“I wanna thrive, not just survive” – Switchfoot
This will be the first post of three focusing on stepping out of your comfort zone and achieving a fuller life. Make sure you check all three over the next few weeks as they will build on each other. This weeks will focus on your comfort zone as a whole, the next two weeks will be followed by “Using Failure to Launch” and “Adversity: No longer an Adversary”. Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts of each of the posts. Thanks! – CP
Let me start by confessing this: My normal personality is not one to take many risks. It’s not. Really, deep inside when I’m taking a new risk in talking with someone or standing in front of a group of people, I am deathly afraid. Little do you know, I actually used to be really shy! (I know that’s hard for those who know me to believe) Thankfully though, a change occurred and I no longer act that way. What did I learn? I learned that to grow, I had to become uncomfortable.
“But We’ve heard this all before!” said the readers of the blog post. Yes, I get that this is something most of everyone has heard so many times, but let me ask you, have you changed in a way you wanted? Are you closer today to the person you want to be?
Ok, that’s a lot easier said than done. I get it. I really do, but let me tell you, its TOTALLY worth it. So how have I stepped out of my comfort zone?
I danced the waltz and swing in front of 13,000 people. I spoke and taught in front of my peers. I gave a marketing consultation presentation in front of ownership of a company on how they could change their business to grow more. I write my thoughts and motivational action steps every week in a blog for people to read. Those are all out of my comfort zone. I could have totally failed in any of those, and it would have been alright. Each of them brought me significantly more joy, energy and overall fulfillment to my life because I actually went for it.
In our daily routines, we love to stay in our comfort zones, but actually our best work is done with the addition of stress. Studies have shown that there is an optimal level of stress. Too little and we only operate at 80%, too much and we struggle to make decisions. It’s different for every person, but we have to stretch ourselves to find it. The weight lifter constantly adds weight to the lift so he or she can become stronger. If they simply kept lifting the same weight the same way, they would never reach their best strength.
Here’s some steps to take to start walking out of your comfort zone:
Do something you’ve never done that you know a friend does: This is a great place to start getting out of your comfort zone. Do something you’ve never done, but do it with someone who actually does it. For example, let’s say you’ve always wanted to go snowboarding. You don’t know how or what to do. Go with someone you know that can teach you. It’s a new experience for you outside your comfort zone, but not some place you’ll be overwhelmed.
Travel some place new: Now this one seems pretty self explanatory, and really it is, but don’t miss it. You don’t have to go far off, but go somewhere you’ve never been. Start small if you want, go to a new restaurant you’ve never been. Order something from the menu you’ve never tried. Search out your own city for something new. There’s plenty in every neighborhood that you haven’t actually tried. Start there, then move on to traveling to a different city, a different state, a different country. Go alone, go with friends, go with family. It doesn’t matter. Go. Action oriented. Remember, you’re getting out of your comfort zone.
Take a Chance: As the image above says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” That’s so very true for all of us. If you don’t try, you’ll never make it. I used to say to a friend about asking a girl out, “You don’t get to kiss the prom queen at the end, if you don’t ask her to dance first.” Simple, yes. Childish, possibly, but you get the point. Take a chance at winning. See, far too often we are so afraid of losing we stay in the comfort zone where we feel safe. Success isn’t given to the safe, it is given to those who step out and take it. So take a risk, take a chance. If you’ve never done it, how do you know what will happen.
When we really want to achieve something new, we must take new strides to get there. That means stepping out of that comfort zone we love to greatly and slowly changing ourselves into a new person. It may be painful sometimes, but the result always outweighs the battle. I know that I personally battle myself to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. I mean, I went to a painting class this past weekend. Let me just say it, I don’t paint. But I did it. I enjoyed it. I would have never tried one before, but I did it. Take the steps to get where you want to be. It’ll totally be worth it.