Hilary DeCesare Of The ReLaunch On How to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone to Grow Both Personally and Professionally

An Interview With Maria Angelova


Pinpoint a memory with a similar situation to your current feeling of discomfort. I was able to recall a humiliating incident where I performed in front of my grade school, and my girlhood idol, Helen Reddy, who sang the iconic song I Am Woman was in attendance. I completely froze while trying to deliver a Shakespearean Monologue and had to be led off the stage.

It feels most comfortable to stick with what we are familiar with. But anyone who has achieved great success will tell you that true growth comes from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. What are some ways that influential people have pushed themselves out of their comfort zone to grow both personally and professionally? As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Hilary DeCesare.

Hilary DeCesare is an award-winning entrepreneur featured on the reality show “Secret Millionaire” who helps women turn typical life transitions into transformation. DeCesare has been coaching women in her Silicon Valley success methods for decades. Her latest book, “RELAUNCH: Spark Your Heart to Ignite Your Life” (newly revised as of Jan 2023!) details what’s beyond IQ and EQ … HQ. DeCesare created her proprietary 3HQ™ method combining business acumen with her neuro-coaching certification so women combine their head, heart, and higher self to create new brain patterns that shed limiting beliefs to reveal an authentic, satisfying self-image that leads to success at home, at work, and in relationships. Learn more about Hilary’s programs in the circle and how they can help you today at TheReLaunchCo.com.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

My backstory really begins amidst my parents divorce when I was 5 years old. I spent my early years flying back and forth between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Surprisingly, my parents both immediately remarried, and I now had two families with completely different lifestyles that I was juggling at a young age. By the time I went to college, I had lived in eight different homes–talk about disruption.

Charles Darwin would be proud, because I quickly gained an ineptitude to adapting to new places, a revolving door of relationships, and consistently missing important events paired with the usual teenage drama. As a result, I’ve learned a life-long formula to reinvention, restarting and relaunching.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

The quote that has had the most profound impact on my life is when Maya Angelou said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

It’s hard to not compare yourself to others, but this quote really gave me an awareness of the fact that someone’s ending is not my beginning. This allowed me to be ok with the journey.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I would say The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and John Assaraf (who had a role in the movie and a significant part of the book) is one of the top most-impactful books I have read (more than a few times). This book challenged me to put The Law of Attraction to the test. As someone with a background in psychology and fact-driven data, I wanted to see for myself if it was merely hocus pocus or actually something I could master.

So, I put my attention on attracting this man, John Assaraf, into my life. And as I usually do, I opted to take the law of attraction one step further. I wasn’t going to just meet him; I was going to be selected as a coach for his elite mastermind group. I took what I learned in The Secret, created a simple action plan, and 6 weeks later I met John Assaraf and he extended the offer to become one of his coaches. Now, I teach others to do what I had done, and to become manifestation magnets using the law of attraction.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s start with a basic definition so that all of us are on the same page. What does “getting outside of your comfort zone” mean?

The comfort zone is a term that keeps us stuck in our current identity, keeping us tuned out. When we push past the limits of our comfort zone, that is when growth begins. This process of breaking through is critical in creating a lifestyle of success that is designed by you.

Can you help articulate a few reasons why it is important to get out of your comfort zone?

Getting out of your comfort zone is critical for a number of reasons, but most importantly, If you want your business to continually grow, you can’t stay stagnant as your business reaches new heights. You have to be thinking of new creative products, creative ways of doing business, creative ways of meeting customer expectations, etc. A great example of this is as stated by William S. Borroughs, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying”.

Being in your comfort zone means that you are not evolving or expanding and your results will match the zone you are in. The ReLaunch Co. defines the level beyond your comfort zone as the “G-Zone” where growth, genius and gratitude prevail.

Is it possible to grow without leaving your comfort zone? Can you explain what you mean?

Comfort zones are defined as the psychological state that makes a person feel safe, familiar and in control. However, it also can be a place of complacency, which means you aren’t growing. When you don’t push the boundary of this safe zone, you aren’t doing anything new or unfamiliar. Einstein said it best, “You can’t solve a problem and the level it was created.” If you want to grow, you have to go up a level and expand your skills, knowledge, capabilities and discover new things about yourself that (you guessed it) opens you up to growth.

Can you share some anecdotes from your personal experience? Can you share a story about a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone and how it helped you grow? How does it feel to take those first difficult steps?

In my book, Relaunch! Spark Your Heart to Ignite Your Life, I tell the story of the time I had been selected to go onstage in front of a thousand people — including the top New York Times tech reporter–and give a six-minute pitch. All of the heavy hitters within my industry were going to be there. This was definitely out of my comfort zone.

I had practiced my pitch until it was letter perfect, but at the final rehearsal, a panic attack set in. My hands were shaking and I could barely hold my index cards. My business partner at the time threw out the idea of withdrawing all together. This was one of those moments when all those years of practicing resetting kicked in.

I knew I could do this. I spent the next 12 hours leading up to the presentation tuning into positive affirmations to reset my state of mind: “I could do this”, “I was good enough”, “I belonged in this room”. Telling myself these things gave me the confidence to tackle my fears–and in the end–give a knockout presentation.

I didn’t know it then, but that presentation was the first step in teaching myself how to get out of preconceived negative thoughts that were holding me back from the person I knew I could be.

Whenever I face a particularly tough challenge today, I use a highly effective process I created called Tune In.

Here is the central question of our discussion. What are your “five ways to push past your comfort zone, to grow both personally and professionally”?

Here’s the five stages I recommend you go through to push past your comfort zone:

Stage 1: Realization: This is about identifying the true challenge you’re battling with inside. You need to recognize that the issue is not an effect of your circumstances or anyone else– you are solely responsible. To get to this stage of recognition, you can revisit your past to search for clues. For me, all those years of instability stuck with me into adulthood.

Stage 2: Awareness: Pinpoint a memory with a similar situation to your current feeling of discomfort. I was able to recall a humiliating incident where I performed in front of my grade school, and my girlhood idol, Helen Reddy, who sang the iconic song I Am Woman was in attendance. I completely froze while trying to deliver a Shakespearean Monologue and had to be led off the stage.

Not surprisingly, I had pushed this memory out of my consciousness for decades. Fear remained as my automatic default in any relevant situation. Once I realized why this was happening, I was able to tune out of that anxiety-ridden state of mind and tune into a different channel emotionally.

Stage 3 : Belief: This stage starts with truly believing you’re capable of achieving the desired outcome of leaving your comfort zone. Again leveraging affirmations, I told myself that I was good enough to belong, to lead, to deliver an exceptional presentation and to win. This Stage of my Relaunch process propelled me past my autopilot self to eventually emerge as the person I really was, rather than the girl who was stuck in her fear.

Stage Four: The Relaunch Flip: It’s time to flip the script. I needed to flip the script on the belief that I was (and would always be) a trembling mess at the podium and create change via action. Science has proven that 85 percent of our unconscious thoughts are negative. Our brain wants to protect us, so, to do that, it avoids change. Stability is safe and comfortable. Who wants to lose that?

The fact is, I was defaulting to this old memory because my brain was trying to keep me away from the stage where I would go into panic mode. As we flip the script, we see an opportunity to beat the odds and create a new conversation within ourselves. Eventually, a new vision of who you can be will emerge.

Stage Five: Retrain The Brain: We are not born with our habits; We create them and stick by them. It’s up to us to replace them if they no longer have value to us. Science says you need to repeat an action up to 10,000 times in order to create a new habit — to replace the old, destructive one.

It’s as easy as replacing potato chips with an apple. You hold the remote to your own show of life. Pick up the remote and change from Channel Chip to Channel Apple. Do it often enough, and that’s your new habit.

From your experience or perspective, what are some of the common barriers that keep someone from pushing out of their comfort zone?

Movement and growth require change and effort. Pushing past the limits of our comfort zone is no different. There are 6,250 thoughts that flood our minds every day. 85% of those thoughts are prewired to be negative. The brain wants to choose the path of least resistance so when it approaches the walls of doubt, uncertainty, fear of failure, lack of confidence, social pressures- our mind works to keep us safely tucked away in the area of our comfort. We have to blast through these limiting beliefs with intention if we truly want to break down the barriers of our comfort zone. The people that are willing to blast those beliefs with change and effort will see growth.

There is a well-known quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt that says, “Do something that scares you every day”. What exactly does this mean to you? Is there inherent value in doing something that pushes you out of your comfort zone, even if it does not relate to personal or professional growth? For example, if one is uncomfortable about walking alone at night should they purposely push themselves to do it often for the sake of going beyond their comfort zone? Can you please explain what you mean?

I’m a huge fan of pushing, and not keeping yourself in the box; the answers lie outside of the box, so do something that scares you every day. When you do something that involves growth every day, then you’re opening yourself up to an understanding that you don’t have all the answers. That there’s so much more to learn. And that we are like sponges for knowledge, which means that as we go to understand more, more gets confusing. So as we go down the path of trying to figure it all out, it literally causes us more confusion. There’s inherent value in doing something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Every time I try to understand it more, I find one new answer gives me 10 new questions. For example, I recently tried a new AI App. I’m obsessed now with learning how much more I can learn.

Even if it does not relate to personal or professional growth, I would say I’m constantly questioning and asking myself, “How can I spark my passion and how can I ignite my purpose?” When you’re pushing towards something that scares you every day, it means that you’re pushing the edge of the envelope. You’re trying to constantly create new sparks that will ignite your life and your soul. The lighthouse is only valuable when it’s lit up. Tune In to what you really want and give yourself access to the tools, so you can get out of your head and change that mental channel over to your emotions. How do you make that shift? It’s a process I call the 3HQ™, meaning a continuum that takes you from the head, through the heart, to the higher self, the best version of you.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I hope to spark the “Tune In Movement”, to give people one exercise they can cling onto and elevate themselves to a new state of mind– To not be thinking at the energy level of shame and hate, but to operate from an energy level of peace, love and joy. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, we are all enveloped by massive forces of change–many of which are out of our control. We live in this perpetual state of forced relaunches. But, by controlling our own responses, we flip the process on its head and guide ourselves from low-energy states like fear, hate and anger to find high-energy states like love, joy, and fulfillment. When we give ourselves this gift, we win.

The Tune-In Stages are:

1. What is your biggest Challenge that is holding you back?

2. Change the Channel by tuning into a song that lights you up. Play the song in your head.

3. What would it feel like to not have that challenge? Tune in again to the song

4. What is one step you can do now to have forward momentum

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

If I had my choice to spend an afternoon with anyone, it would probably be Katie Couric. My mom died of colon cancer. Katie’s first husband died of colon cancer. She’s now battling breast cancer. I am a melanoma survivor. She wants to be a conduit of knowledge for people. I want to be a conduit of hope for people.

Her book is titled Going There.It’s about looking backwards — peering into the past. My book is titled ReLaunch! — It’s about looking at the future and relaunching yourself into what’s next. If we were to be brought together, diving into your past (not to dwell on it) but to discover the silver linings, is one of the first steps towards navigating the future with understanding and awareness– it’s fertile ground for the ultimate relaunch.

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Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at angelova@rebellious-intl.com. To schedule a free consultation, click here.



Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.
Authority Magazine

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.