What It Takes to Stick Your Neck Out

Don’t shy away from what you want, from opportunities, from challenges.

What holds us back holds the lure of keeping us in our comfort zone. The comfort zone is to us what the cave is to the cave man: safety. In the cave, the cave man is safe from the rough elements and predators. 

We, in the Western world, don’t have predators waiting outside the cave, waiting to sink their teeth in us or crush us with a swing of their clawed paw. We are social animals; the dangers we feel we need to protect us from are embarrassment, failure, rejection, social exposure. 

Keeping ourselves well away from any of these dangers means that we are often playing it safe and small. It means that we don’t venture beyond our comfort zone. It also means that we keep ourselves locked up in a symbolic cage that provides little sunlight, little novelty, little opportunity to grow and little opportunity to venture beyond what is known to us right now. 

Being outside the sheltering walls of the cave is scary, and even getting to the point where you are just poking your head out can be difficult enough. The internal advisors that want to keep us safely within the cave will bring a whole arsenal of reasons why you shouldn’t take those steps towards the cave opening and the big outdoors. These advisory voices show up as resistance, procrastination, self doubt (“I can’t do it anyway”), and pointless activism (cleaning the already pristine flat for the third time). These are all strategies to divert your attention from the actual goal: Reaching the cave opening, stepping out, exploring the world beyond, and proving yourself. 

The internal advisors are extremely fearful creatures. They like to hide in the shadows and scuttle away when you try to shed light on their existence and take a closer look at their - often warped - reasoning. We, ourselves, don’t like the thought of poking into the dark corners of the cave where the light-shunning advisors take refuge the moment we try to grab hold of them instead of letting them run wild in our minds. 

These advisory voices use the very things that we are trying to overcome to prevent us from successfully chasing them down: Before we have managed to put even one of those internal advisors into a headlock, we succumb to resistance, procrastination, self-doubt, pointless activism. These sneaky voices not only prevent us from taking steps towards the cave opening, they also prevent us from taking a closer look at what’s holding us back!

When the safety voices have successfully eluded our scrutiny, they have won: We are still safely tucked away in the cave and we haven’t made one ounce of progress. 

Coaching helps you to dare greatly. It helps you to expand beyond your current boundaries. Very often, the first step is to have the courage to pin down and examine the safety voices that keep us nice and small. When I say ‘courage’, I’m not joking. These safety voices, proper remnants of a time when not following their advice could have been life threatening, can conjure up very visceral feelings of dread - equivalent to facing off with a sober tooth tiger. 

The coach creates a safe space and trains and expands your courage so that you can sit down with these elusive safety advisors and make them your allies; make them your allies so that instead of tying you down in the confinement of your personal comfort zone, they provide you with the proper tools to succeed in your endeavours in the big world.