A comfort zone can be defined as a space where “activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk,” and that’s why you need to leave it.
Your comfort zone is safe, risk-free, and familiar, but life starts when you leave your psychological bubble for more stressful and scarier alternative.
It’s not a bad stress though. It’s a motivator, a positive source of fear that causes you to grow, feel, and experience new things.
As humans, we’re wired to seek comfort, which is why it’s hard to let it go. We know what’s coming and how to handle it, which helps us to stay safe from uncertainty. But outside of our comfort zone is something new, unpredictable, and nerve-inducing, as well as an opportunity to reach new heights.
Yes, it sounds cliché, and the very proposition of stepping outside what is safe to try something new might literally be a step outside your comfort zone but let me assure you that you will not regret it.
Whether it be related to a career, relationship, travel, identity, passion, or project, here is how to take the first step from safety into opportunity:
Accept and Analyze Your Feelings
It’s ok to be nervous and unsure of a situation. Exploring your anxieties can help you to better understand and cope with them. Examine why it makes you uncomfortable and work through the possibilities, both positive and negative. Become familiar with your discomfort and find solutions to tackling the issue, while easing your anxieties.
There’s no need to immediately jump into the deep end if you don’t want to. But a good way to start is by challenging yourself to do one thing that scares you a day. It doesn’t have to be anything too large, it could be a new type of music to listen to on your commute, trying a new food, or talking to someone new. Pushing yourself makes challenge a commonplace as you begin to accept, and even enjoy, trying new things.
From accepting a new project at work to meeting new people, saying “yes” will open up many doors for you leading to new opportunities and a better realization of what can make you happy. By opening yourself up to new experiences, you can better understand yourself and possibly discover something new.
Make a List of Goals and Accomplishments
By writing down what you want to accomplish, and what you have already achieved, you can better measure your progress. Self-awareness is a step in the right direction on the journey outside your comfort zone and being able to track your progress is an essential confidence booster and motivator toward future goals.
As a source of encouragement, continue to ask yourself “what is the worst thing that can happen?” Then focus on achieving the opposite.
By: Alex Roat