Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone!
We have all heard by now that life begins at the end of your comfort zone, and you grow the most as a person when you do things that you didn’t think you were capable of.
When you break out of your own story, the story you tell yourself as to why you can’t accomplish something. Whether it is weight loss, getting that promotion you have always wanted, taking a trip to Bali, whatever it is, once you stop repeating that self defeating story in your head as why you don’t deserve to be happy, or why you can’t, your whole life will change!
We tell ourselves all of the reasons why we can’t accomplish something, not enough time, not enough money, no willpower, but it’s bullshit! When you push past your fears and go after what you truly want in life you emerge stronger and more confident as a person and that’s what we all want!
That confidence can carry you through to do amazing things, to get out of your own way and follow your dreams and it will allow you to reach higher levels in both your personal and professional life.
Innovation happens when we step outside of our preconceived notion of who we are and what we are capable of achieving. Being stagnant and doing the same thing day after day tanks our creative juices and prevents us from achieving our dreams.
What holds most of us back the most from stepping out of our comfort zone is fear, and that fear can be crippling.
Why I Understand the Fear of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone!
I get it trust me! You might not know this but I was actually a professional singer for many years and I would perform in front of really large crowds, it was amazing but at the same time very anxiety provoking.
So much can go wrong during a live performance, you worry about how you look, can I walk in these heels (the answer was usually NO, but I trudged on) and most importantly how do I sound, is this a good performance?
I had the opportunity of a lifetime to go study in China at the age of 16 at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and I took it, I was terrified!
A foreign country, a music school where I wouldn’t know anybody, and 6 hour a day Mandarin lessons? I was scared shitless to be honest, but it was the BEST experience of my life. I grew more that summer than I can even begin to explain, but had I let fear hold me back I never would have had that life changing experience.
However in order to grow as a person and achieve your dreams you need to feel the fear, embrace the fear, and do it anyway. We have such a huge fear of failure in our society that we are sometime too scared to even try.
Anything that you try doing for the first time will feel awkward and stressful at first. However the more you step outside your comfort zone and become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, the more successful and fulfilled you will be.
How to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
You need to begin to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and you need to being doing it on a regular basis.
The more comfortable you get with trying and experiencing new things, the less you’re going to avoid it in the long run and the more you’re going to say yes to new challenges and opportunities that you previously feared.
A good way to do this is to start small. If you have a fear of sharks and avoid the ocean because of that, I wouldn’t tell you to face your fear by going swimming in shark-infested waters. Instead I would tell you to spend some time gradually getting used to being comfortable in the ocean.
Similarly you don’t have to throw your entire routine out the window in order to step outside of your comfort zone. You can take tiny steps if you like to get yourself out of your routine, like taking a new driving route to work or ordering a different type of coffee at Starbucks.
Yes I know it sounds small, but these little changes get you to begin to be ok with feeling uncomfortable.
By doing so your brain will learn how to get comfortable with the discomfort that comes from trying something new.
Another important way to create lasting change and face your fears I to reinterpret them. This means re-framing feelings of fear and anxiousness in the form of excitement and opportunity.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!
I remember distinctively when I went skydiving and I was shaking in the airplane and wasn’t sure I would be able to jump out. Sitting next to me was a woman who was roughly 70 and she looked so incredibly excited.
When it came time to jump I felt a rise of panic but I did it anyway, however I screamed the entire way down instead of enjoying the moment. I could see the other woman below me yelling words of joy and elation., instead of my “holy crap I’m going to die”.
When we got on the ground I couldn’t help but ask her “weren’t you scared?” to my surprise she said, “of course I was, I just told myself to be excited instead”.
She chose to view a scary situation in a positive light and channeled her feelings of fear into feelings of excitement. When viewed in this positive light, those butterflies in your stomach will soon be seen as welcoming rather than something that you seek to avoid.
One of the best books I have ever read is Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, and it really changed my life, so I highly recommend it!
Another way to face your fears head on is to look for something that you know is going to challenge you because it will give you a whole different outlook on life and makes you more receptive to change which is a huge part of life.
The only thing constant is change and when you take on a challenge that seems scary, you feel a huge rush of endorphins and often feel renewed and recharged afterword.
Tools To Help You Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!
A tool that I rely on to face my fears is to never lose sight of the why! Focus on creating a sort of mission statement as to why you are stepping out of your comfort zone and what you know you can gain from learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Writing out the benefits of doing the activity, such as “building courage” or “learning to trust the process.” Then looking at your why list when you start to get stressed out to lower your stress levels and make it easier to accomplish the task.
You will never regret pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Whether it’s taking a dance class and looking a fool or even just ordering a different drink at Starbucks, honestly it makes a difference. Life truly does begin at the end of your comfort zone.
So trust yourself and trust the process, because being comfortable with being uncomfortable pays off!