Raising Your Own Bar

By David BreslowJanuary 3, 2006, 5:00 pm
Everybody has one. Its effect on us can be subtle to the point that we are not even aware of it. Everybodys is different and it can change from situation to situation! What is it? Its called a comfort zone.
 
Whenever we take on a new project, try something new, attempt to set new goals or standards for ourselves we will, at some point, come face to face with our comfort zone. Its not a matter of if it will happen its a matter of when it will happen.
 
PERFORMANCE COMFORT ZONES
 
I work with professionals in sports and business and at every level comfort zones come into play. For example, when I ask a golfer what they shoot they might answer, I shoot in the mid 80s or mid 70s. This is a subtle statement of their comfort zone. A comfort zone sets us up to perform within its limitations and acts as a magnet pulling us in that direction. For example, around the 14th hole a golfer may notice they are shooting their all-time best score. When they become aware of this their performance begins to drift back to the point where their final score is somewhere around their usual score.
 
In sports and business, teams are affected by comfort zones as well. If the team is used to performing poorly their overall comfort zones will create hidden obstacles that cause them to continue their poor performance. People who excel have a higher comfort zone than people and teams who dont. They expect to perform well while those with lower comfort zones tend to have lower expectations. The irony is it often has very little to do with talent or skill. This is the power an established comfort zone can have on us. It affects performance in sports, business and life!
 
Are you comfortable earning the money you say you want? Are you comfortable reaching your personal or professional goals? As you know, New Years goals are notorious for being set and not pursued. In my opinion, they are not met because although they look good on paper there is something in the goal or dream that is outside our comfort zones so we find ways to sabotage ourselves instead.
 
ACTIONS DO SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
 
Our actions, not our words reveal our comfort zones. A limiting comfort zone can prevent us from taking the required action we need to meet our dreams. In my coaching/speaking programs I ask people to focus on actions and not words as being a reflection of the truth. Words, stories or excuses (blaming others, etc.) can create a smoke screen but actions (or inactions) are clear indicators of our comfort zones and much easier to identify. When we are honest about our own comfort zones we can rapidly uncover the hidden beliefs, assumptions and interpretations that cause us to be stuck and make faster shifts toward what we want.
 
HOW COMFORT ZONES ARE FORMED
 
A comfort zone is formed by experience which over time and repetition turns into a belief. Many of us are very good at proving our comfort zones are real by recreating the limiting experiences over and over again. Each time we do, we reinforce the belief sending subtle messages to ourselves such as, I knew this would happen or I knew Id only get this far. Over time our comfort zones become our unspoken expectations (this is where I always wind up!). A comfort zone is a state of mind and usually has little to do with your actual talent or skill. Its easy to prove them by using self-fulfilling prophecy (I knew it!) but why not break them instead?
 
BREAKING COMFORT ZONES
 
There are many great ways to help break comfort zones and in this short article I will offer just a few that Ive used with sports and business clients.
 
1. Be honest with yourself. This is the simplest and yet can be the most challenging step to take. The truth is; if you wont be honest about them it is very difficult to move past them. Be honest. If you have a fear or limiting belief about yourself or a task/situation, put it out there for yourself. There is nothing wrong with it; its just a belief and is not a true reflection of your worth, talent or skill.
 
2. Dont assume youre right! Dont assume just because youve proven your comfort zone by repeating it so often in the past that it has anything to do with today. It doesnt! Its only a memory based on past experience (I always do this!) and is no reflection on your capabilities right now! Take one small action step right now to prove this to yourself.
 
3. Start Small....All comfort zones can be broken and expanded. Pick ONE area and create a small but steady process that allows you to bust through it. For example, if you want to improve your decision making skills take small strides each day that will break that comfort zone. Decide to make 2 decisions each day this week and your comfort level will grow within a short period of time! If you want to increase your sales but have avoided the large accounts, call on 1 large account per day for the next 2 weeks with no concern about outcomes. Just take the action and your comfort level will expand, so will your list, your confidence and your sales!
 
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  • David Breslow Article Archive
     
    Copyright 2006 David Breslow is a Speaker/Facilitator/Performance Coach who works with Athletes (PGA/LPGA) and businesses to help people perform at the top of their game. His approach is not business as usual and creates faster shifts in how people think, feel and perform every day. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio and has spoken to corporations across the country. To reach David call: 847.681.1698 or email: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net.
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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.


    Getty Images

    Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

    Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

    But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

    Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

    “It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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    After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

    In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

    No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

    Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

    “I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

    Let it go.

    Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

    “I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

    It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

    During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

    Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

    “It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

    McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

    It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

    “I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

    The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

    Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

    The only thing left to do?

    Let it go.

    Getty Images

    Z. Johnson may have to pay for the jet home

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Zach Johnson will have some bragging rights when he gets back to the ultimate golf frat house on Friday after a second-round 67 moved him into the lead at The Open.

    Johnson is rooming with Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler this week at Carnoustie. It’s a tradition that began two years ago at Royal Troon.

    Kisner joked on Thursday after he took the first-round lead that the perks for the house/tournament front-runner were limited: “I probably get to eat first,” he said.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    There is, however, one running wager.

    “Two years ago we, I don't know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson, who added that because of varying travel arrangements, the wager might not be needed this year. “I didn't pay last year. Somebody else did.”

    Spieth won last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale.

    Despite the expense, Johnson said he didn’t know how much it costs to charter a private flight back to the United States, but it’s a good problem to have.

    “I’d be happy to fork it over,” he smiled.