When a client is stuck in a rut, they may not know how to get themselves out. Sometimes it feels easier to stay stuck than to make big changes or face the patterns that are keeping them there. As a coach, it is your job to help your clients overcome these barriers, patterns and beliefs that keep them in the same cycles that aren’t serving them.
While there are many ways to help them through this, your tactic depends on the personality and needs of the client. What works for one person may not work for another. One thing that can get anyone moving in the right direction is taking action – any action! Small, manageable steps towards a goal can help a client overcome the overwhelm, anxiety and fear that can come with making big changes.
Small Steps Can Reap Big Rewards
The act of taking small actions and achieving small wins serves a number of purposes. For one, it builds confidence. Our brains have a natural tendency to protect us and keep us safe. What might seem as conscious analysis of a situation is actually just our instinctive defense mechanism to keep us safe from the unknown.
We’ve all heard our inner voice pointing out the millions of reasons why we shouldn’t do something:
- My family will be upset.
- I will look irresponsible.
- I won’t make enough money.
- I won’t be able to support myself.
- I can’t do this on my own.
The list can go on and on.
When you challenge this voice by taking a small, outside-your-comfort-zone action, you boost your confidence and build your tolerance for the new, challenging and different.
Small actions, rather than grand and dramatic upheavals, make it easy for anyone to get started. For those who are feeling a ton of fear, the idea of taking a tiny step forward is easier to swallow and much more likely to produce positive forward progress. With time, small steps become huge leaps toward a goal.
Understanding Your Goals and Fears
You’ve heard the saying “knowledge is power” and it certainly applies here. The more clarity you have around your goals and the greater your awareness of your limiting beliefs, the better shot you have at achieving what you want. Using this knowledge as a starting point is key to making small actions really work for you. So when a client finds themselves stuck in a rut or unable to make progress toward a goal, they must first be clear on what they want (the goal). Then, they must do a deep dive (with your help) into the reasons why they aren’t taking action. Is this truly a goal they want? Finally, they can begin to take small actions to achieve the big goal.
Until then, there are many ways people can take tiny actions to help them ease out of their comfort zones and begin getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. While some of these may seem silly, the point is that they encourage you to do something different than your norm.
Commit to trying a few of these this week and take note of changes in how you feel or think. You might be surprised at how a seemingly insignificant action can open up huge new possibilities. Be open to big possibilities!
15 Ways to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger.
- Wear something totally out of the ordinary for you.
- Give yourself a digital detox for a day.
- Perform a random act of kindness.
- Speak up in a meeting or in a group.
- Take a completely new route to work, the grocery store or the gym.
- Go out in the middle of the week.
- Stay in and practice self-care on a night you would normally go out.
- Try a cuisine you’ve never had before.
- Attend a lecture, workshop or class on a topic that is foreign to you.
- Dine on your own.
- Explore a new park, museum or cultural attraction in your city.
- Join a group or club where you don’t know anyone.
- Share your feelings with a friend or family member.
- Shake up your morning routine.
Encourage your clients (and yourself!) to get creative with these! Anything that challenges the norm will have the effect that we are going for. Remember, the rewards you seek often require some level of risk. Starting small by challenging oneself to step out of the comfort zone will help build those goal-achieving muscles!