Thrive not Survive


As I sit here with the task of writing a blog on stepping out of your comfort zone, I’m inspired by the words of Napoleon Hill who said “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Just writing and reading these words gives me that excited but slightly anxious feeling in my tummy. It makes me think about those dreams that I want to achieve in life, and the potential discomfort, disappointment and challenge that lies between me and those dreams.

How do the words of Napoleon Hill make you feel? Do they inspire you into action? Do they inspire you to step out of your comfort zone? I ask because everyone has a different idea of what they want to achieve or do in life – be it at work, or at home. And everyone has a different idea of how much they’re prepared to risk, or to what extent they’ll take themselves out of their comfort zone to achieve it.

As with most things in life, some will relish it more than others. But what’s certain, and proven is that we all have the capability to turn our comfort zone into our stretch or thrive zone, and we all have the answers of how within us, it’s just a question of discovering them. And whilst we might not always achieve what we first set out to achieve, we will always inevitably learn new things about ourselves in the process; as well as build more resilience, which can help us to cope with new challenges that we might face in everyday life.

If we explore the words of Napoleon Hill, the one that stands out to me the most is the word “believe”. There’s a difference between wanting something in life, and believing it’s possible. And the difference is likely to be the gap between trying to achieve something or not.

Let’s do an exercise together now. Think about something you want to achieve, or do. On a scale of 1 – 10, rate how much you want to achieve that something. Remember your number. Now think about that same “something” and rate on a scale of 1 – 10, how much you believe you can achieve it or do it. Which number was lower? I recently did this exercise, and my belief for what I was thinking about was lower than my want by one point. I imagine this is similar for many of you reading this now. In life, it’s often our limiting beliefs that hold us back from setting out to achieve the things we really want to.

The familiarity of the comfort zone keeps you safe but it’s almost certain that in this space you won’t be thriving or reaching your full potential. Many are quite happy to stay “comfortable”, preferring not to take risks for fear of failure (or success) and our limiting beliefs. The sad truth is that this in turn can have a knock-on effect where your self-esteem, confidence and belief diminish, resulting in the perception of failure.

I worked for Honda Motor Company for many years, and one of the philosophies that we were encouraged to live by came from a statement by the founder Soichiro Honda, that: “Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure”. Quite simply, success is 99% failure.

We’re not a failure because our goals fail to materialise the way we hoped for. It’s what we learn along the way through the failures we make that draw us closer to success each time.

So, take a moment now to reflect. Is there anything that you feel is holding you back from reaching your full potential? Ask yourself if there’s an area in your life where you’re feeling too comfortable. What fears or limiting beliefs are holding you back? Spend some time reframing these beliefs into positive new beliefs.

Make a commitment to yourself now, to do something in the next 24 hours to take you out of your comfort zone. It might be facing a challenging situation head on. It might be signing up to learn a new skill that you’ve long thought about. The more you take yourself out of your comfort zone, the more that you’ll become comfortable with the feeling of discomfort, and the more your self-esteem, confidence and belief in yourself will grow, and in turn you will thrive.

And to finish with a quote from another motoring genius Henry T. Ford: “Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you’re probably right.”

Belief triggers the power to do. So, go out there and do what you’re made to do!