Slow down there, chief

A Conduit Coaching Classic
I don't like to get out of my comfort zone, which is about a half an inch wide.

 ~ Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld

Picture this.It's early in the year, the perfect time for fresh starts. On the 21st floor of a downtown office building, a group of high-powered executives fill a corporate meeting room. All are keen to strategize and move forward into an exciting and lucrative new opportunity.

With the aid of an external facilitator, they confidently articulate a vision of their success in five years. But when asked what actions they could take in the next 12 months to make their vision real....
queue the scary music.
Deer in headlights

The room goes silent.
They freeze.
Like deer in headlights.

From Fear to Fuel

Here's a group of successful business leaders with literally hundreds of years of experience amongst them, each stopped in their tracks by their internal shrieks of "what were we thinking?!" It's the most remarkable thing.

Fortunately, the facilitator has a trick up her sleeve to power them through the fear barrier.

CZ MagicYes, this really did happen, and yes, the facilitator was yours truly.

I've used this party trick for years to dispel the fears and anxieties that often crop up when we stretch beyond our comfort zones and take leadership.

Big Breaths

It's a simple twist on something we do several thousand times a day (breathing) that I learned from Rick Carson's gem of a book,"Taming Your Gremlin."

  • First, stand up. Yup. Really. Get out of your comfy chair and onto your feet.
  • You're up? Excellent. Now put one hand on your stomach and the other over your heart.
  • Ok. Next, inhale, breathing in to the count of five, eight or 10. Fill up your tummy with air; make it stick out.
  • Now, keeping your hands in place, exhale to the same count, flattening your tummy as you go.
  • Good. Now do it again, and again, for a total of three big breaths. For maximum benefit, really exaggerate your stomach's ups and downs.

Back on Track

Sitting back down, what's happening inside you? Notice anything? If you're like most of us, you feel calmer, grounded, focused and ready to move forward.

Such a simple little exercise, but it can help us connect to that wise and true part of ourselves, the part that knows what our next step should be -- and knows we can do it.

And those powerful guys who got all afraid and small? With the help of this remarkable tool, they became themselves again -- and were able to tap into their brilliance as they confronted the risks ahead.

Next Time

There's a mountain of research behind why this breathing thing works, making it a good habit to develop.

So next time you're venturing into new territory and need some magic to help, try it out! And let me know how it goes.

Planning to Build Confidence for your teams

Have a team with ambitious targets for 2013? You want to set them up for success and sense they're struggling with fear or maybe even overwhelm. Confidence next exit

We recently led the "Planning to Build Confidence" workshop to great acclaim for a sales team with stretch goals for 2013.

Using the best of cutting-edge research in Positive Psychology, this interactive and fun (!) workshop had participants create a plan to step outside their comfort zone, develop confidence, and implement their beliefs.

Early results are promising with previously reluctant individuals taking the plunge and getting great results.

Contact Mary Ellen to chat about how this could work for your team.

About the AuthorMEMary Ellen Sanajko is an internationally recognized workshop leader and Certified Professional Coach for individuals and teams. During her 23 years of experience, she's worked with small- to large-sized organizations, and teams of all shapes and sizes.

In that time, Mary Ellen and her colleagues at Conduit Coaching have developed quite a track record supporting leaders and their teams to stretch their comfort zones to get more of what they want.

How about you? Interested in defeating the inner dialogue that's holding you back?

Contact Mary Ellen to set up a free, 20-minute exploratory conversation. You might just end up turning barriers into bridges.