What causes butterflies, knots, avoidance, self-consciousness, and fear? These are the feelings you may get when escaping the trap of your comfort zone. So why does leaving the safety of your comfort zone, at its core, hurt so much? Humiliation.

Next to the natural fears of falling and loud noise, the fear of humiliation is a confidence-killer. Psychologically speaking, your comfort zone (Part I) is a simulated mental boundary designed to maintain a sense of security (comfort), staying out of great discomfort (pain).

The method? Avoiding any semblance of discomfort (pain). We’ve got our built-in power within us: influence. Women see the world differently than men. When you understand this, and know how to recognize it, then use it, you’ve got the influence to make a (comfort zone) power leap.

A Girl’s Gotta Expand . . . Beyond Her Comfort Zone The definition of today’s woman is influence, a skill that that spotlights her strengths instead of her perceived weaknesses. You were born with mental prowess, a strong and pliable identity, keen emotional insight and relational tools different from men. Capitalize on them. Let them work for you.

Power women follow these 7 practices when saying goodbye to their safety nest:

1. Become the influencer. Know who’s going to be the influencer. An influencer is someone who affects the actions of others. If you aren’t sure it’s you – become sure. Recognize when you are being influenced — you’re kept waiting, you hear ‘honey’ one too many times, continuous talking –by someone else, and attempts to instill a sense of urgency. There are two reasons no woman should fear leaving their comfort zone. Firstly, because women are now the world’s most powerful consumers, trend-setters and forerunners. Secondly (and more importantly), women are now listening to their inner fluency coming into their own power – and this includes their power for change.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip: Make note of every time you influence and are influenced throughout the day – big or small – no matter. Write them down for one week. What do you notice? Any patterns? Any surprises? In all your actions send a non-verbal message of confidence—assume a power position. Influence is up for grabs. It’s in your best interest to grab it first.

2. Escape from your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is a mirror image of your self-image. If your self image has its roots in fear, then you live your life based on that fear. And you stay in your comfort zone, missing out on golden opportunities and true potential. This is because we’re designed for greater and greater good. Life is a never-ending upward evolution. So your security is never outside of you—it lives within you. What’s outside the comfort zone can be scary, after all, taking risks isn’t something we do every day. We’re surrounded by the unfamiliar.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip: Do something out of character. No, you don’t have to swim the English Channel. Stretch yourself. Because women desire stability and continuity, acting out of character is a challenge. Lessen fear by refusing to entertain your uneasiness. Not doing this creates drama, feeding the uneasiness with energy, paralyzing you. One way to do this is by repeating (even writing) an Influence It! Power affirmation. Try “I am superb in all situations.” Or write one that resonates for you. The USE it!

3. Become a “Know-It-All” Get curious. Information is your ammunition. Find out what it is you don’t know. When stuck in fear – you are closed up. You create division in your world and your mind. Barriers are formed. Curiosity is anticipation and enthusiasm. You open up. The world becomes fun.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip: List everything you know. Research your assumptions. What is involved? What is required from you? Then ask yourself this critical key question, “What is missing?”

Bonus Tip: The person who asks the questions is the one in control of the conversation. And you are not obliged to answer every question. When asked a question you don’t want to answer, respond with, “That’s interesting.” then move on to your next question.

4. Recognize your boundaries Solid boundaries (rules you live by) give you a clear sense of identity, allow you to communicate your needs to others, and protect you from harmful manipulation. Knowing your preferences creates balance by enhancing your ability to separate your thoughts and feelings from those of others. Undefined boundaries leave you vulnerable to making powerless decisions that do not support your best interests.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip: Do make note of what is comfortable, what matches your personality, and what makes you feel connected to your soul and inner being. List 4 situations that you find uneasy. Beside each situation write out what makes you uncomfortable, and rate your responses on a scale 1-4, 4 being really uneasy and 1 not so bad.

Next, look for patterns. What is common in all situations? Which situations rate higher than the others? Use this to discover underlying comfort zone patterns. Bonus Tip: Repeat to yourself, “If one of us has to be uncomfortable, that person doesn’t have to be me.”

5. Take action. Planned initiative is attractive. Doing your homework, using your strengths puts you in charge of your results. Your ability to stretch begins when you move in a new direction with a new focus. Once you make that move – you feel comfort again. You find comfort because you are consciously accepting the ‘new’ as familiar and safe. Then look for the next challenge - raising the bar again.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip: Choose one situation or way of being that causes discomfort. Visit this arena 3 times each week for the next three weeks. Approach the arena with confidence. Look around, kick a few tires, take a few notes, then leave. Key point—leave. You’ve done this before…plenty of times. Why don’t we practice this more when trying something new? Relax. You have no intention of staying - just yet.

6. Know what’s on the other side. Women are acknowledging their hunger for pushing beyond the restrictions set for them by society —and by themselves. Why? What’s waiting? New experiences, a deeper sense of you, abundance, solutions, growth, potential and that great adrenaline rush on your way to breakthrough! Self confidence grows. Resiliency increases. And you are challenged to improve yourself.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip: Will acting from a source of power serve your greatest good? List 5 non-monetary benefits of making a power leap from your comfort zone. Knowing how these benefits serve your future will compel you forward with assurance. If you need help—look at any unmet needs you have.

Bonus Tip: Read my special blog post: Surprise! Why New Year’s Resolutions Fizzle to get the low-down to the high-rewards of the benefit of the benefit.

7. Practice Inner Attention Your female intuition is the seed of your solution. Listen to it. Trust it. Your intuition is the deal breaker. If it doesn’t feel right or something doesn’t fit – head for the door.

Influence Expert Coaching Tip: Make a deal with yourself to commit to doing what’s best for you. Your first and only obligation is to yourself. Next time you’re about to put your blood, sweat and tears into escaping your comfort zone — take a second to review what your fellow power decision-makers do. Influence It! Say Goodbye to the Safety Nest!

I would love to hear about a time when you have stepped outside your comfort zone. What showed up for you? What steps are you taking into the unfamiliar?

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From regional manager to international executive with quadruple the pay, Karen Keller’s unique blueprint carefully outlined the step-by-step process for creating high-impact influence and let me know when I was being influenced in a way that didn’t serve me.
Lloyd Moore
Global Director Supplier Quality & Development - Lear Corporation – South Carolina