Beyond The Comfort Zone

BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE

Beyond The Comfort Zone

BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE

By Craig Johns

A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.

Successful people have the unique ability to perform under high levels of pressure. Pressure comes from internal and external expectations, and as the stakes rise, fear grows. Being able to deal with fear and the uncomfortable feelings that are associated, you have to be better prepared to control your state of mind.

Why do we feel uncomfortable? That uncomfortable feeling comes from going into a place where you have never been before. You are making a change and disrupting the way your mind and body are used to doing something. It might be doing something for the first time or doing something you haven’t done for a while. It could be doing something you are used to, but the conditions or parameters have changed.

When you first experience a struggle and you feel uncomfortable, you start to second-guess yourself. Remember nothing in life comes easy and the greatest satisfaction is the result of overcoming something that takes us out of our comfort zone and takes us to a whole new level. You need a mindset of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is the price of progression.

“If you want something in life that you have never had, you will have to do something that you have never done.

Here are some ways to take you beyond the comfort zone:

SHOW UP

You will feel most uncomfortable when you take the first step and make a decision to start. That commitment to get off the start-line means the battle is half done. Most great ideas never get started, but once you have taken the first step, the real work begins. You made a choice, a commitment, and now you need to show up.

ONE STEP IN FRONT OF THE OTHER

Sometimes your actions don’t go to plan. You may not be seeing results, the progress is slow, and you are being told that it won’t work or self-doubt is kicking in. This is the point where everyone considers giving up and start asking themselves, “why am I doing this?”. At this point you have to be brave and be ready to answer honestly. Your purpose needs to be crystal clear, because this is when the true battle begins and it is the time to shine.

FAKE IT WHILE YOU MAKE IT

Fear kills more dreams than failure, so you have to control the controllable’s and brainwash yourself with lots of positive affirmations and thoughts. Pretend to be confident and visualize how it will look. Preparation and belief are your best friends.

EMBRACE ‘THE SUCK’

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Deal with the adversity, the challenge, the pain, or the uncomfortable feeling by welcoming it with open arms. Make it your friend, as ‘the suck’ is the reason that is going to make you better. You are building your mental and physical toughness, which leads to greater levels of resilience.

SURROUND YOURSELF

Create a team and environment that supports the challenge. An environment that is positive and provides you with the feedback required to deal with the positive and negative thoughts, and perceived obstacles to achieve your goal.

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE

To continually extend the boundaries of what you thought was possible, you need to understand how you overcome uncomfortable experiences in the past. Use your understandings to build your confidence. Start to notice the patterns of your thoughts and record them. Record the characteristics of your fears, such as when does it appear, where does your mind wander, how do you cope with it and how you construct your intentions to deal with it. Create an internal culture of reveling in achievement and understanding how you deal with situations.

REPETITION

Your mind and body are comfortable with familiarity. The more you perform in an uncomfortable state, the more confidence you will develop. It is a mindset you have to develop, so you can allow your thoughts and emotions to adapt and grow.

TAKE ACTION

What rituals and behaviors can you create, so that each day you feel more comfortable with the uncomfortable? Once you have developed these actions, you need to be patient and be prepared for the long-game, as it will take some to become an automatic part of your life. Over time you will feel more confident, empowered and prepared to face the uncomfortable more often. The result of this process is a life of growth, excitement and success.

Are you ready to go beyond the comfort zone?

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High performers Cultivate more powerful traits

HIGH PERFORMERS CULTIVATE MORE POWERFUL TRAITS

POWERFUL TRAITS

By Craig Johns

It doesn’t matter what industry, the high performers are far more effective at cultivating more powerful traits. We touch on eight of those highly effective traits that unleash their potential and rise above the rest.

MORE WITH LESS

High performers look to consolidate and improve the efficiency by focusing on increasing the ‘outputs that matter’. They reduce products, services and other outputs that don’t matter and focus on making the main thing, the main thing.

Being able to see four or five steps ahead, understanding what the needle-moving requirements are that will get them there, and determining what the distractions are that they need to avoid, allows a high performer to always be in control of their destiny. They are also effective at identifying the must-have skills needed to accomplish those steps, and then will work obsessively to develop them.

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Photo by MontyLov on Unsplash

PROACTIVE LISTENERS & OBSERVERS

To perform at your best you need to be a proactive listener and observer. If done effectively you can extract up to three to five times more information than the normal person.

Improving your listening and observation skills requires the discipline to reduce distractions and be proactive in focusing your attention. Most people aren’t aware or don’t understand how unobservant they are.

Keep phones and other attention seeking distractions out of meetings, conversations and other communication tasks. Take notes during conferences and meetings, and keep a journal to record your activities and reflections. Make eye contact during interactions with others and practice active listening skills.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

BE COURAGEOUS

During times of hardship, taking a large risk, facing fear, dealing with the unknown or coping with judgment, high performers speak up for themselves. They share their truth and also speak up for others more often.

High performers honor the struggle, as they know that struggling is a natural part of the process when dealing with challenges. They can handle the struggle, because they expect it. They show up and appreciate the hard times and don’t complain during the process.

Rather than focusing on changing the world, decide on whom you’re doing it for and then work hard for them. Be prepared to serve for someone who needs help and then develop the kind of character that will help them deserve the outcome they desire. 

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Photo by Zeyn Afuang on Unsplash

Fail Fast

High Performers view themselves as imperfect, and allow for mistakes and subsequent learning. They embrace failing, tend to fail fast, and use failure as a learning opportunity.

Under pressure they have the ability to assess their actions differently than the average person. They are able to let go quicker, whereas low-achievers tend to fall into a ‘broken record’ of embarrassment, guilt and shame.

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Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Raise necessity

Do you know what your purpose or what your underlying reason why is? Determine ‘why’ it is important to succeed every single day. Be bold, put yourself out there, and place your identity on the line.

A deep sense of identity, with performing with excellence, is a necessity for high performers. They will bring their focus back through raising the necessity so they enter with a high level of intention, so they perform with excellence. They will ask themselves “who needs me to be on my A-Game right now?”, whether it is family, team, peers, customers or end users. How often do you prime your mental ability to perform an activity well?

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Fully Commit & Seek Clarity

Most people avoid expressing all their thoughts and feelings when dealing with situations of high pressure. This can lead to unnecessary miscommunication and tension as the recipient feels they have heard all that was meant to be said, and responds accordingly.

A high performer seeks clarity more often as they want to understand why. The average person will jump to judgment based on only 5% of the available information, and therefore can easily mis-read the tone of an email or conversation. These judgments can truly harm us, especially in the digital age, where we can be quick to read and respond with emotion.

It is valuable to grasp what the intention is, what is important and what matters? By using self-reflection, evaluation, and making changes more often, you can sift out distractions and refocus on what is important.

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Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

Develop Influence

You learn more about yourself when you teach others. Through teaching people how to think and challenging them to grow, you change their lives. When you impact someone else’s thoughts, in a positive way, you have influence. Remember to tell them to be their best.

The more comfortable someone is around you, the more likely you are to be able to influence them. Be relaxed and create rapport with the person you are trying to influence, as you are more likely to persuade them if they like and trust you. Listen to the people you are trying to influence, ask the right questions, be aware of their body language and be patient.

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Generate More Energy

If you want to perform at your best you need to develop the ability to switch off, recharge and maximize your ‘transitions’. Transitions are the times in your day when you switch from one task to another, such as the time in between meetings, driving to and from work, grabbing a coffee and eating lunch.

High performers will generate energy during the day, rather than losing it. Try giving your mind and body a break every 45-60 minutes. Where possible, plan and schedule chunks of time to recharge. Take a quick break, close your eyes, or meditate as the short psychological break can release tension and focus, so you are primed for the next activity.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

How are you going to cultivate more powerful traits in your life and remove the traits that are less productive and supportive of a happier life?

DOWNLOAD

To learn more about proactively planning your recovery and scheduling your energy, please DOWNLOAD the Break the CEO Code Whitepaper

READ MORE ARTICLES

Are You Living Link
People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
It’s All About Trust Link
Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link

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Healthy Habits in the Workplace

4 HEALTHY BREAK HABITS WHILE WORKING REMOTELY

By Craig Johns

How often have you found yourself so focused on work while working remotely that you forget to take healthy breaks? In the previous article “Undisputed Benefits of Taking a Smoko Break” we looked at the benefits of taking regular, short and frequent breaks, and the importance of detachment from something we are focused on. This article bring you some useful strategies and habits you can form to improve your performance and productivity while working remotely.

Healthy Break Habits

Don’t tell your boss, but taking a power nap has a major impact on your alertness and cognitive function. It can alleviate sleep deficits; improve creative problem solving, verbal memory, perceptual, object and statistical learning, logical reasoning, reaction times and symbol recognition; and improve our mood, fatigue and feeling of sleepiness. They should last between 10 to 30minutes long. If you nap any longer you risk developing ‘sleep inertia’, which is the unpleasant groggy feeling that can take some time to shake off.

Quite often we get caught up in ‘the grind’ or the finer details of what we are doing. Having a break allows you to step back and taking a birds-eye-view of the task or work you are focused on. It allows to you see the big picture and stay mindful of your objectives.

Enjoyment is the number one retention tool in the world. Completing a fun activity by yourself or with your friends and colleagues produces positive emotions. These emotions reverse negative effects of work tasks and increase blood flow to the areas in the brain that we use to focus.

Daydreaming allows us to release and switch on our creative modes. Our brains have a focused mode (learning, writing, working) and a diffuse mode (relaxed, day-dreaming). Our brain activity increases when our mind wanders. We sometimes solve some of our toughest puzzles or problems while daydreaming.

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets…It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

TIM KREIDER

The 4 healthy break habits while working remotely:

  1. Power nap
  2. Birds-eye-view
  3. Fun activity
  4. Day dreaming

PRODUCTIVITY-BOOSTING ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR BREAK

Let’s take a look at some more healthy break habits activities that you can use to boost your productivity while working remotely:

  • Take a walk – 20min walk can increase blood-flow to the brain, which can boost creative thought, enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat age-related declines in brain function, and improve memory and cognitive performance
  • Daydreaming – leads to creativity. Creative activities teach us agency, the ability to change the world, mould it to our liking and to have a positive effect on our environment
  • Eat – replenish the brain with productivity nourishing foods
  • Read – a non-work book. Reading fiction books can lead to better understanding other people, emphasize with them and see the world from their perspective
  • Coffee – morning and afternoon break time is the perfect time for coffee
  • Aesthetically pleasing photos – photos that spark positive emotions like babies, baby animals and funny cartoons
  • Listen to music – can significantly improve our motor and reasoning skills
  • Nap it out – 10-30min naps can improve cognitive function, decreases sleepiness and fatigue, improves reaction time.
  • Exercise – makes you happier, increase energy and helps gain focus. Less than 10minutes is all you need.
  • Have a chat – with co-workers or friends
  • Meditate – your brain’s beta waves can be dramatically reduced during meditation. It lowers stress levels, improves overall health and enhances creativity
  • Make it fun – plan a future trip or vacation. The anticipation of a trip can make people happier that the actual trip itself
  • See the nature – Spending time in nature is good for your immune system, improve focus and relieve stress
  • 20min Eye Exercise Rule – 20-20-20 rule – Every 20min, take at least a 20sec break, looking at objects 20 feet away.
  • Goofing Around online – the distractive nature of checking text messages and surfing social media can assist with refreshing the brain

“To maximize gains from long-term practice,” Dr. Ericsson concluded, “individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.”

Professor K. ANDERS ERICSSON

BREAK METHODS

Here are a few methods that can help you implement a successful healthy break habits strategy in your day.

  1. Pomodoro Method – alternate 25mins on, 5mins off. After 4 cycles take a 30min break. Helps you get rid of distractions and focus more intently. Finite beginning and end of small chunks increases urgency in finishing tasks quickly and making decisions faster
  2. 90minute work blocks – works with our body’s natural rhythm (ultradian rhythm) of 90minutes of activity and 20minutes of rest. We do this during sleep and during the day. When Professor K. Anders Ericsson studied elite performers like violinists, athletes, actors and chess players, he found that the best performers practiced in focused sessions of no more than 90 minutes.
  3. 52-17 method – split between the Pomodoro Method and 90min Blocks. Research suggests that it could be the most productive schedule. Working with purpose.
  4. 2x 15min breaks per day – a good starting point for those who have less flexibility in their work day or mentally cant get their heads around taking breaks.

“The reason the most productive 10% of our users are able to get the most done during the comparatively short periods of working time is that their working times are treated as sprints. They make the most of those 52 minutes by working with intense purpose, but then rest up to be ready for the next burst. In other words, they work with purpose.”

COURTNEY SEITER

What are the healthy break habits strategies you are going to choose?

DOWNLOAD

To learn more about proactively planning your recovery and scheduling your energy, please DOWNLOAD the Break the CEO Code Whitepaper

READ MORE ARTICLES

Are You Living Link
People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
It’s All About Trust Link
Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link

LEARN MORE

active CEO COACHING
active CEO CORPORATE
active CEO PODCAST
Craig Johns SPEAKER
Craig Johns BLOG
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