How to Experience Personal Growth

Challenge Yourself

I love what I’m doing right now. It’s 4:15am and I’m putting the finishing touches on today’s newsletter. It’s still dark outside on the streets of Toronto, where we’re recovering from one of the most powerful thunderstorms to hit the area in years.

As I sit at my kitchen table with faithful dog lying a few feet away on his bed, my headphones are on, but no music is playing. I find this ritual is better than just writing in the silence of the room. Wearing the headphones allows me to be completely inside of my head, by myself, sheltered from the world – as introverted as you can get.

That’s the world I naturally want to live in. Growing up on the farm I spent hours each day by myself, lost in my own world, playing sports, reading, wandering the back forty, racing pop cans down the river beside the old farmhouse. Lost in a world of make believe, but of my own making.

I’m happy spending time on my own. I crave it. It’s my comfort zone.

However, last month I pushed myself to step into a world that scares me. Our team had worked night and day to convince over 175 personal trainers to hear me speak in our sold-out ballroom at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. It was time for me to go to work.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not speaking from the stage that bothers me. I can do that all day. I go into Preacher mode and deliver a performance, inspiring others to get out of their comfort zone and change their lives.

It is because of the message I deliver on-stage that I must also follow my own advice. I must get out of my comfort zone, challenge my natural inclinations, hosting the TT Summit, and going around the room and talking to as many people as I could, as any good presenter would.

It might sound strange to you, but that’s difficult for me.

It’s always been uncomfortable for me to engage in one-on-one conversations with strangers. I don’t enjoy it. I even dread it. But I’m getting much better at it with practice.

I know I must do it if I really want to change lives and achieve my 10 Million Transformation Mission. I must man-up and attack my fears and discomforts.

I’m doing what I tell you to do. I’m doing what you tell your clients and customers to do.

But are you doing what you tell people to do?

It’s easy for us to say, “Oh, I can’t do that.”

I could just as easily take that way out and say, “Oh, I’m just not a good people person…I’m not a good networker…or a good deal-maker. So I won’t even try.”

But that would be inexcusable.

You must quiet the voice inside your head that offers excuses for not taking action and getting out of your comfort zone. You must eliminate the thinking that you aren’t “good on video”, or that you can’t “be a great writer”, or that you are “too busy to practice and change your ways”.

For any excuse you might try to offer, all that I can say is:

Stop being a hypocrite.

Stop posting “Get out of your comfort zone” quotes on your Facebook wall, via your Twitter account, or in your emails, if you are NOT going to take your own advice.

Stop encouraging your clients, customers, family, and friends to change their lives if you’re not going to make big changes in your own.

Stop talking and start doing.

Begin by doing the right thing – the hard thing – and get out of your own comfort zone and take action.

When you do, people will notice. People will be inspired. People will follow you.

A friend and mentor of mine, after watching me on-stage that weekend in San Diego, sent me a note the next day. I’m going to keep these words with me for a long time. They are more important and rewarding than the sales that were made from stage that weekend.

He wrote:

“It’s really neat to see the way you’ve grown. Choosing and forcing yourself to get outside your comfort zone; becoming a public figure, a leader, is really impressive.

Even though you referred to it during your closing afternoon talk, I don’t think the audience understands the lengths you’ve gone to alter yourself so that you’re better able to lead.

Your dinner toast, probably one of the few you’ve ever given and the only one I’ve ever witnessed, was perfect, and although it didn’t come off this way at all, I suspect it was totally unnatural for you.

You’ve overcome the biggest challenge for creating an extraordinary life: acting outside your natural inclinations; not using the ‘that’s not me’ excuse. Instead, you decided what would be most appropriate, prepared yourself, and did what you ought. That’s quite rare, Mr. Ballantyne. Congratulations, and thanks for being a good example.”

It’s not easy to act unnaturally. It’s tough to overcome the inertia and gravitational forces found in our comfort zones. But that’s where we find the rewards, the personal growth, and the only path to reaching our potential.

Don’t delay any longer. Get out there and overcome the biggest challenge in your life. Start acting outside of your natural inclinations.

Challenge yourself to do more. Be more. Give more.

You can do it. I know, because like me, you already tell everyone else they can. If they can do it, so can you. If I can do it, so can you. It’s time for you to follow your own advice.

[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and author of Financial Independence Monthly and Turbulence Training. He is also the co-creator of the Early to Rise $100,000 Transformation Contest. Though this round of the Transformation Contest has closed it’s not too late to get access to all the helpful tools and advice that has helped many people make a positive change in their lives. Get started on your major life transformations today.]