Move Beyond Your Comfort Zone

By |2019-09-03T16:22:05+10:00September 3rd, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness|

Flames pushed at the cold and dark as they eagerly devoured the campfire. In a ring around the fire, I sat with a group of friends. Behind us, the blackness stretched into the unknown. But in the midst of this circle of light and warmth, we shared a place of safety.

Across the circle, the fire danced on the shadowy outline of my friends. We shared this common moment, warmed by the fire and reassured by the light.

But then, from somewhere out there, in the blackness, came a blood-curdling shriek. Eyes quickly turned and a dark fear fell on the circle. Then, out of nowhere, something large and black swooped over our heads and disappeared back into the night. Time for bed.

This story is true; it happened to me when I was young. But a similar story happens to people all the time. It has probably even happened to you too.

I want to show you a picture. Here it is.

comfort zone

This is a picture of that campfire, only this time you are at the centre. The blue circle represents your comfort zone. In our story, this is the circle of friends who faced the warmth and light of the fire, with the darkness at their backs.

This comfort zone is a place of relative ease and security. It represents all those things in your world that are familiar to you. To some extent, you know how to navigate this area. There is a degree of warmth here, and you can see where you are.

But there is another zone behind you, or perhaps in front of you. This is your zone of potential (shown here in magenta). In our story, this zone is represented by the darkness at your back.

This zone of potential is a dark and foreboding place, and it takes courage to venture out there. Many people never do venture into this zone. It is a place of fear. It is the unknown – the concealed. The unexplored. The yet-to-be-discovered.

But, in various ways, it beckons. Sometimes it reaches into your comfort zone, swooping for your attention. It calls you to face your fear and to explore. Because, in some fearful way, you belong there.

These are times when your potential makes itself known. You get a momentary glimpse of what is possible for you. It coaxes you to come and follow, to explore, and to uncover.

But this is a call into darkness, away from the warmth and light of the fire. And it’s a call that, sadly, many people never heed.

I know something about you. You have lots of potential – far more than you realise. But to claim it, you must move out of your zone of comfort and into your zone of potential. And you must stay there. Gradually, your comfort zone will expand, but then your zone of potential may expand along with it.

I’ll tell you one reason why so many people never venture into their zone of potential. It’s because their change fitness isn’t what it should be. The limit of their comfort zone represents the limit of their change fitness.

So, if you ever stare out into the darkness and wonder who might be out there, I’ll tell you. It’s you. It’s the you you have the potential to become. It’s waiting for you to come and find it. Do you have to courage to do that?

Build your change fitness and discover a bigger you.

Written by Dr Steve Barlow

A Difficult Change

By |2019-08-29T17:10:45+10:00August 28th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness|


I want to tell you about one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.

I created a website. 

That might not sound like much but hang in there – there’s an important message I want to get across.

First a little background. I grew up in an age when web sites were only associated with spiders.  And I have spent a long period of my life as a student. I am used to getting my head around modern languages, criminology, psychology, and philosophy.

But when I started a business, I had to hire people to make websites for me. I hadn’t learnt how to do that. So, in the end, I decided it was time to learn how to do it myself.

Now, many people know how to develop a website and now that I know how to do it, it’s relatively easy. But getting to relatively easy was a really hard road for me.

So, let me tell you how the process went; I will break it down into 3 parts.

Getting information

YouTube is my friend. I learnt how to create a website from watching YouTube videos. But be careful: it’s not plain sailing. I found that many instructional videos show older versions of the CMS that the one I was working with. In such cases, instructor may tell you to do something you can’t do anymore. This is frustrating and time-consuming, but it’s far from the worst part.

Understanding the jargon

A more challenging hurdle is learning the lingo. There is a lot of jargon used in website creation and some online instructors don’t account for dummies who are unfamiliar with the right words. It becomes very confusing and you long for some plain English. I found this to be a barrier to learning. But again, not the hardest part.

Learning to think differently

By far the hardest challenge for me was learning how to think differently. I was not a website developer and I didn’t think like one. But I had to learn how to think like a website designer and an online marketer. For me, that was the hardest part of the entire process. Not because that kind of thinking was so difficult; but because it was so different to how I was thinking.

Just like change

Change is often like that. Learning the processes may not be that difficult, but changing your thinking is that difficult.

It was difficult for me to let go of my old ways of thinking. In fact, it was agony. And I blamed lots of people for it – all those YouTube gurus who couldn’t speak plain English and those two-year-old videos. But the truth was, the problem was with me.

If the hardest part of change is learning new processes, it’s not a very challenging change. The much bigger challenge is learning how to think differently. It’s letting go of old ways of thinking and being willing to start at the beginning. In this, I was a beginner and I needed to take baby steps.

And this is where I talk about change fitness because I so wanted to give up. When change becomes painfully difficult and you feel like quitting, it’s your change fitness that will keep you going – or not.  Not if you don’t have enough.

For someone who works in the change business, it’s a good reminder of how difficult change can be. Even simple change, like creating a website. And how much harder when your job may be at stake!

Anyway, that’s my website story and I hope it helps in some way. Love to know what you think.

Written by Dr Steve Barlowa

Where does change fitness coaching fit in?

By |2019-05-23T10:37:15+10:00May 23rd, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching, Managing Change|

We base a lot of what we do and teach on the model shown below.

You get coaching clients because they have a change project. This is the problem they want to overcome or the opportunity they want to grasp, and they want your help to get there.

But there are 4 areas you both must pay attention to.

Four key areas

The first is the change process. Your client will only succeed if they progress successfully through every step of the […]

How should we understand change fitness coaching?

By |2019-05-15T14:10:07+10:00May 15th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching|

We know there are different types of coaches: business coaches, life coaches, executive coaches, career coaches, etc.

So, what’s a change fitness coach? Is it a new type of coaching, or is it something else? This is what we consider in this article.

The real goal

Before we go any further, we must discuss something very important. As coaches, we all have our preferences and our individual pathways through life. Some of us choose to become life coaches, some business coaches, and […]

How much change is ‘too much’?

By |2019-03-21T16:17:29+10:00March 28th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Managing Change|

In this article we examine the perceptions people have of how much change occurs in a workplace, and how those perceptions affect behaviours.

In a 2017 article in the British Journal of Management*, Rafferty and Jimmieson comment on this issue. Let’s examine what they say.

A subjective matter

How much is too much? How much is just right? How much is not much? How you answer questions like these would vary from person to person.

It’s similar when we talk about organisational […]

Change fatigue – the hidden killer

By |2019-03-30T10:52:30+10:00March 28th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Managing Change, Resistance|

Managers are often aware when employees resist change. Resistance is usually a visible thing – people complain, tell negative stories, or get annoyed.

But change fatigue is hidden and managers often fail to recognise it. According to McMillan & Perron (2013), “staff experiencing change fatigue simply shut off and become withdrawn, taking no steps to address issues relating to change initiatives.”

Contributing factors

Here are some factors that contribute to change fatigue:

  • Perceived lack of control – employees feel they have no […]

Recognising The Demands of the Change Process

By |2019-03-25T13:58:27+10:00March 21st, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Leadership, Managing Change|

This article examines why people find change difficult and how managers and leaders can help employees find success.

We all know change is, at times, demanding. It takes us outside our comfort zone and challenge us at every level.

In a 2017 article in the British Journal of Management*, Rafferty and Jimmieson explore three demands that cause people to struggle. Let’s look at them.


The authors write, “any modification to habitual patterns is disturbing, as functioning in repetitive ways helps individuals to […]

Change Fitness and Change Readiness – How are they similar and different?

By |2019-03-02T09:56:39+10:00February 21st, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Change Readiness, Managing Change|

How are change readiness and change fitness similar, and how are they different?

They are similar in that they both relate to the change process. One is about being fit for the change process and the other is about being ready for it.

The Marathon

For example, think of a significant change as though it were a marathon that must be run – it is long, demanding, and difficult. If you’re not fit […]


By |2019-03-25T14:16:25+10:00February 11th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Change Readiness, Leadership, Managing Change|

We need to start thinking more systemically about organisational change. I mean, we need to move beyond the first A (acceptance) and start thinking about the other two (acceptance and adaptability).


Lewin, Hiatt, Kotter and others have helped us think in terms of the first ‘A’ – how managers should approach organisational change. And it’s true – the way managers and leaders approach change makes a difference to how things turn out. They need to clearly understand […]


By |2019-02-27T13:40:32+10:00January 12th, 2019|Categories: Change Fitness, Coaching|

To a greater or lesser extent, many coaches do their work in the applied psychology space. In other words, they are interested in what goes on in the mind of their clients. So, it is important for coaches to help their clients develop a mindset that enables them to achieve what they value.

When we examine what coaches do, we notice two important issues. The first is HOW THEY WORK with clients, and the second is WHAT THEY WORK ON.

How […]