You often hear the saying ‘get out of your comfort zone’ but what is the ‘comfort zone’ exactly and why do we happily stay inside it even if deep down we know it might not be the best place for us to be.
What got me thinking about this is something my wife said to me over the weekend. We were walking around the Super League Triathlon Jersey event and as we were watching Jonny Brownlee take second my wife said ‘Royston, you should think about doing a triathlon, you’re in your comfort zone with your fitness training’. Now, whilst I admire my wife’s faith in my ability to undertake such a task, it got me thinking about this concept of comfort zone, what it really means and how easily it is to fall into its trap.
My daughter, Eloise & I feeling inspired!
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 personal fitness (I’ve got this one noted!), your style of parenting, the friendships you have, your current job, your financial state, and so much more.
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. You’re going to have to step outside of your comfort zone.
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, to push the boundaries of what we can achieve, to unlock the latent potential lying dormant and to discover we really do have the potential from within to reach places we did not even know we were capable of getting to. What game am I playing in life is a great question to ask; are you playing to win or lose?
Stepping outside your comfort zone is a MUST and here are my 7 reasons why;
# 1 – Personal Growth
A mind once stretched never returns to its original dimension.
One of the six fundamental human needs which we all need fulfilling at some level is the need for 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.
# 2 – Create Momentum
When you start to challenge yourself to step out from your comfort zone a natural momentum occurs. What can seem like small marginal gains start to stack together and the multiplying effect of the small gains in a number of areas creates a force and rhythm which becomes self-perpetuating. It just cannot be stopped.
# 3 – 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.
# 4 – Eliminate Fear
Your mind can work for you or against you. You have absolutely 100% control over how you think. However, you cannot leave it to chance. If you don’t pro-actively programme your mind to work for you then by default it will subconsciously start to work against you.
The little voice in the back of 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 and on and YOU need to pause 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; 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 on this topic in my blog why avoiding fear will stifle your growth
# 5 – The Performance 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 the space I call the performance zone.
The zone where you deliver incredible results.
The zone where you just make stuff happen.
The zone where you become more conscious and deliberate in your thinking, feelings and actions.
# 6 – Self fulfilled
So many people wake up every day with that aching feeling of underachievement…the realisation that they’re not quite 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 own performance zone all lead you down a pathway of self fulfilment and a feeling of finding your groove in life. You’ll create a new source of extreme satisfaction.
# 7 – Profound impact on others
We all like to hang round 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 own comfort zone.
When you spend time stepping outside your comfort zone two amazing things happen.
First you become like a magnet – attracting people into your life who can help you fast track and accelerate the journey towards attaining your goals both personally and professionally.
Second, you help others to grow, whether conscious or unconsciously you become a role model, a mentor, a coach. You become a flashing beacon for others to follow and aspire to and 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 and you hear that little voice (which you will!), trying to pull you back, gently remind it that there is no such thing as ‘fail’ if you get something out of it. ‘Fail’ simply means my “First Attempt In Learning”.