Comfort Zone, as I define it, consists of those people, places, situations, and skillsets where you feel comfortable and competent.
For my introverted clients who want to grow their solopreneur business, I advocate starting by strategizing from the people, places, situations, and skillsets that are inside their Comfort Zone.
If they can move their business forward and reach their goals by operating from the center of their Comfort Zone, then fine – no further tactics needed.
Sometimes they need to do what I call “dancing on the rim” of their Comfort Zone: one foot out, one foot in – where the challenge is high but they do have the skills and experience to meet the challenge – or can put themselves through a quick learning curve to meet the challenge.
Optimally, as an introvert, you’ll want to feel “mild excitement” and not “anxiety” when you take steps to move your business forward.
So, even when you stretch yourself by “dancing on the rim” of your Comfort Zone, you want to take comfortable “tortoise steps” in order to stay calm.
My own example of Dancing on the Rim…
My background is in adult teaching (writing and English as a Second Language). But for many years, I was in a full-time caregiving situation, and I also became an editor and ghostwriter. After a number of years, I started feeling the urge to teach again. I decided to start a business writing seminar business.
But it had been many years since I’d taught – or really done anything publicly! So having a solopreneur business that would require me to “get out there” and teach seemed too far outside my Comfort Zone.
Yet I knew I had the skills – I just needed to dust them off. So I strategized ways to “dance on the rim” of my Comfort Zone to get my teaching mojo back. What I needed specifically was to get used to being in front of people and thinking on my feet again.
Here’s the approach I followed (Note that each step triggered “mild excitement” but not paralyzing anxiety.):
I joined Toastmasters. I started by going as a guest, where I could observe. Then I joined and participated by writing and delivering speeches, following the workbook I was given.
The first assigned speech is about yourself, which is a fairly easy way to get started.
Like many introverts, I just can’t remember what I want to say (or even what the speech is about!) when I have adrenaline flowing and sensory data coming at me from all the lights, sounds, and people in the room, so I gave myself permission to always use notes.
The people were so supportive and kind! This became a safe place for me to try out my presentations for my business. So my Toastmasters Club went from being “on the rim” of my Comfort Zone (one foot out, one foot in) to being one of the things at the center of my Comfort Zone.
I took an Improv class. Improv classes are designed to help you feel safe while being your authentic, wackiest self and to help you think on your feet in the moment. “What happens in Improv class stays in Improv class…” I ended up taking three levels of Improv because I enjoyed our bonded group.
Both of those “dancing on the rim” strategies quickly gave me back my teaching mojo – and I met wonderful people I wouldn’t have met otherwise (and some of them have become cheerleaders and referral partners for me – and I happily reciprocate for them).
The key is to take “comfortable enough” steps… you want to feel “mild excitement” – not paralyzing anxiety.
Where do you want to be with your business, and how can you “dance on the rim” of your Comfort Zone to get there?
If you think you might need strategy coaching to help you figure out how to reach your goals from inside your Comfort Zone, let’s talk soon in a free connection call. Sign up for a chat and let’s get you going where you want to be. Click HERE to schedule an exploratory consult.