You often hear the saying, ‘I’m in my comfort zone‘, but what is your ‘comfort zone’ exactly, and why do we happily stay in it even if we know it might not be the best place for us?
To understand what is inside your comfort zone, a great simple exercise is to draw a circle on a piece of paper. Everything you are experiencing in your life right now is inside your comfort zone (your circle): your current state of health, your fitness, your style of parenting, your friendships, your current job, your financial state, and so much more.
Your comfort zone is a behavioural state within which you operate in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk, fear or aspiration.
Everything you desire in your life but do not currently have is just outside the circle, and to get it inside, you’re probably going to have to do something new or different.
What holds people back most of the time is their frame of mind and the shift in thinking required to step outside of comfort and into personal growth.
Just like a ship was not designed for the confines of the safe harbour, neither are human beings. We are designed to sail the wide-open oceans, push the boundaries of what we can achieve, unlock the latent potential lying dormant, and discover we do have the potential from within to reach places we did not even know we were capable of getting to.
What game are you playing in life…. are you playing to win or lose?
Stepping outside your comfort zone is a MUST, and here are my seven reasons why;
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone #1 – Achieve Personal Growth
A mind once stretched, never returns to its original dimension.
One of the six fundamental human needs we all need to fulfil at some level is growth. The only difference between high achievers and the rest is they spend more of their time fulfilling this need by spending it in the growth zone. One of the skills they learn to master in life is being comfortably uncomfortable and having the determination to succeed.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone #2 – Create Momentum
A natural momentum occurs when you start to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. What can seem like small marginal gains start to stack together, and the multiplying effect of the small gains in several areas creates a force and rhythm which becomes self-perpetuating. It just cannot be stopped. You don’t want to stop – you see the benefits, the change, the improvements, the difference, so you keep going and growing. And by default, your comfort zone extends too.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone #3 – Become a Productivity Ninja
With increased levels of focus, self-confidence and belief, you make stuff happen. You become a productivity ninja, doing things you never thought possible and achieving goals that were just dreams. The upward spiral of achievement and confidence can become a potent asset for anyone.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone #4 – Eliminate Fear
Your mind can work for you or against you. You have absolutely 100% control over how you think. But you cannot leave it to chance. If you don’t proactively programme your mind to work for you, then by default, it will subconsciously start to work against you by trying to protect you from the unknown, the new, the different. But know there will be areas where being too comfortable does more harm than good.
The little voice in your head will come up with a thousand reasons why your new endeavour will fail, is dangerous, shouldn’t be repeated, should be avoided…. the record plays on repeat, and YOU need to pause it or silence it.
Whilst its primary intention is to protect you, to keep you safe from ‘danger’, it will fundamentally impact your ability to stretch your comfort zone.
The exciting news is that when you take action, you soon realise you’ve underestimated your capability and overestimated potential obstacles. You’ll turn inaction into action. Procrastination will be a thing of the past. No longer will your mind sabotage or derail your future success. Read more about why avoiding fear will stifle your growth in my blog.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone #5 – Enter the Growth Zone
Through stretching and pushing the boundaries, testing new ideas, failing fast and recovering quickly, discovering what works and bottling it so you can replicate it again, you will naturally step outside your comfort zone and operate in your growth zone.
The zone where you deliver incredible results personally and professionally.
The zone where you make stuff happen.
The zone where you become more conscious and deliberate in your thinking, feelings and actions.
Entering your growth zone builds a habit of expanding your comfort zone, which equips you to handle change and ambiguity with more poise and resilience.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone #6 – Greater Self-fulfillment
So many people wake up every day with that aching feeling of underachievement. The realisation that they’re not entirely living their life to the full. We have zero control over the length of our lives, but we have 100% control over the breadth and depth of it.
Growth, forward momentum and rhythm, a new-found level of productivity and shaping your performance zone all lead you to a pathway of self-fulfilment, a feeling of finding your groove in life as you achieve your full potential. In doing so, you’ll create a new source of extreme satisfaction and contentment.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone #7 – Profound Impact On Others
We all like to hang around with people we admire, who challenge us to be the best version of ourselves. People who we can learn from and, perhaps most importantly, who inspire us to step out of our comfort zone.
When you spend time outside your comfort zone, two extraordinary things happen.
First, you become like a magnet. You attract people into your life who can help you fast-track and accelerate your journey towards attaining your goals personally and professionally.
Second, you help others to grow. Whether consciously or unconsciously, you become a role model, a mentor, or a coach to others. You become a flashing beacon for others to follow and aspire to. Making a positive impact on the lives of others is an incredibly fulfilling and worthy goal.
Remember, you are capable of so much more than you ever believed.
Your goals, aspirations and dreams are waiting for you.
As you step out to harness them, you hear that little voice (which you will!) trying to pull you back, gently reminding it that there is no such thing as ‘fail’ if you get something out of it. ‘Fail’ means my “First Attempt In Learning”.