Oh comfort zone – how we love thee. With life getting busier by the day – work, kids, partners, maybe trying to get to the gym, more work – we tend to opt to stay where we feel safe. Our own personal comfort zone is where we physically and psychologically want to be. It is where we believe there is less anxiety and stress, it’s the emotionally-neutral zone. After all, life throws enough curved balls at us on a daily basis. Why would we want to deliberately rock the boat?
‘In the long run our comfort zone becomes our uncomfortable zone.’ Charles F Glassman
Too often we are merely operating on automatic pilot, and this is no fun at all! We stay in that job we aren’t 100 per cent happy with, or maintain a toxic relationship or friendship, or go through same boring routines every day without batting an eyelid. We do this because, quite frankly, the effort of making change seems far greater than venturing into the unknown.
Fear is a consistent driving force here. Whether you are scared of failing, or getting hurt, or hurting someone else – you stay stuck. The sad reality is that not stepping out of the comfort ultimately ends in you becoming quite uncomfortable. There are things you yearn to do and a person inside you want to be, but you end up settling.
I have some good news for you – it doesn’t have to be this way.
‘As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.’ Robin Sharma
Humans are designed to evolve, grow, have experiences and transition. You can see that clearly when looking at babies turning into children. It is when we become adults that fear and comfort zones become a reality and potentially our self-imposed jails. You are not able to live the authentic, bold, free life you deserve.
For you, perhaps stress is a factor that keeps you in your comfort zone (it is easier to stay put), but remember that stress is not necessarily a bad thing. Healthy stress is merely friction and can be quite energising. When dealing with frequent stress, use that as energy and impetus to break old habits and make a change.
‘To the degree we’re not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us that we have over ourselves.’ Peter McWilliams
It is time to break free from your comfort zone, change your mindset and start living your life the way you want to. Put the colour back in your world and try something new!
Here are five great reasons to take a chance and step out of your comfort zone.
That elusive self-confidence you are seeking is right there, just on the other side of your comfort zone boundary. It takes a little courage to step outside, but trust me, you will survive and thrive. You will have more momentum, more drive and more energy to keep pushing your own personal boundaries.
Remember the last time you did something that was a bit scary? Remember the exhilaration you felt when you completed it? When I ran the first webinar for my coaching and mentoring program, the fear and anticipation before I turned the camera on was palpable. Afterwards however, the exhilaration and pride of having tried something new and the increased confidence to take it further was incredible! This gave me a real boost and the self-confidence I needed to trust my ability in achieving my goals. You have the power to feel the same.
2. Challenging yourself for improved performance
Ever heard the term rise to the occasion? That is what happens when you raise the bar and step outside your comfort zone. You become more alert and focused, the adrenaline is pumping and you are alive and energised. You have fuelled your fire and learned how to be enthusiastic again! Stop sleep-walking through life, instead move your fear aside and see what other opportunities are out there.
3. Expand your comfort zone and see new opportunities.
Rest assured, the more you push your boundaries, the easier it becomes. Eventually you will be cultivating one of the sought after ‘big five’ personality traits – openness to new experiences. You will be slowly removing your blinkers and a whole new world will open up. You may be surprised by the opportunities awaiting you!
4. Develop resilience
Failure isn’t final – it is only feedback! If you have stepped up and taken action, no matter the outcome, you have still done something and had a new experience. You will always be gifted with learning, growth and feedback for next time, so don’t give up. Every time you are brave enough to step outside your comfort zone, you are building resilience that will buoy you in working up the courage to try again. Entrepreneurs are very blessed if their first venture takes off, sometimes it is 1000th time, just ask Colonel Sanders!
5. Age better
As people age, their have-new-experiences-muscles get flabby and their comfort zone decreases if not frequently stretched. Those who continue to challenge themselves will enjoy a better sense of well-being as the years go by, and may may even reduce their chance of developing certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Experiencing new things helps grow neural pathways, even into older age. This means we function better, think better and communicate better – all while enjoying the life we have created!
‘By the age of 60 a person has swapped the broadness of their mind and the narrowness of their waist.’ Anon
Moving out of your comfort zone does not have to be a huge undertaking – baby steps are fine. One of my favourite sayings is ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!’
So, give yourself permission to be the person you want to be and do the things you want to do. Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens! You can live freely, create new paths for yourself and move forward in your life with confidence, resilience and opportunities aplenty.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Feel free to share it with like-minded friends and family – sometimes we all need a little reminder to get off that hamster wheel every now and then. As a trained life coach as well as someone who knows first-hand how hard it can be to have-be-do it all, I can help you break through your blockages and live a more free, balanced life by design.
Try answering these 5 questions to understand your own comfort zone and let us know your insights in the comments box – we would love to hear from you.