‘To get something you’ve never had you have to do something you’ve never done'
When was the last time that you jumped out of your comfort zone? Stepping out of our comfort zone every now and again can be essential for helping us to grow as individuals and be happy.
It gets us out there into the big wide world. In addition, it tests our limits, ignites our senses, and helps us to form deeper connections with others.
With the world, experience comes a sense of achievement and greater confidence. Consequently, with improved confidence comes the drive to continue living as big and bold a life as possible.
Think back to some of the most momentous experiences and moments of your life to date. The chances are that it was during these great moments that you took a leap of faith.
Maybe you tried something new or scary and broke free of your comfort zone. You see, it is when we think and act outside of the box that our lives are set on fire.
We experience the most dazzling emotions and heart-stopping excitement. It is when we are outside of our comfort zone that we are at our most alive.
All that said, how do you work out exactly how far outside of your comfort zone you should go? And how do you know when you're actually doing it?
We'll work our way through what is essentially a “comfort zone chat” explaining four distinct areas – the comfort zone, the fear zone, the learning zone, and the growth zone.
Let's start with your comfort zone – that relaxing, safe place you need to leave if you're going to grow.
Being in this place is about doing things that don't challenge you, and that stop you from taking risks. For example, if you binge TV shows on your sofa instead of applying to a job that might be good for you, this is staying in your comfort zone.
In time, we get restless in this place, and what was once so comfortable becomes less comfortable. We realize if we're going to be fulfilled, we have to develop.
However, there are two further zones that you have to pass through before you can embrace true growth.
It's scary to leave your comfort zone, so it makes sense that the first new place you reach is the fear zone. Our bodies have evolved to make us feel fear of things that might hurt us, in an attempt to keep us safe.
So, when we first try to venture into the unknown, we get that jolt of terror. We worry that we will encounter more negatives than positives and we fret about our ability to deal with adversity.
The first step to calming this anxiety and moving into a place of learning is to really face the specifics of the fear – more on this below!
Past the fear zone is the learning zone, where you are calmer but may also become frustrated.
This is the point in your development when you feel like you don't have things quite under control. Life can feel hectic and exhausting, as we face multiple challenges each day.
Try to focus on the fact that all of these new difficulties are promoting growth and giving you opportunities for learning. Each time you feel like sighing or giving up, ask yourself “What can I learn here?”.
The faster you're willing to learn, the more quickly you'll reach the point where real growth kicks in.
Finally, when you've powered through the fear and learning zones, you reach the growth zone! This is the place where you'll be able to feel good about yourself and about the challenges you face.
Make sure to congratulate yourself and reflect on all you did to get here. You're now at a point where you can become your highest self and fulfill your potential.
However, make sure you regularly reflect on whether you've reached a new comfort zone. You can expect the comfort to growth cycle to repeat multiple times over your lifetime, though its frequency will diminish as your growth increases.
A life lived outside of your comfort zone is one without regret… so why keep playing it safe?
As human beings, we like to think that we are at our best and our safest when we are living neatly within the realms of our comfort zone. We like the safe and the familiar. But what is it that is really preventing us from taking the step across the invisible line of our comfort zones?
The answer is simple: fear. It is the fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar. It is also the fear of losing control over our lives or fear of what others may think of us.
There are all kinds of reasons why we may be too scared to cross that boundary into an unfamiliar (and much happier) life.
However, they all begin with fear.
Recommended article: Ancient & Almost Forgotten Law Of Sacrifice
It is true that we are often our own worst enemy. This is especially true when it comes to taking the first step towards change.
We often try to convince ourselves that we are happy when we are not, or remind ourselves of the worst-possible-case scenario, rather than choosing to focus on the excitement that the world has to offer us.
Escaping your comfort zone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go naked bungee-jumping over a pit of crocodiles (unless you want to of course).
It could be something as simple as standing up to someone that you disagree with, traveling somewhere new, going professional with a hobby you love… the list goes on. Having said this, as you break further and further away from your comfort zone the more ambitious you can become.
Now, let's move on to explore how you can get out of your comfort zone, starting today.
When followed carefully and honestly, these six steps will help you accept and embrace fear, lean into learning, and finally grow into the person you were always destined to be.
When the opportunity to do something new comes our way, we are often too quick to dismiss it or to begin reeling off the excuses. We find ourselves stumbling over excuse upon excuse, feeding ourselves the usual spiel.
Examples may include ‘I can’t because I don’t have enough money/time/experience’ or ‘It’s not the right time, maybe when I have more money/experience/time’.
These delay tactics may have some truth to them, you may not currently have much money or time, or experience. But in life, when is there ever a right time?
The time is now! So, learn to start saying ‘Yes!’ to every opportunity that comes your way, no matter how big or small.
Knowingly or unknowingly, you have attracted this opportunity into your life so seize it with both hands! It is important to remember that we are never given more than we can handle. Have trust in yourself, say yes, and never look back.
Remember that it is completely natural to fear the unknown.
Years of evolutionary programming have led you to detect threats to your safety and to hide from them. To leave our comfort zones we need to stop giving fear so much control over us.
But how do we beat this innate anxiety we feel? Firstly, try to specify exactly what you're scared of. For example, if you're stepping out of your comfort zone by asking someone on a date, why is that scary?
Perhaps you'll boil it down to “fear of rejection“. Next – and this is the crucial stage – make a concrete plan for dealing with this feared result.
For example, perhaps you'll commit to asking someone else out the following week, and make yourself feel better the next day by watching something that makes you laugh.
Now, you've disarmed fear by showing yourself you have the capacity for dealing with the worst outcome.
It's also important to accept that leaving your comfort zone will by definition always be uncomfortable to a degree. You can work to dampen fear, but you need to get comfortable with discomfort.
To do this, don't try to push discomfort away. Instead, let yourself feel it, and let yourself acknowledge that this is a natural response. Next, challenge what you believe at that moment.
Is it really true? How might you argue against the part of yourself that thinks you're in a bad situation?
In addition, aim to reframe the way you think about being uncomfortable. Start trying to see it as a good sign that you're moving forward.
It's like a litmus test for whether you're moving out of your comfort zone.
If you're uncomfortable, you deserve to be rewarded for bravery, and you should be excited about what's to come. You're on the path to better things.
It's highly likely that some people in your life are more supportive than others. For example, sometimes friends or family members mean well but actually encourage you to stay stuck in your comfort zone because they don't want you to feel scared or unhappy.
To facilitate proper movement into the fear, learning, and growth zones, try to make sure you spend plenty of time with the right people.
These will be close friends and family members who have a positive, optimistic outlook and help you bounce back in times of difficulty.
The other types of people who can help your growth are those who have already accomplished what you've set out to do.
For example, if you're working toward a professional goal, is there someone who can play the role of a mentor? Or do you have particular friends who have already triumphed over their comfort zones, and who can serve as inspirations?
If you have always struggled to live outside of your comfort zone, then this is probably a result of how you have chosen to interpret life in the past.
The way we choose to interpret things can have a huge impact on what we associate them with for the rest of our adult lives.
So, if you once made the decision to step outside of your comfort zone and it didn’t go too well for you, you may now try to avoid any new situations or opportunities at all costs.
For you, stepping outside of your comfort zone has connotations of absolute dread, embarrassment, or fear.
So, if you don’t like the way you currently view life outside of your comfort zone, why not create a whole new picture?
Begin to tell yourself positive stories of when you or others have stepped outside of your comfort zone and have been rewarded for it.
When you think about all of the new and exciting opportunities that are waiting for you, feel excited! Have belief in yourself and be your number one cheerleader every step of the way.
Motivate yourself with thoughts of how good it will feel. Plus, think of how proud you will be once you have taken that first step.
You can do it. Take that first leap from your comfort zone and who knows how far you can go. Who knows if you’ll ever even come back?
Do make sure that your life isn't just about meeting challenges and pushing yourself forward. Allow yourself to celebrate your success!
Not only is this healthy and well-deserved, but it actually allows your brain to make new connections between happiness and leaving your comfort zone.
As such, you may find it's easier to move outside that comfort zone in the future.
What does celebrating the happy zone look like? Firstly, note that you can celebrate any milestone, big or small.
Secondly, try to think of something you can do to celebrate in private and more socially.
Is there someone you can talk to about your journey, who will congratulate and support you? And how can you take a day for self-care so that you replenish your energy for the next big growth period?
Remember, self-care can involve anything, as long as it's healthy and makes you feel good.
‘Sometimes it is good to be in uncomfortable situations because it is in finding our way out of such difficulties that we learn valuable lessons.'
― Idowu Koyenikan
‘Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and awesome in the end…because in the end, it shows you a whole new world !!
Make an attempt.'
– Manoj Arora
‘The only time you are actually growing is when you are uncomfortable.'
– T. Harv Eker
‘I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don't want to shrink back just because something isn't easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can't and I can.'
– Kristin Armstrong
‘Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it's a small price to pay for living a dream.'
– Peter McWilliams
As we've seen, leaving your comfort zone is vital if you want to reach your full potential and experience true fulfillment.
Why not try self-hypnosis to support your growth? By tapping into your self-consciousness and helping you rewrite limiting beliefs, self-hypnosis helps you face fears, feel okay about failures, and understand what you need to do in order to grow.
You're already on the path to success, but this could be the extra little push you need to reach greatness!