One rainy Friday morning, I decided to do a YouTube workout rather than hitting the highway for the four-mile walk that I had originally planned for that day.  I settled on a HASfit video.  I chose that video because it promised a full body resistance band workout – sounded like just the thing I needed to close out my week.

It was tough! I started out with my higher tension band – bad choice.  Within ten minutes my muscles were threatening to revolt. Sweat streamed down my face. And, as if those trainers could see into my living room, one of them said “Don’t stop when it hurts; stop when you’re done. You’re not done yet. You’re almost there!” That admonition spurred me to push past the discomfort. When I made it through the final countdown, I felt such a sense of accomplishment.

I got to thinking – how many times had I given up on something because of temporary discomfort when accomplishment/success/a breakthrough was right around the corner? And how will I really get to know and understand my ultimate limits if I don’t push through the initial challenges/setbacks/hurdles? How can I know for certain that I didn’t STOP before I was DONE?

Stopping vs Being DONE

What’s the difference between stopping and being done?  For me, the difference is that stopping is a choice whereas being done means that I don’t have anything left in the tank; I’ve truly put my all into it; I’ve done everything that I can possibly do.

Here’s the thing though – sometimes my mind lies to me and tells me that I’m done when the truth is that I’m tired or perhaps afraid or frustrated. Or maybe it’s that the task is turning out to be harder than I anticipated; or I’m not getting the support or cooperation that I expected. That could all be true, but it doesn’t mean that I’m DONE. 

Can you relate to this story? Have you had experiences where you felt like throwing in the towel on a project or goal – perhaps starting your own business, going after a promotion, building your home, publishing your book… If so, what do you need to do to push past the point where you feel like stopping?

The first step is to acknowledge what we’re feeling or thinking. Examine those thoughts or feelings from a position of curiosity. What is underpinning them? Is it fear? A lack of self-confidence? Concern about what others might think? Put a label on the emotion and explore what it means, but don’t stop there…

The next step is to revisit your WHY. Why are you pursuing this course of action? How important is it to you? How important is it to your PURPOSE? How important is it to your identity or sense of self? Is it important enough for you to push past the threshold of your comfort zone and overcome your fear and put in the work that is required for you to break into your learning zone and ultimately make it to your growth zone?

The Journey From Your Comfort Zone to Learning and Growth

The following diagramme shows the terrain that you need to cover to complete the journey from your comfort zone to your learning and growth zones. Unlike the arrow in the diagramme, that journey doesn’t always take place in a straight line. The terrain is likely to get tough.  When it does, I encourage you to challenge yourself to push through and to authentically and consistently discern the difference between being tempted to stop and genuinely being DONE.

Ambassador Joan H. Underwood is a senior management consultant and policy advisor with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors.  Professional designations held by Ambassador Underwood include that of a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the US-based HR Certification Institute, the Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), Accredited Director (Acc.Dir.) and credentialed Master Trainer as designated by the Association for Talent Development (ATD).  She also holds the designation of an Erickson Professional Coach (EPC) and is a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Joan’s most recent professional accomplishments include certification by the Human Capital Institute (HCI) in Strategic Workforce Planning and Change Practitioner as certified by Prosci© Canada and the Change Management Learning Centre.

If you are looking for the resources required to help you take your management performance to the next level in 2021, click HERE to obtain a FREE SAMPLE from her new book Managers’ First Aid Kit.

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