Staying in the security of your comfort zone forever sounds like a nice idea, doesn’t it? In there it’s safe, cozy, and above all predictable. No anxiety or worry, no listing pros and cons, and best of all — no fear of failure or injury.
Yes, that sounds great. The exact same thing, day after day after day.
I’m sorry, did I say that sounds nice? Nevermind. That sounds incredibly boring and unfulfilling.
This is exactly where many of us get caught up when it comes to our comfort zone. At first glance, the concept is a soothing one. But when we think about the implications of living a sheltered existence, it can begin to feel claustrophobic and limiting.
So if the decision has been made to step outside this sphere of security, how exactly does one approach the project?
There’s no need to jump directly from an established routine to packing up and moving across the country (unless that’s what you’re into). Your first step can be as big or as small as you like – as long as it’s different. This could mean taking an alternate route to work, speaking up in a meeting when you would normally stay quiet, or adding a pop of colour to your usual wardrobe.
Go at your own pace, but by periodically adding bigger and bigger changes to your life, you’ll come to appreciate the effects.
Whether it’s a mentor, friend, family member, or partner, having someone who is aware of your self improvement efforts can be a huge help. This person gives you someone to whom you can vent your fears and frustrations, provides feedback and encouragement when you need it, and regularly checks in with you on your progress.
Without this support system, it is easy to forget why you wanted the change in the first place, and falling back into your old routine is far more likely to happen.
As you stretch your boundaries, it’s impossible to avoid failure, mistakes, and discomfort. These instances might cause you to relapse back into old ways, but it’s important to accept them as part of the process. As Dale Carnegie said, “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
Your accountability partner will also be a huge help in making it through these tough moments. Eventually, however, you’ll become used to discomfort and will develop strategies to cope.
The journey outside of your comfort zone will of course be difficult and at times painful, but it will open you up to a whole new world of possibilities. Once you’re able to break through the fear and begin learning what you’re truly capable of, you’ll wonder why you ever waited so long to start.
“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” – Dale Carnegie