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What Is The Width Of Your Success Zone?

July 17, 2019

By Tami VanHoy


What is the Width of Your Success Zone?

If you’ve ever been to any kind of personal development or sales training, you’ve probably heard this before…
...Growth comes when we step out of our comfort zone.
I trained it myself for years. And then it occurred to me – how motivating is it to be asked to step outside of what I’m comfortable with?
What if I instead of asking me to leave (step out of) something that I’m comfortable with, I was asked to think about stepping INTO something that I wanted?
It Begins When We are Toddlers...
We do it with our toddlers when they are learning to walk! We put that favorite toy or snack a little out of reach and then encourage them to take that first step towards it. The toddler isn’t paying attention to where he is standing, propped up by a hand on a table – he is focused on putting all of his energy in getting closer to that thing he wants!
When he gets there, he beams with delight as we cheer and celebrate the steps taken! He never looks back to see what he left behind and we aren’t celebrating that he left the place he was comfortable with. We are celebrating where he stepped into!
What if instead of focusing on the efforts required to leave where we are comfortable, we focused on the efforts required to get closer to the things we desire…and celebrate each step taken to get there?
Taking the toddler analogy a little further!
I can remember when my first born was learning to crawl. I had grown comfortable with leaving him in a wide open spot in the living room for tummy time with a toy right beside him. It was a ‘comfort play zone’ if you will.
Any toy that was beyond his reach was out of his ‘play zone’. One day, when he decided that the toy in his reach was no longer enough, he figured out how to skooch himself out of his current ‘play zone’ and into a larger play zone that included a new toy.
I remember watching with excitement as he kept at it until he had reached his goal. It was hard work that first time, but he wasn’t focused on what he was leaving behind…he was energized by what he was going towards! The more he did it, the more skilled he became at crawling, and soon, no toy was beyond his ‘play zone’.

Anytime he was no longer satisfied with the opportunities to play with what was in his reach, all he had to do was make the effort to utilize this new crawling skill and enlarge his ‘play zone’.
At some point, crawling progressed to walking, and walking to running. Each of my 4 children moved through those phases at a different pace, and each of them moved at the pace that was right for them.
You can see where this analogy is going!

• We crawl, then walk, and then run.

•.We progress at the pace that is right for us.

• We are motivated to enlarge or expand our ‘play zone’ by different things at different times and at different speeds.

• We are energized by what we are moving towards even though it may require some hard work
Bear with me as I take this analogy one ‘step’ further!
One child in particular would utilize a different skill to expand his toy options. It’s a skill set toddlers AND adults often use when good intentioned people enable this particular skill set — whining.
This particular child was later in the birth order and had many siblings and friends of siblings around to reward this whining skill set, allowing him to ‘enlarge his play zone’ without really leaving the zone he was in. He whined – they brought the toy to him.
It goes without saying that this was one of my ‘delayed’ crawlers, but eventually the enablers got tired of being ‘used’ and you know the rest of the story.

We see ‘delayed crawlers’ in adults

whining for greater success

surrounded by good intentioned enablers.

Willing or Whining? 
If I were your coach and you came to me with a desire to grow your business or reach a new personal goal in your life, I’d ask you these questions..

• Are you willing or whining?

• How willing are you to enlarge your ‘play zone’?
• If the ‘toys’ within your reach are not serving you well anymore, where are the toys you need or want?
• What skill set do you need to utilize to reach those new toys?

• How fast do you need to get from where you are to the toys you have your eye on?
Let me paint one more picture to tie this all together…
Imagine standing where you are and with a pencil that will reach 4 feet in front of you, you draw a circle around yourself. This represents your zone of current success (formerly known as your play zone!). Within this circle are the people you know and probably shared your passions with already.
Look beyond that circle and you will see the people (formerly known as toys!) with whom you have not shared your passions. They live in a zone that offers increased levels of success, but you have to move into that zone to seize it. 
Once there, you now have more people to share your passion. You didn’t leave behind the circle of people you were comfortable with before; you just enlarged the circle of people you have to talk to, which gives you more opportunities to increase your success.
This is an enlarged success zone! 
How often you step into a new zone determines how fast you grow your zone of potential success.
• How large of a success zone do you want to work in?
• Are you content with the width of your zone right now or do you want more space to crawl, walk and run within?
With that in mind, let’s expand those previous coaching questions a bit too…
• If the people within your reach are no longer enough, where are the people you need or want talk to?
• What skill set do you need to utilize to reach those new people?
• How fast do you need to get from where you are to the people you have your eye on?
• How willing are you to enlarge your ‘success zone’?
• Are you willing to step into that success or are you whining for others to bring the people to you?
Do Something On Purpose Today...
• Give yourself some self-coaching time today.

• Write out your answers to the coaching questions posed above. Do it purposefully and thoughtfully.

• Once you have your answers, schedule the actions you decided to take and do them on purpose!

About Tami

Tami VanHoy, Director of Field Development at pawTree LLC, is passionate about helping people live ON PURPOSE. As a certified Life/Purpose Coach, she walks with people to sift through the excuses, define that purposeful path, and live it out – on purpose! You can find more from Tami here at
Tami is loved by her husband, 4 children, and 5 grandchildren (so far!). When at home, you’ll often find her Shih Tzu, Muffin, snuggled up in her lap while she writes.