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What You Must Do To Create A Personal Breakthrough

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Personal Breakthroughs And Success

If you’re stuck in a rut and your life is not going how you want it too then you need a personal breakthrough. A breakthrough is something that changes the course of your life going forward and ensures that things will never be the same for you again.

Most of what a breakthrough requires is for you to have the courage and the bravery to stops settling for second best. Everything you need in your life already exists. The problem is often that your mind is blocking you from seeing the success tools you need to catapult your life into the right direction.

In 2011 I had one of these personal breakthroughs and since then, I have had a few more. Breakthroughs are what create the combined power to achieve your dreams. When I remember back to my first breakthrough, I realised that it was fear that was holding me back from accepting my current situation.

Before my first breakthrough, I wanted to blame everyone else about why I was failing at life and why I was incredibly unhappy. Taking ownership of your situation is part of being a mature adult, and once you realise that every problem starts with you, you will have the keys to unlock your unlimited potential.

Below are the seven things you must do to create a personal breakthrough:

 

1. Hit a low point

This may seem counter-intuitive, but the first step is to hit a low point. Without a low point, there is obviously no reason to have a breakthrough. A breakthrough is quite clearly something that stems from a low point.

If you are not going through a low point then you don’t need a breakthrough, you need some personal tweaking. However, if you are not going through a low point, but would like to have more success, then you can convince yourself that you are at a low point.

The mind can be convinced of anything and often you can use this to your advantage. By deciding to have a breakthrough, you unlock the power to make a drastic change. At the end of a breakthrough, the whole point is to go through so much change that you don’t recognise your previous life.

 

2. Analyse your story so far

Before you can begin the work on your breakthrough, you need to analyse the story you are telling yourself. It’s in these self-told stories that most of your barriers to success are found. The stories we tell ourselves form a process called “autosuggestion” that can be used to guide us, or destroy us.

Upon analysing my own story, I realised that I was telling myself these stories:

– I am not good enough
– I should be making more money
– It’s not my fault I am failing; other people caused these problems, not me
– I don’t have the skills to follow my passion
– One day I will be successful I just need to wait for something to fall on my lap

As you can see, the stories that I was telling myself were quite harmful. My stories typically had the components of no responsibility, reliance on other people, no sense of urgency, and complete lies. No one is going to create your success for you, and you have to start now.

No matter how far away your dream might seem it can only ever come true if you take a small step. The purpose of analysing your story is to become aware of the lies you are telling yourself. Once you know your made up stories, it’s a good idea to compare them with stories from people like Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Bill Gates.

There is no way to have a personal breakthrough unless you decide to form new, empowering stories.

“Your stories are what are stopping you from having a personal breakthrough in the first place”

 

3. Make a decision

No breakthrough can occur unless you cut off from all other options and decide that you must change your life right now. The moment you make the critical decision is the moment that the rest of your life will change.

Making the decision is the hardest part of any breakthrough. Once you decide and you have the tools, it’s much easier to execute on your new plan for your life.

During my first breakthrough, I found myself in a situation that at the time seemed impossible to get out of. The decision I made was that the past had already occurred, and I had to start again from the bottom.Decision Making Crossroads

I made four bold decisions:

– I would no longer stand for negative people
– I would choose a different entrepreneurial path
– I would redefine what success meant to me
– I would never allow money to define me again

Having made these four new decisions I had a new foundation that was achievable to work from. Making the decisions and then executing on them is half of the work.

 

4. Set a new standard

Once you leave behind all your old stories and make some empowering new decisions, it’s then time to set some new standards. Your standards determine what your minimum requirements are for each area of your life.

In my first breakthrough, I now realise that deciding to start from the bottom allowed me to clear out my previous standards. In doing so, I adopted a new set of standards that were less money focused and more in the direction of my vision for life. I realised that I had to become a new person if I wanted to attract the sorts of things I wanted in my life.

Once you have set your new standards, you then have a list of what you are not going to accept from the external world or the people in your life. Your standards become your must’s, and you should be unwavering in your pursuit of these standards.

 

5. Design your new life

Smile - Good moodPart of a successful breakthrough is to know what you would like the future to look like. Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Would you like to travel? Do you want to create a massive change in the world? Do you want to start a not for profit organisation?

The answer to these types of questions will help to uncover the life you want. It’s imperative that you have a vision that you can aim for even if at this early stage you have no idea how to get there. This process should have no boundaries, and anything can be included in this new design for your life.

When I went through this process I had things such as:

– An incredible network of people
– A new group of close friends
– A new woman
– A new career
– A way of changing the world through the Internet

Thankfully, since writing this list down, I have achieved most of these already. This list of wants will give you the leverage you need to follow through on your personal breakthrough.

 

6. Take up three new positive habits

A personal breakthrough involves lots of new components to your life and as part of the process, you must decide to take up at least three new positive habits. If you decide to have a breakthrough, and then just keep living the same way, then you will not get any results.

Habits are the small acts each day that you repeatedly do that end up having a lot to do with your overall success. During my first personal breakthrough, I took up exercise, reading and blogging as my new daily habits.

These three things have been a large part of where I have got to and are the pillars of my vision of inspiring the world through entrepreneurship and personal development. What three habits are you going to adopt in your own personal breakthrough?

 

7. Get clear on your why

The final part of your personal breakthrough is to get very clear on your personal why. You need to know why you exist and what your fundamental goal is in life. Typically, you’re why is something that you are highly passionate about and it is most likely related to your hobby.

Even if you’re clear on your why you need to rewrite it in a way that makes it full of energy and something that will excite you every day when you look at it. If your why is boring then it’s probably not an accurate representation of what you stand for.

Your why is something that is like the compass of your life. It’s what will be at the centre of your personal breakthrough and give you the drive to pursue a new course.

“A person without a powerful why will slowly die inside and become a predictable, shift-working zombie” – Tim Denning

I don’t want this type of de-motivating life for you, and you and I know you deserve better than that. Stand up, fire up, and spend some time knowing what the heck you are doing on this Earth!

Have you had a personal breakthrough? If not, why haven’t you? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Stuart

    Dec 21, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Great article, as always! These are also in front of me at the right time so thanks. I had my breakthrough 9 Aug 2016. I was at a free life coaching seminar in London and we were asked who would like their future predicted with 95% accuracy? We were then told just to look at the last 5 years of our lives and my blood ran cold. I had gone from a high earning city manager in 2011 that was made redundant, to taking any work I could find took short term contract roles… the fifth role I found myself earning less than half of what I had done previously and working with quite possibly the most negative people I had come across. To numb the pain of going to work in a place that depressed me I started upping my alcohol intake to almost every day. Family had written me off, was already divorced only stable thing in my life was and still is my daughter. After the coaching seminar I walked out of the job have started a life coaching business as I want to share the coaching I have had since 9th August with everyone. I have made more progress in the last 4 months than I had done in the last 4 years!! Feel more alive than I ever have done. My ‘why’ is to help others see this way of living, thinking and being. So many doors are opening for me, life has become amazing again. Currently paying my bills with credit cards but this is only temporary 2017 is shaping up to be the best year of my life!! Thanks for articles and have a great Xmas and NYE. If I was honest I can’t wait for the holidays to be over… they are getting in the way of my plan haha.

  2. Brian

    Aug 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Great article! Best one yet! Something about your writing style keeps me reading and reading, even if I am familiar with some of the content. Good work Tim

  3. Silvia Turonova

    Jul 16, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Again, great article Tim. I know exactly what you are talking about because I am going through this “struggle” right now. I am trying to put myself in a state where I feel that enough is ENOUGH! But for some reason, I can’t get there, and it limits my personal resources, and my productivity is not as high as it used to be. Anyway, I will follow steps which you’ve described. I had few of my breakthroughs in life, and I know it must come now if I want to make me the difference and turn things around. Thank you for sharing this. It really helped.

  4. Chris Targett

    Jul 9, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Hey Tim, I’ve read a few of your article’s today, trying to get me back on track after a lack of motivation, have to say this is my favourite one. The pick out quote that resonates with me is:

    “Everything you need in your life already exists”

    We have the tools for us to successful, we just need to put them into practice. I am waiting for something to happen instead of going out there with what I’ve already got and attacking life!

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 9, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Thanks Chris for raking the time to read through a few of the posts. My advice to you would be to start taking action and forget about waiting for things to happen. Let me know how things progress for you.

  5. Toño

    Jul 1, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Wow, Tim, you’re on fire, my man! Article after article for the full week, that’s a hard mode 🙂 I cannot even catch up with your speed right now, having the toughest week at my job, lots of stress and tiredness. So my apology for the lack of comments.

    I started to read your work and just could not stop. Printed the whole thing, while being at work, and have read it carefully. Feel like I am at my lowest point, hitting the one pretty hard, at least I can tell that about my job. For the whole week I was doing lots of things and no time for proper rest, and all of this, I felt, was for pretty much nothing. Well, it was like this till I read about breaktrhough. It is really strange but I just know I need this huge frustration and stress in my life to get out, to change it and to find my why. I need new standards and I need new habbits. And I extremely need new environment.

    I am close to leave my job, closests than I ever been, but still have to be there at least for a couple of months. I know bad days won’t last forever, as well as those good ones, so I just to keep going. Like James Baraz said: ‘…enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t)’

    Got it from one of the latest meditation session with calm, I like it and very agree.

    Thank you so much for this inspiration, Tim, and once again sorry for chaotic rambling. Keep on going as well, keep making your dreams come true and helping others! Much love and peace!~

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 2, 2016 at 1:46 am

      Toño sorry to hear that things at your job are not going so well. It’s obvious you will need to find something else. Try and find a career that you love with people who inspire you rather than bring you down. Frustration and stress exist for everyone including me. The more you practice meditation the more your moods will change.

      I have cranked up my meditation to twice a day now and it’s made a big difference. The tougher the times get the more you have to put into each day my friends. Keep your head up, things will get better for you!

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Success Advice

3 Life Lessons in Perseverance to Achieve Your Wildest Dreams

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I have two careers as an actor and a marketer with each having its own unique challenges. However, the number of parallels I continue to find in my chosen professions never ceases to amaze me. Of these lessons, perhaps one of the most valuable is that of persistence, and the mental resilience I’ve had to learn. You can’t be an actor without resilience as I experience rejection dozens of times per week.

Acting is a lesson in endurance, not a sprint. When you think about it though, doesn’t that apply to any career? It’s not easy to “Keep on keeping on.” No matter what path life has led you down, I’m sure you’ve experienced plenty of bumps. Sometimes, those bumps turn into potholes that the universe seems to refuse to fix.

As an actor, rejection is par for the course. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to persevere in spite of it. When life gets especially challenging, and you are dealing with change, disappointment or missteps, make use of these life lessons and continue pressing on towards your goal.

Below are 3 lessons in perseverance which will help you achieve your wildest dreams:

1. Know when it’s time to recalibrate

Goals are an important and necessary tool to reach our full potential. They keep us focused to help make small decisions on a daily basis such as if I should get up for that 8 a.m. run along with bigger decisions such as if I should take a new job offer. While setting goals is essential, don’t let them overpower you.

Tunnel vision in reaching your goals adds unnecessary pressure. This causes us to make mistakes we wouldn’t have made otherwise. Get too obsessed with a goal and you’ll forget the big picture, such as why you chose this course to begin with. Take a lesson from one of my favorite casting directors, Dave Newman of McSweeney Newman Casting.

Forget trying to “make it big” as an actor. It is normal to wait years before booking work with a decent paycheck. If you’re in the room with Dave, it’s hard not to let the pressure take over your performance.

In the words of Dave, as soon as those words from A Chorus Line enter your head, “God, I hope I get it!” it’s time to adjust your mindset. Dave advises taking a step back, refocusing, and doing anything that isn’t acting. Sometimes the best way to reach a goal is by shifting your gaze just for a moment. Take the pressure off and recalibrate your thoughts. You’ll come back recharged with a fresh perspective to pursue your objectives.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

2. Appreciate the journey

Perseverance requires a heaping dose of appreciation. This means acknowledging all the wins in your life, both big and small. Even if you haven’t yet met your goal, remember that you are moving towards it and that alone is an achievement.

As Linda Gillum, Casting Director at Chicago theatre Remy Bumppo explains, “With everything you do, you’re planting seeds.” It takes time for the seeds of success to grow. As an actor, my seeds take a lot of sunshine, water, and gratitude for the little things. A win can be as simple as improving my technique or getting an audition; I can’t base my happiness on booked jobs.

Persistence becomes much easier when you notice your achievements despite those potholes surrounding you. Celebrate the small wins; they’re what milestones are built on. Even if your manager or co-workers don’t recognize your work, give yourself that pat on the back.

To stay motivated, make a mental highlight reel of your achievements. Afterwards, be ready to hit the play button whenever you need a quick pick-me-up.

3. Embrace mistakes or at least be okay with them

No matter how much you hate mistakes, they’ll keep happening. Some people seem to move on from mistakes quickly, letting them roll off their backs. For others, that’s not the case (If you’re fighting to be perfect or gain confidence I’m talking to you!). The fear to avoid mistakes can be crippling.

This is also true in acting, where you work and wait years for a five-minute audition that could change everything. However, my best work won’t come unless I live in the moment and trust my instincts. And you know what that means, things can go wrong in an instant. But guess what? I still have to dive in, and I mean all in. If I don’t risk it all, my audition will suck, and I’ll lose before I even walk through the door.

We all recognize that positives, including life lessons, come from mistakes. However, that doesn’t stop the nosedive mistakes caused on emotions and confidence. Sometimes, we do everything in our power to avoid that feeling.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Remember that there’s truth in the statement, “The biggest mistake is not making mistakes.” One way to get over your fear of failure is to make your focus on continuous improvement, not perfection. Teaching yourself to be okay with mistakes takes time but is necessary to maintain resilience.

You can allow yourself a learning curve, but it is essential to work on letting go of missteps. It takes practice to let go of the could have or would have statements. The good news is practice and persistence go hand-in-hand.

Take stock of what makes you happy in life, and turn to those things when mistakes happen. Little by little, as you learn to turn your attention elsewhere when missteps occur, you’ll train your brain to move on. This is how mistakes lose their power over you and enable you to pursue your goal with confidence.

Persistence is a state of mind. In the end, it means being kind to yourself. Know when to give yourself a break and pat on the back as you recharge your batteries. Then, you’ll find yourself able to maneuver whatever twists and turns life throws your way.

How do you remain determined in reaching your goals when it seems like the day won’t come? Let us know your advice and tips for your fellow entrepreneurs below!

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Success Advice

Dress for Success: 4 Small Fashion Choices That Make All the Difference

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When it comes to succeeding in business, making a good impression is just as much about your inner qualities as it is about your outer presentation. The fact of the matter is that your clothing and color choices, affect others’ perception of you. Believe it or not, you can achieve fashion-inspired success without splurging on a pair of Louboutins or shelling out $1000 for a designer suit. Just a few striking accessories can often complete the picture.

It may sound ridiculous that small accessories can affect the vibe you give off. It’s true, and certain accessories can even send certain messages. A recent study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire found that well-dressed male figures (whose faces were not shown) were perceived to be more confident, trustworthy, and well-to-do. Even minor adjustments to their clothing, such as adding on an accessory or more closely tailoring the suit, impacted these impressions.

However, our clothes not only impact the way others perceive us, but the way we perceive ourselves. A study conducted by the Scientific American, found that those who “suit up” performed better in cognitive tests. It suggests that being well-dressed releases more testosterone, which in turn increases confidence.

This allows well-dressed professionals to negotiate better deals, and in the long run, potentially make more money. So, maybe you’ve got the clothes, but what are the finishing touches you can put on your outfit to send an even stronger message? See below!

1. Wear a watch

A beautiful watch makes all the difference – and this goes for men and women. Even a simple button-down and jeans, or plain-colored dress, can be exponentially stylized by a standout watch. Charismatic individuals tend to talk more with their hands, too, as this captivates their listeners. Wearing a flashy wrist accessory like a watch will make your points even more engrossing. Furthermore, wearing a watch sends a subconscious message: you’re always on time. Individuals who wear a watch can always keep track of time and therefore, will never be late to a meeting.

“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression – There are hints about who you are in what you wear.” – Marc Jacobs

2. Tie it off with a tie pin

The one criticism of men’s business fashion is that it lacks variety. Let’s face it, while women have an infinite number of patterns, dress lengths, colors, and sleeve styles to choose from, men are pretty much locked into one outfit: the suit. You can buy one in suede, another in navy blue, throw in a paisley tie, but it’s simply not enough.

Adding on a tie pin will make a significant difference. Not only does it add a little shimmer to an otherwise dull suit, but it adds personality too. The kind of tie pin you choose says a lot about you. Maybe you’re a simple guy who just likes sterling silver, or you may choose to tout your school pride by wearing the colors of your alma mater (which, by the way, can also make a great conversation starter).

You can also create custom tie pins that feature the name of your company, or perhaps a saying that you’re fond of. The options are limitless.

3. A quality briefcase

It doesn’t even matter if you have nothing to carry around, the key is to never show up empty-handed. A quality leather briefcase is an important asset for men and women. Backpacks and most handbags don’t signify professionalism. A briefcase, on the other hand, symbolizes professionalism and importance. After all, what else would you carry in a briefcase except for a load of important documents and files, right?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if all you have in your briefcase is a Kit-Kat Bar. All that matters is that it’s by your side and contains the essentials – a beautiful silver pen (perhaps with your name engraved), a notepad or iPad, and business cards that can be pulled out in a flash without having to rummage through your pockets.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

4. Nice sunglasses

It’s a sunny day and you’ve got a working lunch across town. Rather than squinting your way from Point A to Point B, top off your look with a pair of stylish sunglasses. Not only do these send a more casual vibe when tucked in your pocket, but the right sunglasses can give you a sleek aesthetic (think 007, but with business lunches). Wayfarers a la Audrey Hepburn and aviators a la Tom Cruise are the go-to choices for business professional sunglasses. You can’t go wrong with either of these styles.

The bottom line is that you choose how you wish to be viewed. The lesson here is much akin to the old adage: “don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” And if you have the job you want, don’t send your fashion choices to the sidelines. Not only can clothes/accessories indicate our knowledge and experience, but also our authority.

How has a nice outfit helped you in your professional career? Comment below!

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How Creativity Leads to a More Successful Life

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Human beings are curious, inquisitive and creative. We have a deep desire to make meaning of our world and each other by creating. Each culture brings new ideas and meaning to gain a sense of belonging and purpose. Success comes from understanding your contribution to the world and the spark of this contribution comes from a creative place. Understanding the power that comes from creativity can help to elevate you in many ways.

Mary Lou Cook said, “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” Having fun is part of the human experiment that not only provides a sense of purpose, but builds our humanity and scales our ability to succeed. Too many of us don’t allow ourselves a creative outlet or space because we don’t see the value in it if it doesn’t lead to a specific outcome.

Creativity is ever more important in today’s connection economy, because it is the outcome. As the world continues to race toward innovation, faster, cheaper, and quicker, are what distinguishes us from the crowd in terms of individual creative contribution. The more we share and create, the more we find out how valuable this concept is. Creativity cannot be outsourced, it must be cultivated, challenged, and inspired by human curiosity.

Below are 4 ways in which creativity leads to a more successful life:

1. Creativity Creates Deeper Connection to Work

Creativity is the act of experimenting and learning about what works and what may not. When we see creativity as a part of our work and not something left to a small artistic elite then we can create a deeper connection to the work we are meant to do in the world. If we see work as a part of our bigger purpose then our success will increase when we spend time being creative.

The more your creative footprint can be seen, understood, and felt, the more impact you will have. If you see an opportunity to think outside of the box in a particular situation because you see the world differently than your peers, then you have the edge to provide value that no one else can. And, guess what? Each one of us sees the world differently as part of our own uniqueness.

You already possess that special edge even if you were unsure of it before now. If you constantly avoid sharing your creative thoughts you are resisting your inner talents and hiding from the possibilities that lie within the power of your creativity.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

2. Incorporate More Creativity into Your Life

One of the ways you can grow in your ability to bring creativity in your life is to spend time having a “What if” mentality. Spending quality time wondering, dreaming and not stressed about the consequences of being wrong can be freeing.

If what we created wasn’t judged or had no real consequence beyond an act of wonder, we might dream up new solutions to old problems. Elon Musk allowed this “What if” mentality wondering what if he created a company that would make commercial space flight possible? His company is built not around what is, but what might be.

By bringing this sense of wonder and playfulness into our work, life and contribution, we can let go of some of the self-imposed limits we have placed on our own success. If we treat our work and life a bit more like play, we will see a growth in our ability to perform and contribute even more to the already exciting and wonderful world we live in.

3. Opportunity for New Thinking

Sometimes when we are working on a project, either in a team or solo, we might find that we are hitting a wall with a project or in finding a solution to a problem. Instead of looking for the answer, sometimes we need to allow our creative brain to play and search for answers that might be hidden.

By hidden, I mean not yet created. Take some time to remove yourself from the work at hand and just wonder. Consider ways that might seem impossible to do but might spark new ideas. New learning can come from adding two crazy ideas together or taking an old idea and making a wild new way of thinking about it.

For example, posing a question and just wondering about a solution might spark a solution that was not seen. How might we improve the passenger boarding process at the airport so that we can foresee new ideas that were not there before.

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

4. Create New Learning Pathways and Increase Brain Activity

When we are creative, we start to open our minds to new thinking. We begin to see new thinking and opportunities that we didn’t notice before. We also silence our amygdala or our lizard brain that is often in fight or flight mode to protect us.

When we are in a state of creative flow we silence the need to protect ourselves and find more peace and openness to new ideas and success. Try drawing on paper using colors, images and textures to visually create and noodle over ideas.

By using colors and a variety of mixed media aside from computers, smartphones and other electronics, you will invite a playful, often semi-dormant, part of your subconscious mind to work in upping your creativity game. The subtle connections and associations that occur in our brains when we use visualization can lead us to embark on new discoveries and success.

How has using your own creativity helped you succeed? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

Challenge Your Comfort Zone: 4 Behaviors to Master Effortless Execution

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Comfort zones are strange psychological oddities. They exist, but they are hard to pin down. Here is a comfort zone summary: In each of us there exists a psychological boundary. As long as we behave within the confines of that boundary, in other words, inside the zone, we feel by definition, comfortable. When we venture outside of the boundary, we feel uncomfortable.

Think about waking up and brushing your teeth. Are you challenged? That behavior has become so ingrained into your personal morning routine that you probably don’t even think about it or remember doing it.

Now, think about having to give a 30-minute presentation to the board of directors of your company. Are you palms starting to sweat yet? In the former example, we are well within our comfort zone while in the latter, well on the outside of it. The question before us is how do we expand our comfort zone so that a behavior like speaking in front of the board of directors is just as easy as brushing our teeth?

I have been training and coaching on comfort zone expansion for many years, and I’ve come up with 4 behaviors that will get you outside of your comfort zone so that you too can experience the joys associated with continued success.

Before I give you the behaviors, let me cover a few axioms that should sell you on the idea as to why you want to get your comfort zone to expand. (Keep in mind the expansion (or contraction) of your comfort zone is totally up to you. It is a decision that you need to make and that you need to follow through on. No one can do it for you!)

Axioms:

  • Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do! Face it, the reason people become successful is because of achievement! They have a bias toward action.
  • Successful people are people who reside at the edge of their comfort zone. These are the people that volunteer to take on that tough client, head up that tough project, chair that committee that no one else wants to. Don’t get me wrong, they are nervous and doubtful of their abilities and are afraid, but they do it anyway. Why? Because they are hardwired for success.
  • Successful people are people who begin to feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable. These are people who are consistently on the edge of their comfort zone, thus they got use to it. Now, taking on the tough assignment is second nature to them.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy

So, as you can see, success and stepping outside of the boundaries in which you feel safe and secure are really the same thing. Success comes to those who say they have the courage to try something new; something different.

How do you develop a bias toward action and stepping outside of your comfort zone? Try these 4 behaviors:

1. Do the same thing you have always done, only do it different

Take a different route to work. Try a different place for lunch (or at least something different on the menu). Use a different treadmill at the gym. Take a different route on your evening run. Get the idea? Take a different spin on the same old – same old.

2. Do the same thing you have always done, just do more of it

So, you wake up at 5:30 and run a mile? Good for you. Try waking up at 5:15 and run a mile and half. Is that too much of a change? No problem. Take 2 weeks to just wake up at 5:15. Spend a few extra minutes getting use to that time. Then start your mile and a half run after the 2 weeks of getting up 15 minutes early.

3. Stretch yourself; challenge yourself

But don’t venture so far outside of your comfort zone that you lose hope and get demotivated. If you have never exercised before, don’t expect to spend 3 hours at the gym your first day. (I love working out, but if I ever had to spend 3 hours at the gym, even after all these years, I would probably join the kingdom of coach potato!) Go slow, but go steady. No one says that you need to go a mile outside of your zone. Try venturing out an inch, then another inch, then a foot, and so on.

“There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.”

4. Celebrate your victories

Congratulate yourself on your little successes. There is nothing so demotivating as to tell yourself that you will celebrate after victory, but never have a solid definition of success to gauge your celebration against.

If you begin to practice these behaviors and do so on a daily basis, you will begin to become aware of the fact that you are living on the edge of your comfort zone. You are trying new things that frighten you but are relishing in the exhilaration of those exciting new behaviors.

Richard Branson said that if our goals don’t scare us, they aren’t big enough. The way you determine bigger goals is to step outside of that land that is safe and secure and venture out into the wilderness of that frightening land of discomfort. Soon, you will claim that land as your own and it will be comfortable.

You may ask, what should I do then? That is, when I have attained comfort in doing what I felt uncomfortable doing in the past? The answer is simple: Keep going!

What is a big goal you have for yourself which you want to accomplish by the end of the year? Let us know in the comments so we can all encourage each other!

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Success Advice

3 Life Lessons in Perseverance to Achieve Your Wildest Dreams

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I have two careers as an actor and a marketer with each having its own unique challenges. However, the number of parallels I continue to find in my chosen professions never ceases to amaze me. Of these lessons, perhaps one of the most valuable is that of persistence, and the mental resilience I’ve had to learn. You can’t be an actor without resilience as I experience rejection dozens of times per week. (more…)

Kristen McCabe is a marketer at G2 Crowd who calls both Chicago and Australia home. Her background includes marketing, events, and public relations across various industries including film, publishing, professional associations, and tech. Also an actor, Kristen loves applying the craft of acting to the profession of marketing to create marketing strategies with authenticity and heart. Find Kristen on Twitter:  @AusmericanGirl

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Stuart

    Dec 21, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Great article, as always! These are also in front of me at the right time so thanks. I had my breakthrough 9 Aug 2016. I was at a free life coaching seminar in London and we were asked who would like their future predicted with 95% accuracy? We were then told just to look at the last 5 years of our lives and my blood ran cold. I had gone from a high earning city manager in 2011 that was made redundant, to taking any work I could find took short term contract roles… the fifth role I found myself earning less than half of what I had done previously and working with quite possibly the most negative people I had come across. To numb the pain of going to work in a place that depressed me I started upping my alcohol intake to almost every day. Family had written me off, was already divorced only stable thing in my life was and still is my daughter. After the coaching seminar I walked out of the job have started a life coaching business as I want to share the coaching I have had since 9th August with everyone. I have made more progress in the last 4 months than I had done in the last 4 years!! Feel more alive than I ever have done. My ‘why’ is to help others see this way of living, thinking and being. So many doors are opening for me, life has become amazing again. Currently paying my bills with credit cards but this is only temporary 2017 is shaping up to be the best year of my life!! Thanks for articles and have a great Xmas and NYE. If I was honest I can’t wait for the holidays to be over… they are getting in the way of my plan haha.

  2. Brian

    Aug 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Great article! Best one yet! Something about your writing style keeps me reading and reading, even if I am familiar with some of the content. Good work Tim

  3. Silvia Turonova

    Jul 16, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Again, great article Tim. I know exactly what you are talking about because I am going through this “struggle” right now. I am trying to put myself in a state where I feel that enough is ENOUGH! But for some reason, I can’t get there, and it limits my personal resources, and my productivity is not as high as it used to be. Anyway, I will follow steps which you’ve described. I had few of my breakthroughs in life, and I know it must come now if I want to make me the difference and turn things around. Thank you for sharing this. It really helped.

  4. Chris Targett

    Jul 9, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Hey Tim, I’ve read a few of your article’s today, trying to get me back on track after a lack of motivation, have to say this is my favourite one. The pick out quote that resonates with me is:

    “Everything you need in your life already exists”

    We have the tools for us to successful, we just need to put them into practice. I am waiting for something to happen instead of going out there with what I’ve already got and attacking life!

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 9, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Thanks Chris for raking the time to read through a few of the posts. My advice to you would be to start taking action and forget about waiting for things to happen. Let me know how things progress for you.

  5. Toño

    Jul 1, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Wow, Tim, you’re on fire, my man! Article after article for the full week, that’s a hard mode 🙂 I cannot even catch up with your speed right now, having the toughest week at my job, lots of stress and tiredness. So my apology for the lack of comments.

    I started to read your work and just could not stop. Printed the whole thing, while being at work, and have read it carefully. Feel like I am at my lowest point, hitting the one pretty hard, at least I can tell that about my job. For the whole week I was doing lots of things and no time for proper rest, and all of this, I felt, was for pretty much nothing. Well, it was like this till I read about breaktrhough. It is really strange but I just know I need this huge frustration and stress in my life to get out, to change it and to find my why. I need new standards and I need new habbits. And I extremely need new environment.

    I am close to leave my job, closests than I ever been, but still have to be there at least for a couple of months. I know bad days won’t last forever, as well as those good ones, so I just to keep going. Like James Baraz said: ‘…enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t)’

    Got it from one of the latest meditation session with calm, I like it and very agree.

    Thank you so much for this inspiration, Tim, and once again sorry for chaotic rambling. Keep on going as well, keep making your dreams come true and helping others! Much love and peace!~

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 2, 2016 at 1:46 am

      Toño sorry to hear that things at your job are not going so well. It’s obvious you will need to find something else. Try and find a career that you love with people who inspire you rather than bring you down. Frustration and stress exist for everyone including me. The more you practice meditation the more your moods will change.

      I have cranked up my meditation to twice a day now and it’s made a big difference. The tougher the times get the more you have to put into each day my friends. Keep your head up, things will get better for you!

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Success Advice

3 Life Lessons in Perseverance to Achieve Your Wildest Dreams

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I have two careers as an actor and a marketer with each having its own unique challenges. However, the number of parallels I continue to find in my chosen professions never ceases to amaze me. Of these lessons, perhaps one of the most valuable is that of persistence, and the mental resilience I’ve had to learn. You can’t be an actor without resilience as I experience rejection dozens of times per week.

Acting is a lesson in endurance, not a sprint. When you think about it though, doesn’t that apply to any career? It’s not easy to “Keep on keeping on.” No matter what path life has led you down, I’m sure you’ve experienced plenty of bumps. Sometimes, those bumps turn into potholes that the universe seems to refuse to fix.

As an actor, rejection is par for the course. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to persevere in spite of it. When life gets especially challenging, and you are dealing with change, disappointment or missteps, make use of these life lessons and continue pressing on towards your goal.

Below are 3 lessons in perseverance which will help you achieve your wildest dreams:

1. Know when it’s time to recalibrate

Goals are an important and necessary tool to reach our full potential. They keep us focused to help make small decisions on a daily basis such as if I should get up for that 8 a.m. run along with bigger decisions such as if I should take a new job offer. While setting goals is essential, don’t let them overpower you.

Tunnel vision in reaching your goals adds unnecessary pressure. This causes us to make mistakes we wouldn’t have made otherwise. Get too obsessed with a goal and you’ll forget the big picture, such as why you chose this course to begin with. Take a lesson from one of my favorite casting directors, Dave Newman of McSweeney Newman Casting.

Forget trying to “make it big” as an actor. It is normal to wait years before booking work with a decent paycheck. If you’re in the room with Dave, it’s hard not to let the pressure take over your performance.

In the words of Dave, as soon as those words from A Chorus Line enter your head, “God, I hope I get it!” it’s time to adjust your mindset. Dave advises taking a step back, refocusing, and doing anything that isn’t acting. Sometimes the best way to reach a goal is by shifting your gaze just for a moment. Take the pressure off and recalibrate your thoughts. You’ll come back recharged with a fresh perspective to pursue your objectives.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

2. Appreciate the journey

Perseverance requires a heaping dose of appreciation. This means acknowledging all the wins in your life, both big and small. Even if you haven’t yet met your goal, remember that you are moving towards it and that alone is an achievement.

As Linda Gillum, Casting Director at Chicago theatre Remy Bumppo explains, “With everything you do, you’re planting seeds.” It takes time for the seeds of success to grow. As an actor, my seeds take a lot of sunshine, water, and gratitude for the little things. A win can be as simple as improving my technique or getting an audition; I can’t base my happiness on booked jobs.

Persistence becomes much easier when you notice your achievements despite those potholes surrounding you. Celebrate the small wins; they’re what milestones are built on. Even if your manager or co-workers don’t recognize your work, give yourself that pat on the back.

To stay motivated, make a mental highlight reel of your achievements. Afterwards, be ready to hit the play button whenever you need a quick pick-me-up.

3. Embrace mistakes or at least be okay with them

No matter how much you hate mistakes, they’ll keep happening. Some people seem to move on from mistakes quickly, letting them roll off their backs. For others, that’s not the case (If you’re fighting to be perfect or gain confidence I’m talking to you!). The fear to avoid mistakes can be crippling.

This is also true in acting, where you work and wait years for a five-minute audition that could change everything. However, my best work won’t come unless I live in the moment and trust my instincts. And you know what that means, things can go wrong in an instant. But guess what? I still have to dive in, and I mean all in. If I don’t risk it all, my audition will suck, and I’ll lose before I even walk through the door.

We all recognize that positives, including life lessons, come from mistakes. However, that doesn’t stop the nosedive mistakes caused on emotions and confidence. Sometimes, we do everything in our power to avoid that feeling.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Remember that there’s truth in the statement, “The biggest mistake is not making mistakes.” One way to get over your fear of failure is to make your focus on continuous improvement, not perfection. Teaching yourself to be okay with mistakes takes time but is necessary to maintain resilience.

You can allow yourself a learning curve, but it is essential to work on letting go of missteps. It takes practice to let go of the could have or would have statements. The good news is practice and persistence go hand-in-hand.

Take stock of what makes you happy in life, and turn to those things when mistakes happen. Little by little, as you learn to turn your attention elsewhere when missteps occur, you’ll train your brain to move on. This is how mistakes lose their power over you and enable you to pursue your goal with confidence.

Persistence is a state of mind. In the end, it means being kind to yourself. Know when to give yourself a break and pat on the back as you recharge your batteries. Then, you’ll find yourself able to maneuver whatever twists and turns life throws your way.

How do you remain determined in reaching your goals when it seems like the day won’t come? Let us know your advice and tips for your fellow entrepreneurs below!

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Dress for Success: 4 Small Fashion Choices That Make All the Difference

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When it comes to succeeding in business, making a good impression is just as much about your inner qualities as it is about your outer presentation. The fact of the matter is that your clothing and color choices, affect others’ perception of you. Believe it or not, you can achieve fashion-inspired success without splurging on a pair of Louboutins or shelling out $1000 for a designer suit. Just a few striking accessories can often complete the picture.

It may sound ridiculous that small accessories can affect the vibe you give off. It’s true, and certain accessories can even send certain messages. A recent study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire found that well-dressed male figures (whose faces were not shown) were perceived to be more confident, trustworthy, and well-to-do. Even minor adjustments to their clothing, such as adding on an accessory or more closely tailoring the suit, impacted these impressions.

However, our clothes not only impact the way others perceive us, but the way we perceive ourselves. A study conducted by the Scientific American, found that those who “suit up” performed better in cognitive tests. It suggests that being well-dressed releases more testosterone, which in turn increases confidence.

This allows well-dressed professionals to negotiate better deals, and in the long run, potentially make more money. So, maybe you’ve got the clothes, but what are the finishing touches you can put on your outfit to send an even stronger message? See below!

1. Wear a watch

A beautiful watch makes all the difference – and this goes for men and women. Even a simple button-down and jeans, or plain-colored dress, can be exponentially stylized by a standout watch. Charismatic individuals tend to talk more with their hands, too, as this captivates their listeners. Wearing a flashy wrist accessory like a watch will make your points even more engrossing. Furthermore, wearing a watch sends a subconscious message: you’re always on time. Individuals who wear a watch can always keep track of time and therefore, will never be late to a meeting.

“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression – There are hints about who you are in what you wear.” – Marc Jacobs

2. Tie it off with a tie pin

The one criticism of men’s business fashion is that it lacks variety. Let’s face it, while women have an infinite number of patterns, dress lengths, colors, and sleeve styles to choose from, men are pretty much locked into one outfit: the suit. You can buy one in suede, another in navy blue, throw in a paisley tie, but it’s simply not enough.

Adding on a tie pin will make a significant difference. Not only does it add a little shimmer to an otherwise dull suit, but it adds personality too. The kind of tie pin you choose says a lot about you. Maybe you’re a simple guy who just likes sterling silver, or you may choose to tout your school pride by wearing the colors of your alma mater (which, by the way, can also make a great conversation starter).

You can also create custom tie pins that feature the name of your company, or perhaps a saying that you’re fond of. The options are limitless.

3. A quality briefcase

It doesn’t even matter if you have nothing to carry around, the key is to never show up empty-handed. A quality leather briefcase is an important asset for men and women. Backpacks and most handbags don’t signify professionalism. A briefcase, on the other hand, symbolizes professionalism and importance. After all, what else would you carry in a briefcase except for a load of important documents and files, right?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if all you have in your briefcase is a Kit-Kat Bar. All that matters is that it’s by your side and contains the essentials – a beautiful silver pen (perhaps with your name engraved), a notepad or iPad, and business cards that can be pulled out in a flash without having to rummage through your pockets.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

4. Nice sunglasses

It’s a sunny day and you’ve got a working lunch across town. Rather than squinting your way from Point A to Point B, top off your look with a pair of stylish sunglasses. Not only do these send a more casual vibe when tucked in your pocket, but the right sunglasses can give you a sleek aesthetic (think 007, but with business lunches). Wayfarers a la Audrey Hepburn and aviators a la Tom Cruise are the go-to choices for business professional sunglasses. You can’t go wrong with either of these styles.

The bottom line is that you choose how you wish to be viewed. The lesson here is much akin to the old adage: “don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” And if you have the job you want, don’t send your fashion choices to the sidelines. Not only can clothes/accessories indicate our knowledge and experience, but also our authority.

How has a nice outfit helped you in your professional career? Comment below!

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How Creativity Leads to a More Successful Life

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Human beings are curious, inquisitive and creative. We have a deep desire to make meaning of our world and each other by creating. Each culture brings new ideas and meaning to gain a sense of belonging and purpose. Success comes from understanding your contribution to the world and the spark of this contribution comes from a creative place. Understanding the power that comes from creativity can help to elevate you in many ways.

Mary Lou Cook said, “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” Having fun is part of the human experiment that not only provides a sense of purpose, but builds our humanity and scales our ability to succeed. Too many of us don’t allow ourselves a creative outlet or space because we don’t see the value in it if it doesn’t lead to a specific outcome.

Creativity is ever more important in today’s connection economy, because it is the outcome. As the world continues to race toward innovation, faster, cheaper, and quicker, are what distinguishes us from the crowd in terms of individual creative contribution. The more we share and create, the more we find out how valuable this concept is. Creativity cannot be outsourced, it must be cultivated, challenged, and inspired by human curiosity.

Below are 4 ways in which creativity leads to a more successful life:

1. Creativity Creates Deeper Connection to Work

Creativity is the act of experimenting and learning about what works and what may not. When we see creativity as a part of our work and not something left to a small artistic elite then we can create a deeper connection to the work we are meant to do in the world. If we see work as a part of our bigger purpose then our success will increase when we spend time being creative.

The more your creative footprint can be seen, understood, and felt, the more impact you will have. If you see an opportunity to think outside of the box in a particular situation because you see the world differently than your peers, then you have the edge to provide value that no one else can. And, guess what? Each one of us sees the world differently as part of our own uniqueness.

You already possess that special edge even if you were unsure of it before now. If you constantly avoid sharing your creative thoughts you are resisting your inner talents and hiding from the possibilities that lie within the power of your creativity.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

2. Incorporate More Creativity into Your Life

One of the ways you can grow in your ability to bring creativity in your life is to spend time having a “What if” mentality. Spending quality time wondering, dreaming and not stressed about the consequences of being wrong can be freeing.

If what we created wasn’t judged or had no real consequence beyond an act of wonder, we might dream up new solutions to old problems. Elon Musk allowed this “What if” mentality wondering what if he created a company that would make commercial space flight possible? His company is built not around what is, but what might be.

By bringing this sense of wonder and playfulness into our work, life and contribution, we can let go of some of the self-imposed limits we have placed on our own success. If we treat our work and life a bit more like play, we will see a growth in our ability to perform and contribute even more to the already exciting and wonderful world we live in.

3. Opportunity for New Thinking

Sometimes when we are working on a project, either in a team or solo, we might find that we are hitting a wall with a project or in finding a solution to a problem. Instead of looking for the answer, sometimes we need to allow our creative brain to play and search for answers that might be hidden.

By hidden, I mean not yet created. Take some time to remove yourself from the work at hand and just wonder. Consider ways that might seem impossible to do but might spark new ideas. New learning can come from adding two crazy ideas together or taking an old idea and making a wild new way of thinking about it.

For example, posing a question and just wondering about a solution might spark a solution that was not seen. How might we improve the passenger boarding process at the airport so that we can foresee new ideas that were not there before.

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

4. Create New Learning Pathways and Increase Brain Activity

When we are creative, we start to open our minds to new thinking. We begin to see new thinking and opportunities that we didn’t notice before. We also silence our amygdala or our lizard brain that is often in fight or flight mode to protect us.

When we are in a state of creative flow we silence the need to protect ourselves and find more peace and openness to new ideas and success. Try drawing on paper using colors, images and textures to visually create and noodle over ideas.

By using colors and a variety of mixed media aside from computers, smartphones and other electronics, you will invite a playful, often semi-dormant, part of your subconscious mind to work in upping your creativity game. The subtle connections and associations that occur in our brains when we use visualization can lead us to embark on new discoveries and success.

How has using your own creativity helped you succeed? Let us know in the comments below!

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Challenge Your Comfort Zone: 4 Behaviors to Master Effortless Execution

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Comfort zones are strange psychological oddities. They exist, but they are hard to pin down. Here is a comfort zone summary: In each of us there exists a psychological boundary. As long as we behave within the confines of that boundary, in other words, inside the zone, we feel by definition, comfortable. When we venture outside of the boundary, we feel uncomfortable.

Think about waking up and brushing your teeth. Are you challenged? That behavior has become so ingrained into your personal morning routine that you probably don’t even think about it or remember doing it.

Now, think about having to give a 30-minute presentation to the board of directors of your company. Are you palms starting to sweat yet? In the former example, we are well within our comfort zone while in the latter, well on the outside of it. The question before us is how do we expand our comfort zone so that a behavior like speaking in front of the board of directors is just as easy as brushing our teeth?

I have been training and coaching on comfort zone expansion for many years, and I’ve come up with 4 behaviors that will get you outside of your comfort zone so that you too can experience the joys associated with continued success.

Before I give you the behaviors, let me cover a few axioms that should sell you on the idea as to why you want to get your comfort zone to expand. (Keep in mind the expansion (or contraction) of your comfort zone is totally up to you. It is a decision that you need to make and that you need to follow through on. No one can do it for you!)

Axioms:

  • Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do! Face it, the reason people become successful is because of achievement! They have a bias toward action.
  • Successful people are people who reside at the edge of their comfort zone. These are the people that volunteer to take on that tough client, head up that tough project, chair that committee that no one else wants to. Don’t get me wrong, they are nervous and doubtful of their abilities and are afraid, but they do it anyway. Why? Because they are hardwired for success.
  • Successful people are people who begin to feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable. These are people who are consistently on the edge of their comfort zone, thus they got use to it. Now, taking on the tough assignment is second nature to them.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy

So, as you can see, success and stepping outside of the boundaries in which you feel safe and secure are really the same thing. Success comes to those who say they have the courage to try something new; something different.

How do you develop a bias toward action and stepping outside of your comfort zone? Try these 4 behaviors:

1. Do the same thing you have always done, only do it different

Take a different route to work. Try a different place for lunch (or at least something different on the menu). Use a different treadmill at the gym. Take a different route on your evening run. Get the idea? Take a different spin on the same old – same old.

2. Do the same thing you have always done, just do more of it

So, you wake up at 5:30 and run a mile? Good for you. Try waking up at 5:15 and run a mile and half. Is that too much of a change? No problem. Take 2 weeks to just wake up at 5:15. Spend a few extra minutes getting use to that time. Then start your mile and a half run after the 2 weeks of getting up 15 minutes early.

3. Stretch yourself; challenge yourself

But don’t venture so far outside of your comfort zone that you lose hope and get demotivated. If you have never exercised before, don’t expect to spend 3 hours at the gym your first day. (I love working out, but if I ever had to spend 3 hours at the gym, even after all these years, I would probably join the kingdom of coach potato!) Go slow, but go steady. No one says that you need to go a mile outside of your zone. Try venturing out an inch, then another inch, then a foot, and so on.

“There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.”

4. Celebrate your victories

Congratulate yourself on your little successes. There is nothing so demotivating as to tell yourself that you will celebrate after victory, but never have a solid definition of success to gauge your celebration against.

If you begin to practice these behaviors and do so on a daily basis, you will begin to become aware of the fact that you are living on the edge of your comfort zone. You are trying new things that frighten you but are relishing in the exhilaration of those exciting new behaviors.

Richard Branson said that if our goals don’t scare us, they aren’t big enough. The way you determine bigger goals is to step outside of that land that is safe and secure and venture out into the wilderness of that frightening land of discomfort. Soon, you will claim that land as your own and it will be comfortable.

You may ask, what should I do then? That is, when I have attained comfort in doing what I felt uncomfortable doing in the past? The answer is simple: Keep going!

What is a big goal you have for yourself which you want to accomplish by the end of the year? Let us know in the comments so we can all encourage each other!

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