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The Growing Edge - The Stress-free Path to Success

Do you know anyone who lives a cocooned life? She might be so set in her ways that she never tries anything new. He might be so self-conscious that he avoids the social life that he craves. This cocoon is called the “comfort zone”. It’s a place of sameness and perceived safety. The problem with the comfort zone is that MAGIC only happens outside of it. On his website,, Paul Angone blogs, “I don’t like being laughed at. Don’t like being talked about. Don’t like the perception that I’m not in control. Who does, really? But all the time, effort and energy that I’ve spent trying to avoid embarrassment - have I just kept myself from actually being myself? How many opportunities have I missed?” The GROWING EDGE Leaving your comfort zone can be scary for all of us. Have no fear; the growing edge is here! The "growing edge" is a small step beyond your usual behavior. This new action stretches your performance. It is obtainable, and not overwhelming. The circle below represents your comfort zone. Every place outside that circle is where the MAGIC happens. Picture yourself walking to the edge of the circle, and taking a small step. That’s where the desired change begins!

If you cannot fly, then run. If you cannot walk, then crawl.But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. -Martin Luther King Jr. Someone I know had a panic attack on a bus trip and avoided buses for years afterwards. A psychologist who specializes in agoraphobia, fear of open or crowded spaces, came to work with her. At their first session, he asked if she would be able to take one step onto the bus and turn around to come off. The woman said that she could. Together they walked to the corner bus stop. She stepped onto the bus and immediately turned around and got off. From that experience using the growing edge, she was confident that she could progress to the point where she could ride on buses again. Achieving any goal is a process. We don’t accomplish our objectives instantly. When we compare where we are to where we started, we know that inch-by-inch, we are getting closer to our destination. The success of Weight Watchers is that each day the dieters make many little choices that produce changes that lead them closer and closer to their goal weight. Each healthy decision adds up to the significant change that they want.

Super Stars Step Out of Their Comfort Zones

We are in good company when we step out of our comfort zone. Successful people repeatedly push through fear to take on challenges. Viola Davis was nominated for Academy Awards for her performances in “Doubt” and “The Help”. Yet, she considered staring in the prime-time TV drama, “How to Get Away with Murder” out of her comfort zone. Now the show is in its sixth season. Despite winning Best Actor Oscars for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump”, Tom Hanks said that he was afraid of “not having the wherewithal or lack of self-consciousness or stamina to pull it off” when referring to his Broadway debut in “Lucky Guy”. He and other actors continue to grow professionally by moving on to challenging roles. The Growing Edge is the secret to making our dreams and aspirations come true. It’s just a matter of taking one step at a time.

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