5 signs it’s time to step out of your comfortable “container”…

We create containers to keep ourselves safe. Consciously or unconsciously, we all do it.

Playing it 'safe' is common for business women. Is it time to step out of your comfort zone?Click To Tweet

These containers can have physical walls and boundaries – like those of our home or our backyard – but mostly they don’t.

We create them for our children… “Don’t leave the backyard!” we may say when they are little. “You can play in the front of the house as long as you stay on our street,” we might say when they are a little older.

Then it becomes: “You have to be within shouting distance, I don’t want to have to go find you.” And now… our 15-year-old is getting rides to school by friends who have their driver’s licenses… Eeek! This involves a whole new set of boundary-setting and container-creating that I’m not sure I’m ready to create.

She keeps testing her boundaries (and ours) and is pushing her container to grow bigger. It makes sense. She is a teenager, growing and learning and exploring her world. It’s what teenagers are supposed to do.

But my question for you is this:

Do we ever stop testing our boundaries and pushing to make our containers bigger? And if we do… are we settling?

Do you push your boundaries in business and life or are you playing it safe and settling?Click To Tweet

I found myself pushing my own boundaries this week and wanting to make my container bigger.

These boundaries were around personal and professional growth. I received notification that I had earned my CPCC – Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. Yippee!

It’s a huge milestone for me as it’s a rigorous program and it has some of the highest standards in the world for coaching excellence. I have been working towards it for 2.5 years while simultaneously building my coaching practice.

It’s been a lot of work; has taken a lot of time, and yet I was safe within the container of working, studying, coaching and focused on achieving this designation.

And then, I realized I had hit an edge.

Stepping outside of boundariesI needed to make my container bigger.

It was time to introduce new opportunity, new ways of working and stepping in even further to this new side of my business I had created.

How will you know when you have hit an edge? Here are five signs it’s time to make your container bigger:

  1. You have achieved a huge milestone 

    It can be around anything. You have hit your target goal weight. You finally ran that marathon. You got the promotion at work. Your kids have moved out. You are turning some number with a “0” in it…There are lots of reasons why we might recognize a milestone as such – externally or internally motivated. Regardless, it’s like something goes off and we start looking up and saying “what’s next?”

  2. You are resisting the status quo 

    Do you find yourself at odds with the way things are being done around you? You are told things should be done a certain way and you, well, just really want to do things your way? You find yourself having opinions about things you didn’t before. You find that you stand up for yourself and push against authority….These are all signs that you are in an environment that doesn’t “fit” your container anymore, AND you want to do something about it. You are motivated to find your voice and make yourself heard. Is this you?

  3. The flow is gone 

    It used to be that things were easy. Everything just flowed. This is similar to the resistance scenario yet different in that it seems that externally, things aren’t going your way.It used to be the right new job showed up when you wanted it to; you met people who seemed to be placed in your lap at just the right time; and there was an ease to your life where everything seemed to just flow.

    And now it doesn’t.

    Now it feels like you’re pushing uphill. That everything seems to be getting in your way instead of going your way. It seems that nothing is easy.

    Why is that? Answer: You are surrounded by people, systems and environment that don’t make your life flow. What would make your life flow again? It’s time to grow your container.

  4. You are not satisfied with your achievements 

    Many of my clients have been working hard their whole lives and have lots to show for it. They are successful, driven and motivated individuals who have achieved a lot and still want more.This isn’t being greedy. Some people are just, frankly, equipped to keep on going, and going and going. They are not happy unless they are working on another project, going after more education, or traveling to a new country. They are constantly outgrowing their container and looking for a bigger one.

    These people are not risk-averse. They do not need safety. Their normal is to not accept normal. Life and their current challenges have to be changing all the time. These people don’t have fixed walls or containers. They are living in a more fluid, airy place with not much of a container at all. Does this sound like you?

  5. You’re bored 

    Yup. Admit it. You’re bored. You aren’t excited by the routine of your life, the job you’re in, or what you’re doing.But you don’t want to change it up. You like your life…. Everything is going well. It’s just, well, a bit too routine, a little too predictable.

    Things aren’t as exciting as they were when you were 18 and deciding what to do after High School, or a recent graduate from university and looking forward to that big career break.

    You’ve been happily working in the same career for X years and you don’t want to quit… just yet. It’s just routine. You’re comfortable — content. But you’re not excited anymore. Does your container need to get bigger? And what would it take to make that container a little bigger, or a slightly different shape?

It doesn’t mean you have to get rid of what’s inside your container, it just means you want to move the edges a little.

Have you outgrown your container? Do you need new boundaries to grow into? What would it take to move the edges of your container? Even just a little? I’d love to hear.

Have you outgrown your safe container and need new boundaries to grow?Click To Tweet

Post your ideas in the comments below or send me a note. that you’d like to set up a time to talk. I help my clients uncover their edges and push beyond them.

Because we all need to play outside of shouting distance, once in a while.

With gratitude,
Susan Elford

Personal Balance Equation Workbook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a PR Strategist & Leadership Coach who especially loves to work with people who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a balanced life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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