Engaging Our Growth Zone
Creating and Fulfilling Our Potential
Each of us has been programmed with an adjustable comfort zone. When we own our comfort zone in a way that helps us to expand it, we can use our new-found power and ability to create and fulfill our individual potential for creating a positive impact in this world. But how do we do that?
We are required to manage three zones in any experience we have. Those are the comfort zone, the growth zone and the overwhelm zone. The comfort zone represents the competencies we have already acquired. The growth zone—the area just outside of the comfort zone—allows us to program our nervous system to grow the comfort zone beyond its current limits in a very healthy way. The overwhelm zone— the place beyond the growth zone—is where our nervous system bookmarks the experience as something to be avoided. It further solidifies the negative impact of the experience through a recording of the details of what happened and a deep programming of the decisions made in the moment when we were overwhelmed.
An example of this is when humans need to speak publicly. This fear, known as glossophobia, is the number one anxiety producer among all humans. About 75 percent of us shudder at the thought because for most of us, we don’t contain the education and experience that would bring about competently speaking in front of a group. This makes having a supportive belief about speaking nearly impossible and causes us to become overwhelmed in similar experiences.
In this case, our comfort zone doesn’t house public speaking. Not a problem; our growth zone can be engaged to take incremental steps, by perhaps speaking in an appropriately supportive environment, such as at a place like Toastmasters. Once the skills are learned and practiced, the beliefs will adjust. If past experiences crop up—making us feel somewhere between uncomfortable and paralyzed—the underlying cause can be found and resolved with relatively simple tools.
Maybe public speaking isn’t a skill we wish to acquire. Nonetheless, if we knew that we could help our nervous system navigate between our comfort zone and growth zone, while avoiding the overwhelm zone, what could we create?
Kelly McCormack is a human development technologist who specializes in the ultra-productive, ultra-conscious, ultra-connected human state called “flow”. She is the author of the three-book series, Creating a Leader. Her 30 years of working with leaders combined with intensive personal awareness work help her share transformative frameworks that make consciousness accessible. For more information, visit CreatingALeader.com.