Artists live outside comfort zones

Is it Time to Leave Your Comfort Zone? [58]

What is your optimum comfort level? Do you work well under a bit of pressure or would you rather stay just where you know?

Apple podcast

This week, we’re discussing comfort zones. This is a phrase coined by a business consultant called Alasdair White who described it as: “a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person, and they are at ease, and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress.

In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.” That doesn’t sound too bad does it? But psychologist Robert Yerkes suggested that to perform at our best we need to be in a state of what he called ‘optimal anxiety.’  Too anxious and our performance goes down, but it seems that we are at our most creative when we are just outside of what is comfortable for us.

This week, we discuss these ideas and debate whether it’s necessary to stay comfortable and safe in some areas so that we can be brave and bold in others. We also offer some questions you can use to determine whether you are working at ‘optimal anxiety’ or whether you are holding yourself back. Those questions are:

  • What areas are your comfort zones? Is this where I want to be?
  • How am I feeling about this? (What beliefs are holding me in this energy space?)
  • Where might a risk it take me? (Long-term benefit)
  • Where am I over-complicating this? (how could I make it easy?)

Other topics this week include the value of community, an unusual approach to painting edges, and a new way of looking at an ‘impossible’ project


Nicholas Wilton CVP program

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“Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

1 reply
  1. Deborah George
    Deborah George says:

    Alice and Louise, This episode spoke volumes to me. In particular, the question, “What’s the secondary gain?” For me, I had to ask myself what is the secondary gain in not getting off my rump after 3 months of doing nothing related to art?” When I took a serious look I realized that it was because I was comfortable doing “nothing”. After searching for a place to live, buying a home with my husband, selling our old place, moving, packing/unpacking, and my mother’s illness, surgery, decline, and death it felt good to just sit and “soak it all in”. I moved from a place I disliked INTENSELY to my happy place. Any direction I travel I am 1-2 miles from water. Evergreens are everywhere. I get to wear jeans, boots, and sweaters daily (I am a winter person and I love it). My husband arrived to be here with me after staying behind for 2 months to “close up shop”. My kitten is sitting in my lap as I write you. I walk along the beach and in the woods 2x/day with the pup. I sat in my living room watching snow fall for a week mesmerized by the flakes. Once I understood the head and heart space I was in and why my direction began to change. CVP 2020 started. My inspiration board “exploded” with things that excite me, move me. My temporary studio is now organized and ready for me to “kick ass”. I have been purchasing items for the garage studio that will come to fruition once we tackle a couple major issues. Thank you so much for asking one simple question. Now that I have committed this to “paper” I feel a bit nervous. Why? I have to produce now! See you in Art2LIfe.

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