‘Were you scared to step out of your comfort zone?’
‘How did you overcome your anxiety?’
These are some questions people ask when stepping out of their comfort zone.
Well, it is not absurd to fret at taking a step out of your comfort zone – challenging yourself to do something you have never done before.
However, in the contemplation process of leaving our comfort zone, we find ourselves downgrading abilities we have never tested. It is advised to test the water before getting in but in most cases, we neither test the water nor dive in.
Both testing the waters and diving in could be scary but possible only outside your comfort zone. So how do this works?
Before I plunge into that, there are some underlying factors to why you haven’t stepped out of your comfort zone.
Some of these include the reason why you haven’t stepped out of your comfort zone, and what is on the other side of your comfort zone? What are you committed to? All these we are going to discuss in this post.
What exactly is a comfort zone? A comfort zone is a position whereby you are familiar and comfortable with every outcome. It’s a position where you engage only in things within your control. It is being unable to stretch beyond the self-given elasticity limit.
The major keyword here is being familiar, comfortable, and in control. If you are accustomed to these words, you should keep reading.
So why is a comfort zone an unsafe zone?
It is unsafe because there is no space for growth. There will be no growth in a place where change is not encouraged!
Since the comfort zone is unsafe, why do we still find people there?
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown
Why you haven’t stepped out of your comfort zone
“I have talked to myself a million times about purse my dream job but I still find myself stuck in this same abusive job.”
The above scenario is one of the common situations seen in today’s society. We find people willing to step out of their comfort zone but are crippled by fear.
I’m aware that everyone experiences a kind of fear. But what kind of fear do you experience? Is it fear of change/growth or fear of reptiles?
Using the aforementioned scenario it’s obvious that the comfort zone breeds on the fear of change. Infant, it can be said that comfort zone is found based on the fear of change.
So why are you afraid of change?
According to research, uncertainty feels similar to failure in our brains. Due to this, you may find yourself uncomfortable with change because of the uncertainty that surrounds it.
When you aren’t sure about a certain outcome, you make a scenario that is often negative. This in turn creates worry and encourages you to stay back in your comfort zone.
Also, the fear of failure partially contributes to the fear of change. Since the result of an event is unknown, you may rather not apply for your dream job because you are scared of being rejected.
Thus, the fear of change is the answer to why you haven’t step out of your comfort zone.
“Don’t let fear make your decisions for you.” – Annette White.
What is on the other side of your comfort zone?
Simply put, ‘change’ is what is on the other side of your comfort zone. A change that will propel you to your place of growth and fulfillment.
As earlier discussed, the reason you are still in your comfort zone is because of fear of change. However, along with this fear of change is also the feeling of ‘I don’t think I will fit in.’
In other words, the other side of your comfort is a place you think you won’t ‘fit in’.
Try to remember the last time you to wanted to leave your comfort zone, what were the first discouraging thoughts that crossed your mind?
- ‘I don’t think I will get employed in that organization. They are very sophisticated so I won’t apply.’
- ‘I don’t think I will try to socialize with anyone today, besides they all see me as an Introvert and nerd.’
Funnily, all these negative outcomes are just in our heads and because we are stuck in our heads, we might never know what is on the other side of our comfort zone.
You might never get to experience the change you desire in your life if you don’t get out of your head and take action.
However, before you take action you need to decide what you are committed to.
“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone.” – Billy Cox.
What are you committed to?
The question you need to ask yourself is ‘am I committed to my dreams or my comfort zone?’ What am I doing to actualize my dreams or am I fixated on a particular place?
Your answers to these simple questions will tell you what you are committed to. If you’re committed to your comfort zone, you might find out that you still have a long bucket list that is dated three years ago.
That is because those items on the bucket list started as desires. Commitment starts with desire but when that desire isn’t accompanied by an action, it becomes a mere wish.
Make a decision today to start working towards actualizing your dreams. Pick up that bucket list and start making plans on how to tick off some of those listed items.
Alongside taking these bold steps, you also need to build a resilient spirit. It is wonderful that you decided to be committed to your dreams but what happens when the going becomes tough? Do you quit or forge ahead?
Of course, you are going to forge ahead because you have done it before by leaving your comfort zone so you can do it again by moving forward.
Additionally, depending on what you are working to achieve, you might need the help of a mentor. A mentor will act as both your cheerleader and accountability partner.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca
The beginning of a chapter comes by the end of the other
Starting a new chapter in one’s life isn’t always an easy decision. But there is certainly something beneficial in that journey.
So what is in for you when you step out of your comfort zone?
Here are four benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone:
1. You become more confident in your abilities
Engaging in activities that you have never done before has a way of showing your strengths and making your talent more pronounced.
Unlike prior times when you find yourself doubting your abilities because you haven’t tested the waters. This time, you are more aware of your abilities and also confident in them because they have been tested.
2. You have more life experience
When you try something that is out of your familiar reach, you become more knowledgeable and skilled. That is because you are opportune to share ideas and work with people who are more experienced than you.
Also, you get to learn from the mistakes of trying something new and this is added to your catalog of life lessons.
3. You are open to growth
You can’t expect to grow if you stick to your familiar routine and habits. There is no growth in a comfort zone.
Challenging yourself to stop doing the normal and start engaging in the unusual will undoubtedly pave way for growth. This growth can come as challenges that will catapult you to the next phase of your life.
4. You become more flexible
One important lesson that is learned from leaving the comfort zone is that life isn’t static. Rather life is flexible and is meant to be explored.
Exploring only happens outside the comfort zone. You are able to free yourself from living your life according to a particular pattern. Also, you learn to be flexible and not rigid when making some decisions.
‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’ – Neale Donald Walsch
Move into your discomfort zone
Since the comfort zone has been ascribed as an unsafe zone, where do you move to?
Your ‘discomfort’ zone.
The discomfort zone is where you push past your boundaries and limiting self-beliefs. It is a place where you can explore your abilities, strength, and weakness.
Your discomfort zone is where all the benefits of leaving your comfort zone are unlocked. As awesome as this may be, it doesn’t happen at the speed of light. It takes time, consistency, and determination.
Here are four tips that will help you step out of your comfort zone into your discomfort zone:
1. Open up yourself
Create time to either write about yourself in a journal or talk about yourself to a friend. Hear yourself speak. By doing so you will be able to point out areas in your life you are playing too safe.
Discuss your thoughts on that area with a knowledgeable friend or mentor. Ask for their suggestions on how you can remove the boundaries.
Remember that the application of knowledge is power. Thus, it is only when you take action will you see results.
Sometimes you might be aware of these areas but because you don’t speak about them or there is no one to keep you in check, you might never see the need to work on them.
2. Decide that being in a comfort zone is unsafe
No human being in their right sense will want to live in a burning house. That is the same perception you should have about your comfort zone.
You should see it as a burning house that is unsafe for both your physical and mental health. Until you see how unsafe it is you won’t move out.
Decide to choose the place of growth and be more intentional about your lifestyle.
3. Life is about experiences
Having the same experience day-to-day isn’t the proper way to live. Make something beautiful out of your life, besides you only live once.
Go on that trip you have always wanted to. Take that dance class. Submit your resume to that sophisticated company. Take risks because that is how you can experience the fullness of life.
The moment you start seeing life as experiences, you will work to tick off everything on your bucket list.
4. Start Building relationships
You need others to survive. You weren’t meant to live in isolation. Create time to improve your existing healthy relationships.
If you don’t have any healthy relationships, make an attempt to start building one.
Your true friends will love to see you grow and will do their best to support you in your journey of growth.