At some stage in your life, you’ll find your comfort zone. Only, you probably won’t be aware of it, because your comfort zone will suck you in and never let go until you take evasive action.
Sound a bit over the top? Not really. Comfort zones aren’t a bad thing; they’re important for maintaining some semblance of balance in this ridiculously busy world, but too much of a comfort zone can lead to procrastination and – more worryingly – the inability to achieve one’s goals.
A comfort zone can be found anywhere – at home, in a relationship, at work – even at the gym. This blog post, therefore, can be applied to any of those elements of life.
Today, we’re going to explain how anyone can allay their fears about stepping outside a comfort zone. Because it’s the best thing you’ll do this week.
Keep a running list of growth goals
There will doubtless be a number of things you want to achieve in life.
Perhaps there’s a certain position at work you want to fill. Maybe there’s a 5K running time you’re desperate to beat. It might even be something as simple as taking a small risk every day with your work.
Whatever your growth goals are, keep them in mind, always. In fact, keep a running list by your side to which you can add and refer regularly. Make it a habit to read your list at the end of each day and be honest about how far you are from reaching each goal. Make changes until they edge closer.
Talk to yourself
This might sound odd, but talking to yourself can be a brilliant way to find the impetus required to step outside of your comfort zone and achieve more.
A simple thirty second reminder of what you need to achieve each day in the bathroom mirror might be all you need, but you could go one step further.
Video yourself with the selfie camera on your smartphone. Do it as often as possible and use it as a monologue for your goal progress. If you can bear to look back at your recordings (no one likes to see themselves on film, after all), you’ll soon start to spot patterns where you’re falling short or – more likely – where you’re actually making small gains.
Say “yes” to something that scares you
Throughout our lives, we’re presented with opportunities which, at first glance, seem miles beyond our capabilities.
This is scary. The idea that you could agree to such a task is way beyond your comfort zone.
However, providing the task in question isn’t illegal or capable of putting your (or someone else’s) life at risk, saying “yes” could be the best thing you do.
Most of us have at some stage agreed to do something we’re not comfortable with, and if you sit among that number, you’ll know the feeling once you’ve done it. Elation, an immense sense of achievement and the desire to do it again aren’t uncommon emotions. And who doesn’t want to feel like that?
Speak to strangers
Unless you’re a naturally outgoing person, you’ll probably experience lots of instances where you feel unable to speak, join in or make yourself heard.
There’s a great way to combat this and improve your self-confidence: speak to strangers.
Whether you’re having a drink in a pub, getting changed in the gym changing room or waiting for a bus, the simple process of chatting inanely to a stranger will help you overcome the fear of placing yourself in the spotlight. And the impact that will have on your ability to get out of comfort zones will be powerful.
Ask the burning question
If you’ve ever been in a meeting and haven’t agreed with something that is being covered yet can’t find it within you to put your hand up and contest, you were inadvertently languishing in your comfort zone.
Not saying something in such a situation is far easier than interjecting, but the latter will help you – and those around you – step outside of your comfort zone.
Speak your mind as often as you can. The more you ask questions others are avoiding asking, the more likely you are to move yourself and the business forward.
Keep trying something new until it becomes the norm
It’s not unusual for new things to feel weird and uncomfortable at first, but the more you do them, the more likely you are to overcome any fear associated with the task in hand.
It goes without saying that if you’re doing something that makes you feel overly uncomfortable, it’s best to stop and move onto the next goal you have in mind, but if you know, deep down, that you can push yourself just a little harder to achieve a particularly lofty goal, you’re far less likely to slip quietly back into your comfort zone.
Hand the reigns to someone else
If you’re a business owner, marketing manager or freelancer, the thought of giving up control of an element of your work can easily be linked to having fallen into a comfort zone.
You know how to undertake Task A; you’ve done it ever since you started and could do it with your eyes closed. No one else could come close in terms of competency, so why risk giving it to someone who might mess things up?
This is one of the hardest fears to overcome when removing yourself from a comfort zone, but once you discover that someone else can indeed do the job just as well (if not better) than you, you’ll have the opportunity to seek new goals and experiences.
It’s worth reiterating that comfort zones aren’t a bad thing at all, but relying on them too heavily won’t give you the room to grow.
Our tips above are non-exhaustive, but they’ll give you the mindset you need to forge ahead in your work and private life.
The trick is to identify when things are becoming too easy, or too ‘normal’. Deep down, we all know when we’ve slipped into a comfort zone, but the winners amongst us are those who decide to step quickly out of it.