When were you last in your courage zone?

I’m feeling inspired after cheering on some of our local triathlon club members compete in Ironman Australia over the weekend. For those not across the sport, it involves a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run, no mean feat! It was especially great to see the first timers putting all their hard work into action, digging deep and stepping into their courage zones. It brought back memories from when I completed the distance back in 2014 having not been able to swim freestyle when we first moved over to Australia in 2011. A challenge I remember and draw from when needed.

A couple of weeks ago I heard a presentation from Holly Ransom at our Gartner Emerging Leaders in Multi-nationals event who talked about stepping out of our comfort zone and into our courage zones which I have been reflecting on since. For those who haven’t come across Holly before, she’s certainly a young leader to watch. Some of her achievements include being CEO of her own company (Emergent), being asked by the Prime Minister to chair the G20 Youth Summit, being named among the “100 Women of Influence”, having Richard Branson as a fan, interviewing Barrack Obama on his recent visit to Sydney and being a Board member of Port Adelaide’s AFL club. On top of this she managed a top-10 finisher for her age group in her most recent Ironman endurance triathlon. Phew! For me though, perhaps most inspiring and courageous was Holly sharing on this witsup video that she has battled depression and how she came out of it: http://www.witsup.com/video-be-inspired-holly-ransom/ An act of courageous vulnerability to help inspire others talk more freely about mental health as we do with physical health.

During her talk, Holly shared a year long fear factor challenge she did with a friend, challenging and supporting each other to do one thing out of their comfort zones everyday for a year. Holly described the early encounters as the more stereotypical things that come to mind when thinking of confronting your fears, like jumping out of a plane (blog title picture from my adventurous gap year skydive :O) or into Antarctic waters. By the end of her challenge however it was seemingly smaller things like learning to say no which can make a big difference to your life quality. This made me think that there is an opportunity everyday to do something that stretches you and pushes you into your courage zone. Whether it’s taking the route with the steep hill, making a phone call you’ve been avoiding, sharing a vulnerability or trying an new adventurous menu item.

I was inspired by Holly’s session and have my own fear factor buddy to check in with and share examples of stepping out of our courage zones. What could you do this week to step into your courage zone? Whether it be applying for your dream job, saying no to something you’re feeling forced to do, taking an opportunity to publicly speak or joining a group fitness class.

In a conversation with one of our International CEO Forum members afterwards we were saying how often something great emerges on the edge of fear. When we get too comfortable it’s easy to get complacent and not stretch ourselves and grow.

Speaking to members of my network this last week on the topic, conquering a fear of open water swimming seems to be one on a few people’s list. For those new to swimming you may find this blog by Tim Ferriss useful: https://tim.blog/2008/08/13/total-immersion-how-i-learned-to-swim-effortlessly-in-10-days-and-you-can-too/

Would love to hear any thoughts and support each other in stepping out of our comfort zones in our courage zones. For those interested to hear more from Holly, you can follow her coffee pods podcast here based on the premise that in the time it takes to have a coffee with someone you can learn from their lifetime of experience.

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