If Life Isn’t Meeting Your Expectations, This Question Could Reveal Why

Are you living up to your potential? If not, I bet I can tell you why in the next three minutes. First, try answering this question…

What have you done CONSISTENTLY over the past 30 days that’s outside comfort zone?”

If the answer is “nothing,” that’s why you’re not living up to your true potential. The good news is, you’re about to discover how to change this. I know that’s a bold promise. But I’ve got more than 10,000 hours of one-on-one coaching experience to back this up. Plus, if you’re a reasonably smart person, your intuition will tell you whether I’m onto something or not.

Let’s go back to our question…

“What have you done CONSISTENTLY over the past 30 days that’s outside comfort zone?”

Why is this question so revealing? Because no matter where you are right now, your present life is the product of…

  1. 20% Serendipity (call it luck, God, or chance…you know what I mean).
  2. 80% the Result of YOUR Consistent Habits.

(The percentages are an estimate, but you get the idea).

Since your RESPONSES to “Serendipity” are often more important than Serendipity itself, I’d say MOST of the results in your life are the product of your consistent habits. This can be good news, or bad. It all depends on whether your habits are making your life better, worse, or giving you more of the same.

That’s why, if you want a better life, this question…

“What have you done CONSISTENTLY over the past 30 days that’s outside comfort zone?”

…is the most important question you can ask yourself. I say this because, unless you’re getting out of your comfort zone, you aren’t forming new habits. And if you aren’t forming new habits, NOTHING in your life will change until you start. Here’s why…

Your Best Life STARTS Where Your Comfort Zone Ends

New habits, by their nature, are OUTSIDE your comfort zone. That’s why they’re often awkward, scary or uncomfortable. Of course, this isn’t true for all habits. Only productive ones. I’m pretty sure I could easily form the habit of eating a candy bar every night before bed. But that wouldn’t be very productive would it?

If we’re talking achieving your true potential, we have to talk about habits that are out of your comfort zone. And since your life is a product of your habits, a better life will ALWAYS demand you to leave your comfort zone.

I know. I’d do much better telling you I have some super duper shortcut. But I often tell my coaching clients that they have to grow for the life they want, not the life they already have. And growth means forming new habits. If you’re not forming them right now, I guarantee you that life will only give you more of what you’re already getting.

If you take a plant, and put it into a bigger pot, the plant will grow to fill the new pot. But if you leave it in the pot it’s already in, it’ll only grow to fill that pot. Take this as a metaphor for your present life. The “pot” represents your comfort zone. It contains all the habits which you can act out right now without the aid of conscious effort, willpower, or outside pressure. Likewise, the plant represents your life and all the results you’re getting right now.

If your “pot” isn’t growing, your “plant” won’t grow either. It doesn’t matter how much you water it, prune it, fertilize it or think positive thoughts about it. Your life will NEVER outgrow your personal habits. Popular books, blogs and seminars fail to make this clear. They focus on willpower and motivation. They teach you to make to-do-lists, get accountability partners and to think more positively. But techniques only get you so far.

If you want to create lasting change, you have to outgrow the life you have now. The ONLY way to do this is to get out of your comfort zone, every day, until things which were once awkward and uncomfortable become second nature. This is actually good news if you’re the type of person who can only stick with something so long before you start backsliding into old habits. This happens because you’re depending too much on willpower, motivation and constant awareness of which actions you need to “stick with.”

But habits aren’t willpower or “motivation” dependent. They’re a natural expression of your true potential. And there’s one, simple secret to freeing yourself from the need to apply constant willpower…

Greatness is Made in PRESENT Moments, Not Future Hopes

I’m 100% convinced that most people never achieve their true potential because they put too much hope in their future. There’s only ONE time you can grow in, and that’s right now. You’ll never live one moment in your future because your future only exists in your imagination. This is why you should put ALL your hope and passion into whatever you’re doing right now.

I know this is hard if you’re unsatisfied, or even disappointed, with your present life. But you’ll only become who you’re becoming RIGHT NOW. So you have to ask yourself if the habits you’re forming right now are consistent with the life you really want.

I’ve talked to HUNDREDS of people who assume that they’ll “start,” giving life their best once they get into the “right job” or the “right relationship” or once they get to the “right body weight,” or once they get out of debt. If you’re forming the habit of being less than who you are, there’s no reason to think that will magically change once a better opportunities start coming along.

Your present habits will follow you into your next relationship, your next job or ANY future venture in your life. Haven’t you ever had a great opportunity thrown into your lap, only to see it mysteriously fizzle out? Have you ever sabotaged a “perfect” opportunity which you thought was going to change your life for good? I certainly have. This happens when we don’t adequately prepare for our future by BECOMING our best self in the PRESENT.

Again, there’s only ONE time you can grow in, and that’s the right now. If you wait for things to get better before you start giving your best, your life will be a string of “almosts,” which never quite turn out the way you thought they would. So, make a clear decision about what you want your life to look like in the future. But once you’ve done that, put ALL your energy into outgrowing the life you have right now.

If you do this, something truly magical will start to happen in your life…

When You Take Care of Growth, Results Take Care of Themselves

The most important habit you’ll EVER form is to be growth-focused instead of being results-focused. I know this sounds completely backwards, especially if you grew up in Western Culture. But everything that happens is the result of a specific process — the most positive of these process being growth.

People who focus too much on results, miss this fact and try to take shortcuts to the result. Others give up on the process completely because they think it’s “not working.” Sure, we can waste a lot of time if we’re following the wrong process. But I’ve rarely seen anyone fail because of this. More often, they become too invested in the end result, and too little invested in the process of mastering the habits which will NATURALLY bring it about.

For example, I can almost always tell when someone is about to give on achieving a goal. The most telling sign is when they start asking questions like…

“How will it take for ___ to happen?”

You can put any goal in that ^ blank. People on diets ask: “How will it take for me to start losing weight?” People starting businesses ask: “How will it take for me to start losing weight?” People learning musical instruments ask: “How long before I can play my favorite songs?”

The problem with ALL these questions, is that they’re too focused on nailing down a definite deadline. Deadlines are fine if you’re following a process which has already been proven to create a specific result within a specific time. We have definite processes for baking pies, building houses or even traveling to the other side of the world within a certain timeline.

But if you’re trying to accomplish something you’ve never accomplished, there’s NO WAY you can put definite date on it. People do who manage to nail a goal by a certain date, usually do so out of pure luck in guessing the “right” timeline. But no one can tell you exactly how long it will take you to achieve something you’ve never achieved before.

This is hard to accept if you’re a results-oriented person. But rigid deadlines are often the biggest reason people give up before they see the fruits of their labor. Remember, your life is the product of your HABITS. If you set milestones to track your PROGRESS in forming the right habits, you’ll have no problem telling whether you’re getting somewhere. And if you keep this up, those habits will become second nature and the results will take care of themselves.

Moreover, any changes you make will be lasting and natural, because they won’t depend on constant willpower and vigilance. This is the only path to lasting and fulfilling change. So, adding a few tweaks to or original question…

What WILL you do CONSISTENTLY over the NEXT 30 days that is out of your comfort zone?”

Write something down. Make it consistent with the life you really want. Start small so you’ll be sure to stick with it. Good habits have a way of snowballing into bigger ones. Most important, make it something that’s slightly uncomfortable. Remember, your best life starts where your comfort zone ends. And if you grow for the life you really want, your life will grow along with you.

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