pain or discomfort. Even if there’s no physical threat and it’s psychological discomfort, our brains will fight to snap back to old familiar patterns and ways of doing things.

But what happens when those old familiar patterns keep you from your success, creative potential, getting unstuck or making a needed career change?

When we stay with what is familiar and comfortable we risk becoming complacent, especially, in areas where we’re being called to make pivotal changes or to take our creativity to the next level. Staying complacent can hinder our full creative potential. It can eventually keep us trapped in an unfulfilling career leaving us feeling uninspired and passionless about our creative work.

As scary as it can be to embrace the unfamiliar and especially the unknown, this is an invitation to stretch yourself so you can be the creative person you were meant to be.

Clients I’ve worked with in the past, who were willing to face that discomfort and sat with it, experienced powerful changes and lasting growth both personally and professionally. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen over night. They just made the “choice” over and over again to stretch themselves beyond that comfort zone. They knew deep down inside this was necessary in achieving forward motion and ultimately their goals and dreams.

If you have found yourself complacent or stuck when it comes to your creativity or creative career, perhaps it’s time to evaluate if you have been staying within your comfort zone. Whether that’s adopting a new perspective, a new way of doing things, trying something completely out of the ordinary, what areas have you kept yourself from stretching?

Contemplate the following questions:
  • What areas (developing a new skill, making an important call, embarking on a new body of work, submitting my work, career decision, etc.) have I been avoiding?
  • Has avoiding these areas hindered my creative success?
  • What could I gain from moving beyond my comfort zone?
  • What 3 action steps (in 2013) could I do to begin stretching myself?

Cover image and top image from Shutterstock and The Creative Finder.

This is a cross-post from The Art of Mind.

Lisa A Riley, MA, LMFT is a Creativity Coach and has spent more than nine years working with creative individuals such as artists, actors, designers, musicians, writers, and actors. She “helps to empower clients to take steps towards enhancing their creativity and move closer to becoming the artist they envisioned themselves to be”. See her multiple ‘Products for Your Creative Success’ on her site The Art of Mind.

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