Become counterphobic? What does that mean? It’s your behavior and attitude in response to anxiety; instead of running away from the source of your overwhelming fear or anxiety, you actively seek it out, hoping to overcome it. It’s going counter to or against your natural inclination to stay in your comfort zone.
Your comfort zone is a place where you feel certainty and predictability, because you’re surrounded by what’s familiar. You’ve already mastered everything within the confines of this zone, so it feels cozy. But the downside is that there’s nothing to challenge you, nothing for you to learn, to conquer, to experience. Everyone has the potential to go further! Yet, if you allow your comfort zone to restrict you, you won’t reach your full potential, because you won’t be able to take advantage of opportunities that come your way.
What situations make you fearful? Public speaking? Marketing your business via in-person networking? Confrontational situations? Learning new skills? Putting yourself out there where everyone can see your vulnerabilities? Whatever your fear, you can become counterphobic and turn that fear into an opportunity.
Here are some suggestions:
Reject rationalization. A common reaction when you’re afraid is to minimize the benefit you’ll get if you participate. This gives you permission to give in to your anxiety and fear. You tell yourself dismissive statements like: “It’s not that important.” “I don’t need to do that, if I do this.” “I didn’t want to do that anyway.” These statements may be true, but they may be your way of avoiding the thing that makes you uncomfortable.
So ask yourself: If you had zero anxiety about it, would you do it and benefit from it? If so, you’ve identified your fear. Now you can mindfully use my Tea Time Exercise to reassure all of your Parts that you’re safe and everything is alright. Then plot out the baby steps that will keep moving you toward your new intention or goal.
Customize your approach. There is seldom only one way to accomplish something. If approaching it head-on scares you, circle around from the side and work up to it, step by step. Customizing your behavior like this makes you successful, while being true to yourself. It helps you take control and make it your own.
Embrace accountability. Progress happens when you measure the success of taking daily baby steps. It’s easy to get down on yourself, to talk yourself out of doing things outside your comfort zone. That’s when a coach or mentor can really help you to keep going despite the discomfort you feel. They help you see the situation and yourself through new eyes. They can point out adjustments, which will make you more effective.
Get real. We all tend to have certain habits or behaviors that we resort to when we feel uncomfortable. Upon closer examination you might discover that indulging in them is keeping you stuck in your comfort zone. For example, you might feel discomfort so you grab your go-to self-help tool — a book, a recording, a YouTube video of Tony Robbins. That sounds good. But if you don’t go and do what causes you discomfort, what good has the self-help tool done? In reality, it’s become a way for you to hide in your comfort zone.
Show insight and widen your perspective. Assuming you know everything or leaping to conclusions are ways we put our own slant on a situation, when there is no basis for those judgments. And we tend to use those assumptions to behave in a negative, limiting way that keeps us in our comfort zone. For example, you might be talking with a client who seems defiant and uncooperative. You proceed to tell yourself how you’ve failed to reach her and it would be best to cancel future appointments. What you don’t realize is that she had terrible personal news that threw her off balance and she needs you more than ever. Getting your wires crossed, you retreat back into your comfort zone, without inquiring and digging deeper into what could be a messy conversation.
Fear is a natural and essential part of growth. When we become counterphobic, we can consciously choose to step outside of our comfort zone. The next uncomfortable thing then becomes a little bit easier.
Make the brave decision that the time has come for you to take your first bold step toward the biggest future you have imagined, however far off the beaten and comfortable path that may take you. I invite you to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to help you become counterphobic so that you can lean into what makes you uncomfortable and achieve your full potential for success.