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Episode 56 - Courage Before Confidence


Welcome to Episode 56 

The pain of staying the same has to be greater than the pain of change. Where are you experiencing pain right now? How much focus is that pain taking out of your each and every day? Expanding our comfort zones is the road to personal growth. But with standing discomfort and persisting anyway we learn things about ourselves and discover things within ourselves that we didn't know were available to us. When we remain in our comfort zone we become unaware of our possibilities and our ability to achieve our dreams.


Expanding our comfort zone can look very different depending on the pain we're experiencing. When did you last expand your comfort zone? What can you be doing differently to be moving forward and not be living a life dictated by fear or discomfort that often arises from staying in your comfort zone for too long?

Bonus content for coaches: this episode contains bonus material for coaches working with clients on expanding their comfort zones.

In this podcast, you'll learn:
  • The neuroscience behind expanding our comfort zone and why change is hard

  • Why finding an emotion that gives us fire can get us moving in the right direction

  • Why most of us think it’s just ‘life’ and don't recognise subdued discomfort as a comfort zone / growth opportunity

Episode Transcript:


EP #56


“Do I need a life coach?” You’re listening to Episode 56, with Rhiannon Bush


Welcome to the Do I need a life coach? Podcast. We’re here to discuss the ins- and outs- of the life coaching industry and give you tools to use, to see for yourself. I’m your host, Rhiannon Bush. Mother, management consultant and a passionate, certified life coach.


I have been in the state recently of not feeling very confident in certain parts of the work I’ve been doing. And following on from the episode I did about emotional maturity, talking about it is usually my way of feeling better about it because in the past, I have had people around me to talk to. I’ve laid it out and had a voice because I’ve always been able to build really solid relationship in my life - at work or at home, and so I will talk about it and I will find comfort and reassurance and therefore to a degree, resolution. Enough to carry on and keep going and to move through it.


Something I know to be true is that when you can embrace discomfort, and you can carry on and not buy into the story of “it’s so hard“ or “what is wrong with me, I just don’t get it“ is that you come up with something within you that you didn’t have before. And that doesn’t mean you don’t need help finding that something, but it does mean you move past the story you’re telling yourself in that moment about your incapability, or your incompetence or whatever it is you’re telling yourself that doesn’t help in that moment.


It’s all very well to overcome certain hardships in a small amount of space. Like say, you’re going abseiling or rock-climbing, and you are incredibly scared and nervous about it. But you’ve got good friends, they’re going and you’ve committed to going. You go. Just because you make the commitment. And even though you made the commitment, it doesn’t mean you don’t feel all the feelings. So really by saying that you’re going to go, and making the commitment, you actually made the commitment to feel those feelings, overcome them and do the thing anyway.


And I have never had an instance where I have felt those feelings, and done the thing, and not felt the positive emotions in equal intensity to how I was feeling the negative emotions, prior to actually doing the thing. And the difficult part is the self-talk and the discomfort you feel right before you do the thing.  So that maybe stepping over the edge to absail down a rock face, or that first step to begin the rock-climbing your way up. Or any other comfort zone activities you may be expanding your horizons with.


Often, when it’s an activity, like an extra-curricular activity, it’s extreme. It’s intense, it’s a short moment in time where you feel the discomfort - the nerves, or the terror, or the whatever that might be, and then you do those first initial bits, and then you feel better afterwards. Open, shut, done.


When I think discomfort becomes more difficult, is when you feel discomfort, so not in an extreme way of “I’m going to do this thing and it really scares me” and then you do the thing and it’s done, but instead in the way of being in a difficult environment at work, or at home, where there is a constant mild-level of discomfort, and you can’t see the end of it. You meet that discomfort all the time and it’s not intense or open and closed, but it’s constant, all the time. You’re in this constant state of discomfort. And that may be because it’s hard. That maybe because it’s challenging - spiritually, intellectually, physically, for whatever reason there’s a discomfort. And therefore, by all intents and purposes, it’s not calm or relaxed or enjoyable or fun. Because the discomfort is intense enough to outweigh any other of those lighter feelings that we may look for in that environment.


The thing is, it’s important to understand what you’re getting out of the situation.  Because it’s hard to withstand constant discomfort when you’re not clear on why you’re feeling that discomfort. And this is how the brain is wired. We will move away from anything uncomfortable so that we are, and remain in, a territory of familiarity and we feel safe and that’s what our brain always like to do. Our primitive brain will always seek path of least resistance and ease.


But most of the time, when we expand our comfort zone, there’s a reason that we choose to do so. And whenever we expand our comfort zones, it usually feels awful in some capacity. And this is because our brain fights us on change because our brain doesn’t like change. But there’s often lessons to be learned and there are things to be gained when we do. Unfortunately, we don’t often know what those things are until we’re almost out the other side.


Think of the gym. I remember years ago realising I needed to exercise again. I was really fortunate to go to a high school where we had compulsory sport. So showing up to PE and playing sports on school nights for training and then competing on weekends wasn’t an option and in high school, it wasn’t a big deal. We were all doing it, we were all there together, and so it was social and it was enjoyable for the most part. Then I went to uni and drinking became my sport, and I had a blast, and I remember a girlfriend of mine, Kobie, started wanting to run and so her and I would run all around Manly and the Northern beaches and we absolutely loved it and that was great.


Fast forward a few years when we weren’t living near each other again, I realised I needed to get in the gym… What I was doing at that point in my life wasn’t conducive to me going at any hour of the day when I was happy to go. I really had to find the motivation and look to the benefits and gains I was going to get. I had to go at a time when I didn’t want to go. I’d try going in the evening but that’s not really a great time for me either as I’ve always been a bit more of a morning person, so I started getting up early in the morning and going to the gym then.


And eventually, it was great, and I loved it, and even on the days when I felt like I didn’t want to drag myself out of bed, I did and always felt better for it. But those initial few visits, were awful in the lead-up. I remember very distinctly how I wanted to hit the alarm button and just roll over and go back to sleep. How nervous I was just stepping to the gym with lots of fit people. How anxious I felt about looking silly, or not wearing the right clothes.  My brain threw everything up at me to stop me getting in the gym. Because my primitive brain, the part of my brain all about self-preservation, didn’t want me to go. It was my higher executive functioning brain, my prefrontal cortex, that was looking after my health – present and future.


My pre-frontal cortex was like “Rhiannon, you need to get in the gym and look after yourself, and look after your health and fitness”, and my reptilian brain was like “I’m comfortable here in bed. I want to sleep, I’m warm and cozy, I’m not going”. And because my reptilian brain is unbelievably faster, because of the generations of programming that haven’t evolved, my reptilian brain would often win.


When I was able to deal with my reptilian brain and get into the gym regularly, I was there for months and months, and then I took a holiday. And I experienced, not in as extreme form as before, but those objections that my brain had initially, and the discomfort of going back to the gym, all over again. It was like this big dark storm cloud that was hanging over my head, every day I didn’t go back saying “you need to get in the gym”, but my brain was like ”no, you don’t, you’re good” and so I had that argument with my brain all over again, to get myself back in the gym.


And this happens with everything. Our high functioning self wants to look after us, and do what’s best for us from our intellectual point of view. It knows what’s good for us and what’s not good for us, and it wants to look after us. Where our reptilian brain seeks instant gratification and pleasure and just wants to be comfortable right now and all the time. And this is why change is hard, and this is why you need courage before you have confidence.


You will never be able to change unless the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing. So for me, going to the gym, having less energy and having an unhealthy lifestyle, because I actually really enjoy exercise, was more painful than arguing with my reptilian brain and fighting the urge to hit the alarm clock ongoingly. But to take that extra step of feeling confident going to the gym was a different level altogether. That took repetition, that took practice, and it took, for me, a long time.


Let’s just go into comfort zone for a second – where our primitive brain feels safe. The comfort zone is a psychological state where we feel safe and at ease. It's a mental and emotional space where we experience low levels of anxiety and stress because we are engaging in activities or situations that they are accustomed to and have mastered.


In the comfort zone, we tend to stick to routines and behaviors that we know well, we’re familiar with, we like and we’ve practiced. We avoid risks or challenges that could lead to uncertainty or discomfort because in our comfort zones, we feel a sense of security and stability. Staying in our comfort zone can limit our personal growth and prevent us from reaching our full potential.


Stepping out of our comfort zone involves taking on new challenges, trying new things, and facing situations that give us that sense of ‘eeeeek’. Doing things that make us feel ‘eeek’ is a really key aspect of personal development because it allows us to learn, adapt, and grow. We have to dig deep and find things within us that we didn’t know we had to overcome the feelings we’re thrown when facing something new.


With repetition and practice, things outside of our comfort zone become part of our comfort zone, and that’s how we expand our comfort zone because we have new skills and coping mechanisms. This is how we gain self-confidence and self-worth because by overcoming things that scare us, we feel elation, pride, invigorated and a whole bunch of other things which is amazing for our personal growth.


I want you to think about something you want to do, or way you want to change your life because it’s going to benefit you. It may be something that you’ve been trying to overcome for a long time, it may be something that is new to you and that you want to try, just pick something.


And I want you to think about what you feel. What you need to have, emotionally, to do the thing. That maybe courage. That may be gusto, that maybe aggression. But find the emotion that’s going to help you do the thing and overcome your reptilian brain.


In your comfort zone you don’t have to face the big bad unknown, but what happens to our lives if we stay there? Do your problems just get bigger and bigger and bigger? 


More importantly, understand why you want to do it. Remind yourself of the benefits that you’re going to get by making these changes and committing to the change. Understand that you might not feel confident in the new thing for a while, but eventually, with enough practice and repetition, you will. But the first step is to make a commitment to yourself, and have courage or anything that gives you that little bit of fire to do the thing, to benefit you and fight that instant gratification and comfort that your reptilian brain seeks.




As a coach, everything we do is to move clients outside the Boundary Conditions of their Thinking. 

A boundary Condition is a limit of your thinking 

Signs of a Boundary Condition: “I don’t know”… “Umm…”  or confusion/silence/looping.


Step 1. Move the client to cause. 

Step 2.  Change their thinking by breaking through a boundary condition.  

Client isn’t paying for a chat..  They actually want different results – for change... 


As a coach, we will never buy our client’s limits – Ever. You can have evidence, doctor’s letters, I will never buy your limits. EVER. And this is for the purpose of empowerment because suddenly the possibilities are attainable... 

You must be intensely convinced your client can make the change NOW * The only thing holding them back is time and action – NEVER their limits! 

They have what they need to create the change. 


So what’s your first job in helping clients break through boundary conditions? 

- be willing to break through your own.. 


As you do the work, do you think the problems in your comfort zone appear smaller or larger?  

Why? - People are afraid of what they don’t know.

Your current reality is your current comfort level with everything and the moment you do something different – then you’re not comfortable... so you have to experience more pain about staying than changing or nothing happens. The ultimate courage is to act on the pain.. Where else can this apply in life? Weight / Job / Relationships.


The secret to success is to expand your comfort zone – every single day! And do what others won’t do.

- No exceptions / no days off / don’t care if it’s hard 

- If it’s harder, the number of people who do it is smaller 


So what do you want to do? What do you want to have? Now who do you need to be?

Stop this podcast, get your note pad and pen, sit outside under a tree, look up at the leaves and the sky and allow yourself to dream. Dream about all the things you could do. You may have reasons, you may have no reasons at all. Just write everything down. Then pick one and do it. Go. Do it. And enjoy it. It’s a gift you’re giving to yourself.


See you next week!



Hey! Before you go, I always find reviews really helpful when looking for new information or insights…


I you’ve found this podcast valuable, please take a minute to write a quick review about what you’ve found most beneficial for you, so other people can benefit from your insights, and listen in too. I would LOVE that!

Also, if there are any topics you’d like me to cover specifically about life coaching or the life coaching industry, visit to contact me. Thanks for joining and I’ll see you in the next episode of Do I Need A Life Coach?!



Please note, this transcription may not be exact.

Questions? Topic Ideas?

Reach out to Rhiannon today
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