Circles in the sand.

By Nick Tardent
June 7, 2015

Draw a circle in the sand. That’s your comfort zone. And stretched out around you is a vast beachy expanse.

Having a specific image in my mind is a stronger call to action than an abstract sentence or an intellectual idea. And constantly thinking about these images is one way to bring them into the every day. By recognising and building upon them in every moment, gradually, change starts to take place.

You’ll make mistakes, but that’s when you know you’re in the right place

Remember that your way is the best way. That’s why there are so many books on the personal development bookshelves: because the authors, all toting many of the same ideas, are sharing their own personal methodology. So your mission is to take the best of what you find and make it yours. Really we all have it in us to write a book called ‘My Way’. And while most of us probably won’t, it doesn’t hurt to jot your thoughts down, or think through how you do things. The most stable improvement happens one day at a time.

Here’s a thought process I started way back in 1995, when YO! Sushi was just an idea.

I stand on the beach and, taking a stick, I draw a circle around myself in the sand. I’m in my comfort zone. (At that time, I remember thinking ‘comfort zone’ is a strange description. For me, it was a place I could survive in, but only just. Although it didn’t require great courage every day, it wasn’t comfortable, because I always thought I was underachieving, could do better.)

When I step out of that circle in the sand, what do I feel? It’s unfamiliar territory, scary. I could fail, get found out, be laughed at or derided; attacked with “who does he think he his?” and the like, or even succeed, and start to feel separated from the crowd. These thoughts all lead us back to one human emotion. It’s an emotion that is there to protect us, but it’s also the main emotion that stands in our way. It’s FEAR.

And the natural human reaction when you’re feeling fearful is to step straight back inside your comfort zone. That’s what we’re trained to do, to reduce that uncomfortable feeling. But if you can stay there for a reasonable period of time… (Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway) … then you get used to that feeling and the fear subsides. Eventually, you’ll be able to expand your comfort zone.

That is what successful people do. Believe me. They are familiar with fear, but they come to terms with it. You probably already know this. Bring an image of this into your everyday life, and starting on a small scale, start noticing and practising. You’ll make mistakes, but that’s when you know you’re in the right place – corny but true: “to win it you gotta be in it”.

It’s like the pebble dropped into the lake – like the ripples that emanate, your comfort zone starts to get bigger.

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