What is your comfort zone?
You often hear the saying ‘stepping out of your comfort zone’, but what is your comfort zone? Why do we happily stay inside our comfort zone even if, deep down, we know it might not be the best place for us to be? Remember that you are capable of so much more than you ever believe. When you step out to try new experiences and you hear that little voice pulling you back, gently remind yourself that there is no such thing as ‘fail’. ‘Fail’ simply means my ‘first attempt in learning’.
Why is it important to step outside your comfort zone?
Personal growth: personal growth means spending more of your time in the growth zone, where you will develop the skill of being comfortable being uncomfortable.
Create momentum: what can seem like small marginal gains start to stack together and the multiplying effect of these small gains in several areas creates a force and rhythm that becomes self-perpetuating.
Increased productivity: with increased levels of focus, self-confidence and belief, you can make things happen. You increase productivity by doing the things you never thought possible.
Eliminate fear: you have control over how you think, but don’t leave it to chance. If you don’t proactively use your mind to work for you, then by default it will subconsciously start to work against you.
Enhance performance: stretching and pushing your boundaries, testing new ideas, failing fast and recovering quickly, and discovering what works and bottling it, so you can replicate it again, will all enhance your performance.
Self-fulfilment: forward momentum and a new-found level of productivity will help you to reshape your growth zone and lead you down a path of self-fulfilment by finding purpose in your life.
Top tips for stepping out of your comfort zone
Take small steps: it’s less daunting and you are less likely to set yourself up for failure. Break up large tasks into manageable chunks. You can of course go hell for leather and sign yourself up for a marathon, but maybe set your sights a little lower and try a 5km run first.
Diminish the fear: if the prospect of doing something new is scary, try to figure out why. If you have always wanted to start your own business but you feel too scared to do it, analyse why. Is it because you are unsure of where to start? Is it because you are nervous of the competition?
Stop scaring yourself: do you find that sometimes your fears get the better of you? How often do you project fear into the future by creating stories in your head of what could go wrong, rather than what could go right?
Drop perfectionism: it can hold you back and become a confidence killer. To step out of your comfort zone, you need to put your desire for perfection aside and lower the high standards you set yourself. Sometimes bronze, rather than gold, is all that is needed.
Stop procrastinating: if you’re constantly saying, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow,’ you are just giving yourself an opt-out pass. Recognise when you are procrastinating and make a start.
Celebrate your achievements: when you accomplish something outside of your comfort zone, give yourself a pat on the back. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit there and think, ‘You know what? I did that – and it feels good.’
Say yes more: when you are stuck in the security of your comfort zone, it’s easier to say no, rather than yes. So, when someone asks you to do something, don’t let your initial reaction be a no. Nod and say yes, or at least say, ‘I’ll think about it.’
Challenge your inner critic: if you lack confidence, there is probably a lot of negative chatter going on in your head. Recognise the negative self-talk and turn it into positive self-talk. ‘I can’t do this’ turns into ‘There is no reason why I can’t do this’, or ‘It’s bound to go wrong’ turns into ‘I’m fully prepared and there is no reason for things to go wrong’.
Overcome uncomfortable: it will be uncomfortable stepping outside of your comfort zone, but these feelings will be short-lived. Yes, there is the initial fear and discomfort, but when these feelings pass – and they do quickly – you will soon realise that you can do it.
Set a challenge: get used to going out of your comfort zone. Set yourself a challenge and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be an ‘I’ll climb Mount Everest’ challenge but something simple that you know will push you a little. Go to the women’s business lunch that you have been avoiding.
Get it into perspective: how many times in your life have you worked yourself up into a frenzy about something only for it to work out OK? Try to put things into perspective, stop worrying as much and relax and have some fun.
How it has a profound impact on others
When you spend time stepping outside your comfort zone, two amazing things happen. First, you become like a magnet – attracting people into your life who can help you accelerate the journey towards attaining your goals both personally and professionally. Second, you help others to grow – whether consciously or unconsciously, you become a role model, a mentor, a coach. You become a flashing beacon for others to follow and aspire to – and making a positive impact on the lives of others is an incredibly fulfilling and worthy goal.
How are you going to step out of your comfort zone?
This blog was inspired by Lou from @WomanReadyBlog and Royston Guest