How To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Are you getting out of your comfort zone to achieve your goals?
If you’ve set yourself some challenges or goals and started taking steps towards them, this might be the point where you’re starting to feel a little unsettled. But that’s good news, it means you are pushing the boundaries and it’s time to get out of your comfort zone. You set your goals, your motivation is high, but then doubt starts to creep in. You might lose confidence, or the goals you set seem hard to achieve. Opportunities come along, but you don’t take them, they feel too uncomfortable. You’re getting out of your comfort zone. You really want to achieve your goals, so why do you get stuck?
Your brain is just trying to keep you safe
That hesitation, self-doubt or lack of confidence you feel is just your mind’s way of trying to keep your body safe. Your survival instinct. You’re safe in your comfort zone, your brain is saying don’t take risks, but most likely your heart is calling you to follow your passion.
But why is getting out of your comfort zone so difficult?
There are so many reasons. The biggest one is FEAR. It may be that you don’t feel confident enough to try something new, or you feel too vulnerable, afraid of being judged by others, scared of failure, or scared of the implications of your success. You might be pushing against everything you’ve been taught about safety, common sense, and acting responsibly. All of those thoughts and feelings are your mind’s way of trying to keep you safe. Self-preservation is a strong instinct to overcome.
So how can you get out of your comfort zone?
Well, if you’re feeling brave, you could just dive straight into the unknown and take whatever comes. But if not, and you’re really struggling to leave the safety of your comfort zone, then here are some things to think about.
It may not be as scary out there as you think
We create stories and pre-conceptions about how we think things will turn out, and often we picture the worst-case scenario as our minds try to keep us safe by building our fears. Instead, try to focus on more positive possibilities and outcomes. Which brings me too …
Be okay with ‘failure’
Things don’t always work out as you might have hoped. The best-laid plans don’t always go as expected. Learn to be okay with failure, seeing it as an opportunity to discover that something didn’t work, and a chance to test another idea. The goals we set for ourselves in life are important to us, and we have a huge emotional investment in the things that we want to achieve. It’s painful when things don’t work out, but learning to manage expectations and accepting that sometimes things don’t go to plan, helps build resilience and gives you the strength to get back up and try again.
Every time you try, your comfort zone expands
Each time you take that one step forward, your comfort zone expands. Even if things don’t work out as you hoped, it’s still progress. You tried, you pushed through the barrier, and you survived to tell the tale. Now you can try again from that new starting point.
Be brave enough to be vulnerable
Being okay with vulnerability will make it easier to push the limits of your comfort zone. Accept that sometimes you need to allow yourself to feel exposed and vulnerable in order to take that next step.
Don’t get trapped in someone else’s comfort zone
When you’re trying something new, try not to let other people’s opinions affect you. Remember that people might think you’re crazy or just not understand, but this is because what you’re doing is outside of their comfort zone, or doesn’t fit the stories they’ve told themselves for protection. Don’t try to take anyone into the unknown with you if they’re determined to stay in their comfort zone. They’ll join you when they’re ready.
So, are you ready to step outside of your comfort zone? Can you make a commitment to yourself right now to do just one thing that’s outside of your comfort zone? I’d love to hear about your experience of getting out of your comfort zone. You can tell me about it here.
Ruth Randall is a Life Coach and Employee Wellbeing Specialist. Ruth helps busy professionals to balance career, family, relationships and wellbeing, to make life and work less stressful. She also works with teams to improve employee wellbeing and mental health in the workplace.