The Comfort Keeping You Safe and Stuck
Over the past month I’ve been getting back into the flow of in-person meetings and workshops, which is so energising. Amidst the activity, I’ve been hearing stories of feeling “stuck” with a general theme of the stress of integrating back into office life and people’s struggle to “anchor” and “re-orient” within the new normal. So, today I want to explore resistance – that which we experience whenever we apply conscious effort to adapt or change. Specifically, we’re focusing on the comfort zones we create and their relationship to our wellbeing, personal growth and survival.
Did you know your subconscious mind has something called a ‘homeostatic impulse’? It’s like an ‘autopilot’ operating 24/7 that regulates physiological functions like breathing, heartbeat, and body temperature. Motivational speaker and author, Brian Tracy, explains it well: “Through your autonomic nervous system, your homeostatic impulse maintains a balance among the hundreds of chemicals in your billions of cells so that your entire physical machine functions in complete harmony most of the time.”
Fascinating, really, that all of this happens automatically without us ever thinking about it. Even more interesting – just as the brain is engineered to regulate us at a physiological level, it also regulates us mentally. It is why the mind constantly filters and brings to attention information and stimuli that affirm our pre-existing beliefs. In psychology this is called confirmation bias; thoughts and impulses that mimic that which we’ve done in the past and in essence, help us feel more comfortable.
Your subconscious mind is a silent sentinel that guards your comfort zone and raises the alarm whenever anything threatens it.
Essentially, every time you make a choice that goes against what your subconscious deems safe or familiar, like gravity, the sentinel attempts to pull you back to your comfort zone by creating mental resistance. At some point you’ve probably experienced this as an instinctual aversion to risk or need to create certainty. Given we humans are biologically hardwired for survival, consider this: your sentinel doesn’t want you to evolve – it wants you to stay the same. Hence, even one’s quest for a ‘quick fix’ solution to a problem is a sign of the sentinel trying to re-establish comfort.
Here’s 3 things you can do to get “unstuck”
1. Identify the root of resistance – When the subconscious holds us back from pursuing what we desire, it is often because we have a conflicting belief about it. In the workplace, this resistance shows up everywhere and it’s extremely challenging for leaders, spanning teams who lack initiative to conservative boards of directors – people who convince themselves change will expose them even greater levels of risk. Hence, they play it safe, do nothing, and become obsolete. The crucial question is to ask why it feels better to defer or avoid and find ways to resolve those needs.
2. Give yourself permission to be shine – clients I work with who struggle with self-sabotage will often describe an internal dialogue of envy, self-doubt, and shame, a trinity of unresolved pain that derails positive intention and action, all while despising others success. It is an incredibly common and frustrating pattern – a cycle of behaviour that destroys confidence and keeps people in a permanent state of self-loathing. If you have a subconscious association between success being unfair or corrupt, and an inner critic that berates your efforts to grow, consider that until you resolve this negative dynamic it will remain an obstacle to your growth. As I wrote recently, unresolved shadow stops us from doing the work that gets us from where we are to where we want to be. The good news is the subconscious mind is also the domain where we can recalibrate ‘default programming’, and implement new thinking and habits that foster growth, healing and happiness. You are not your patterns.
3. Create a game plan for your life – I invite you to consider abandoning long-term plans and create a 1–3-year ‘manifestation board’ that includes timely, relevant, measurable goals, fuelled by big picture values and aspirations that keep you aligned and congruent with your essence as a human being aka your ‘true self’. Over the weekend, I spent time creating my own manifestation board, focusing my intention and aspirations and getting clear on what I want, which is ultimately to live powerfully, lead consciously, and create a legacy for future generations. If Covid has taught us anything it is that so muchcan change so quickly. So, be ready, and fully present.
Manifesting an abundant life is a very practical process grounded in ancient wisdom, focused intention, and real action. Your comfort zone is safe, but nothing ever grows there. True freedom starts with a willingness to see the unchangeable change and courage to explore what is possible. Imagine your success as a current state not a future destination. What do you want?
Until next time...