Recognizing and Quieting Your Comfort Zone Voice
Just six days before beginning self-quarantine, I sat in the back row of an Isagenix Super Saturday – an event designed to educate, motivate, and inspire current and prospective enrollees. The room was full with people like myself, eager to learn about how to grow their business and build their community. After the standard product information sessions, we were blessed with speakers who not only shared their stories of success, but who allowed themselves to be vulnerable with the large crowd.
Speakers, many of whom I am blessed to consider friends, shared stories of their defining moments in life – stories about failure, hope, and ultimately, overcoming adversity. What started as an informational sessions transformed into motivational calls to action. Speaker after speaker encouraged attendees to look within, to find their own defining moments, and to challenge their own self-beliefs.
One speaker asked us to decide who we are and stand proud in those definitions of self.
“I am …” she implored. “I am, what? Who are you? What strengths do you bring to those around you? What makes you, you? Before you walk out of here today, write five statements starting with ‘I AM …’”
And I quickly jotted down:
I AM a loving mother.
I AM successful.
I AM kind and caring.
I AM a healthy woman.
I AM motivated, focused, and energized.
Another speaker reminded us to challenge our negative thoughts, and another told us a story about his history of taking the easy road to ensure he could never fail.
And then there was Dani Lozano.
I was first introduced to Dani at another Isagenix event in November 2019. She made a presentation about tools for organization, and I immediately decided I needed to be friends with her, because, well, organization. 🤷🏽️ But because I’m weird when I meet new people, it took me another month to even say hello, and another two months to reach out to ask her to be my friend.
I’m awkward, y’all.
Dani took the stage to Macklemore’s “Glorious,” and spoke about the power of affirmation, the art of visualization, and the impact of planting seeds now. She asked us to analyze the music we listen to daily.
“What message is it sending to you? The words that you hear every day are planting the seeds of your future. Are you filling your world with positivity? Or is your music, like the music I used to listen to, telling you that you’re weird and will amount to nothing?”
The Comfort Zone Voice
And then Dani told a story about her “comfort zone voice.” Up until this moment, I never even considered giving my “comfort zone” a voice. I didn’t bother to think that it was something that could speak to me. Instead, I thought of my comfort zone as a place, a place where I don’t take risks for fear of failure, a place that allows me to maintain my status quo without asking me to make any real changes, a place that I retreated to willingly because it was safe. My comfort zone, as I found out on that fateful Saturday, was my current life.
Dani asked, “What is your comfort zone voice telling you? What is your creator voice telling you?”
The creator voice is the motivation in you, the drive that pushes you to learn a new skill, the thing that gets you to jump even when you’re terrified. The comfort zone voice talks you out of your own personal growth.
How are we supposed to know the difference?
I know some of the things can be obvious – the creator within me has the brilliant ideas and smooth prose. The comfort zone voice convinces me that I am and will only ever be a teacher.
But those are obvious differences, and sometimes, it is difficult to know the difference between your intuition – which is something we should all develop and pay attention to – and our aversion of risk.
Dani introduced a strategy for uncovering your comfort zone voice:
“Choose one task – something simple – that will improve your life in some way and implement it for 30 days. It has to be something simple, though. Something that you can do daily in less than 5 minutes.”
Dani chose brushing her teeth every night before she went to bed.
“I know brushing my teeth is important. I know the benefits, but brushing every night before I went to bed was not something I ever did, because, well, I just didn’t. And so I decided I was going to start brushing my teeth every night.”
She goes on to say: “First night, two minutes, done. Success. Second night, two minutes. Done. Third night, brushed my teeth. Success. Fourth night, ugh, do I really have to? No. I won’t. And so I climbed into bed without brushing my teeth. And I lay there for the next ten minutes arguing with myself over brushing my teeth … and then I recognized it. There she was. There was my comfort zone voice.”
By choosing something small, something that took less than five minutes to complete, Dani didn’t have any excuse not to complete it. It was not something that was going to have any impact on any part of her day, and yet, she spent five times the amount of time it would take to actually brush her teeth stuck in an internal dialogue.
Dani eventually got up and brushed her teeth that night and was proud to report from the stage that day that she continues to brush her teeth at night. But the bigger lesson was that she was able to identify her comfort zone voice. Every night for the next few weeks, she had to fight that urge to fall prey to the voice, but along the way, she became familiar with the voice and her tricks.
Putting it into practice
As someone who starts a new project with zest and ambition, I can quickly become derailed. Until that Saturday, I believed that the derailment was a result of being busy, having physical pain, or worse, not actually being passionate about the project. Dani’s vulnerability allowed me to explore my own comfort voice. Through her story, I realized that my comfort zone voice had complete control over my life. I could shut her up for a few weeks, at most, but she eventually would win and I would find myself wasting away precious time.
This isn’t to say that I have found a way to permanently put a muzzle on good ol’ comfort, because let’s be honest, I have a daily argument with her. Some days (especially rainy days), she wins. And man, do I beat myself up on those days. But other days, because I am familiar with how she sounds and what she will say to me to trick me into believing that I can’t do something I know I can do, I am able to push through her. I am able to counter her negativity and I am able to overcome her doubt.
What I learned
In the last few weeks, I have learned the following things about my comfort zone voice:
- She hates to sweat.
- She loves cookies.
- She wants to sleep-in.
- She does not believe in me and what I am capable of.
- She can be really mean if I don’t listen to her.
- She doesn’t like the cold or the rain.
- She is quite lazy.
- She doesn’t like to enforce boundaries.
- She’d rather silently seethe than talk about feelings.
- She’s terrified of taking risks.
My comfort zone voice, ladies and gentlemen, is a real asshole. Pardon my French.
But now I know her. I hear her, and I know her games. When my back hurts and she wants me to skip a run, I know I can get down and do my PT exercises to loosen up before heading out the door. When it is raining outside and she wants me to stay curled up in bed, I quiet her up with some morning yoga and meditation. When she wants me to gorge on Girl Scout cookies instead of sticking to my nutritional program, I make myself a shake.
It’s not easy. She is mean and rude, but we are learning how to get along. I won’t ever make her disappear – she’s a part of me born of my past experiences and learned messages. But I learned how to identify her tricks and how to work around her games, and in turn, I allow her an indulgence or two – on my time. From time to time, I allow her a few hours to check out completely. She gets her tiny piece of dark chocolate every night after dinner. And on truly cold, rainy, crappy days, I let her convince me to skip the run outdoors, but it’s replaced with yoga, resets, and strength training indoors.
As a result, progress is palpable. I can see and feel my personal growth. I’m more open to new experiences and taking chances. And I am moving closer to achieving my big goals.
What small action can you implement every day to help you find your comfort zone voice? What are the messages your comfort voice tells you?