We all have our comfort zones. We all have levels we reach in life and feel we have nothing more to achieve. These comfort zones can be educational, marital, business wise, career wise, etc
Educationally, you can be said to be in your comfort zone if you still have your first degree 12 years after graduation from college. Maritally, you can be said to be in your comfort zone if you no longer keep yourself attractive for your spouse, all because you’ve signed the dotted lines. Career wise, you can be said to be in your comfort zone if you have not taken any professional courses after getting a job with your current degree. Business wise, you can also be said to be in your comfort zone if you attain a level of success and stop pushing for more.
In many ways, we’re all complacent. We resent change but there’s danger in the comfort zone. And the danger is: if we don’t change of our own volition, the change will be forced on us and we won’t be able to control things in our favour. I honestly think it’s better we initiate changes in our lives so we can control the whole process to favour us. I understand that getting out of your comfort zone is awkward initially but it’s something you must do if you don’t want the change to be forced on you.
Brian Tracy says “move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new”.
Dangers in the Comfort Zone
* You will not grow in your career, business, academics, marriage, etc. No wonder John Maxwell said “if we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.”
* Your life will become a grind; it will become drudgery, a rut and boring. When you keep doing the same things every day, you won’t find excitement or any sort of adventure.
* You’ll be unhappy when you see colleagues achieving things you’ve not dared to achieve. Depression could set in, if the feelings of unhappiness are not quickly checked.
* You’ll live a life of mediocrity and self-imposed limitations.
How to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
1) Get Rid of Your Self-Imposed Limitations. We all have self-imposed boundaries, even though we were created to live without boundaries. We all have the ‘I-can’ts’, the ‘I-won’t-be-able-tos’ and what have you but I tell you, they are self-inflicted and until we get rid of them, we can’t move out of our comfort zones. No wonder, Robert White said, “All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone mean nothing until you decide that your essential purpose, vision and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations.”
2) Get Out of Your Own Way. If you don’t deliberately get out of your own way by moving into new territories, I’m afraid you won’t be able to progress in life. So, get out of your way by meeting that supplier who can help produce your products at a cheaper rate so you can capture a larger market share than you currently own. Get out of the way by writing that novel you’ve always had in your head. Get out of the way by starting your dream business even if you’re cash-strapped! Steve Carlton agrees with this. According to him, “you've gotta find a way to get out of your own way, so you can progress in life.”
3) Conquer Your Thoughts. Start thinking big, start thinking possibilities, start dreaming big and seeing yourself in a new light. This would help you adjust your thoughts and make moving out of your comfort zone less stressful. This is because your mind, which is used to living in the comfort zone, is being challenged by new concepts and the first thing the mind would do is to reject such thoughts, after all, they’re alien. But force your mind to heed to this new way of thinking as it would help, in the long run. Martha Beck concurs by saying, “hopeful thinking can get you out of your fear zone and into your appreciation zone.”
4) Do Something New. On a daily basis, commit to doing something new. For instance, if you used to eat breakfast very late, start eating it much early in the day. If you used to sleep during break from work, start reading a novel or personal development book. If you used to chat with friends over lunch, seclude yourself and see if you can use the time gained for some productive work. All I’m saying is: do something new everyday, it will bring excitement and adventure into your life.
5) Involve People and Ask for Their Support. Doing something new could be tasking to the brain and body so involve people in your plans to move out of your comfort zone and solicit for their support. Such could be friends, family or someone who has successfully done what you intend to do. Solicit for their support and call them each time you run into a hitch. This would make the change less stressful on you.
6) Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone Requires Courage. You need lots of courage and self-discipline to finally make the changes you’ve always desired in your life. It’s not going to come easy. You’re going to feel awkward about the changes initially but you’ll get used to them if you persist enough!
7) Take one Step at a Time and Accept Mistakes that Come Along the Way. While trying to move out of your comfort zone, there’s the tendency for you to try to do all the things you want to do at the same time. From experience, I would say don’t. Slow and steady wins the race. It’s difficult to run a marathon if you have never run for 8 miles before. It’s difficult to write a 10-chapter book if you have not written a 3-chapter book before. Take things one at a time and don’t take yourself too seriously, particularly when you make mistakes. Mistakes are bound to be made in the process of moving out of your comfort zone but your attitude towards them is what matters, at the end of the day.
Recently, I read about how Real Madrid footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo went into the studio to record a piece of music with fellow Portuguese footballer, Pepe and I said to myself, what a way to get out of the comfort zone! He left football, which is his first love to do music.
I don’t know about you but for me, life truly begins at the end of your comfort zone. You can only get more out of your life ditching your comfort zone. The big question is: are you ready to?