Our well-meaning parents, in an effort to teach us and keep us safe, told us no quite a bit as we advanced through childhood. Some of us, being naturally more mischievous, heard no many times a day as we explored our environment. (I busted my head open three times before I was five because I liked to climb.) Yes got thrown in occasionally for variety but the ratio of no to yes was pretty skewed toward a negative message. Ironically, our parents were narrowing our world view of safety and comfort all in an effort to ensure that we made it to adulthood in one piece so that we could then start to realize their dream that our world would be bigger and brighter than the opportunities that they were offered.
Fast forward to your adult, working life and the cumulative effect of all that naysaying is commonly a reluctance to venture from the familiar to the untried – that vast world outside of safe and comfortable. The conditioning to keep to a narrow, safe area now has unintended consequences.
Maybe I didn’t learn the right lessons from the experiences of busting my head open, although I did stop breaking my head open because the last one was a doozy; I’m advocating any method you want to use to reprogram the message of no, to give yourself permission to explore the area outside of the perceived safety zone. Because that sense of curiosity that you used to have is out here, because there is a lot of potential for you out here.
Yes, the world is a confusing, often impersonal, complex place with conflicting expectations – so you think of your own. Don’t know what the ethics are in a situation, or organization; where is your line for right versus wrong? Err on the side of conservative propriety and now you have brought something of the familiar into an experience outside your norm. But you have given yourself permission to step outside that narrow safe zone. You have told yourself yes.
I’ve written previously about permission as Seeking Permission and comfort zones as Snuggled in Our Comfort Zones. The sense of security that we derive from these zones is important, especially on a bad day when we can retreat to this safe space, put on old clothes that remind us of past good times and be surrounded by the objects and people that help us with a sense of well-being.
But staying within this narrow band of comfort turns that well-being into something else if we let it prevent us from reaching out to a desired goal. A goal that we can catch glimpses of as we run through the familiar treads of our routine. Giving yourself permission to step away from the safe zone, make an attempt at meeting that desire will preserve the well-being and give you the thrill of something new. Start with a little yes.
© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations