As cliché as it sounds, magic does happen when you step outside of your comfort zone. Comfort zones have killed more dreams than we can EVER imagine. Hey, it makes sense. They feel safe, predictable, and nicely packaged. Nothing bad can ever happen, right?
Think again. Apart from not pursuing your dreams (and what’s worse than that!), staying in your comfort zone puts you at more risk. You’re not adapting, learning, and changing with the times. And once the outside world collides with your safe zone, you’re not going to be ready for it.
Do the things that push you, make you uncomfortable, and evoke slight nervousness. Face your fears. Your life and full potential are just outside of that safe zone you have built for yourself.
We all have some level of fear of what the unknown brings. The difference is in whether we choose to let fears dictate our lives, or we find the strength to conquer them. The first step in facing whatever it is that keeps you up at night is the hardest. With every subsequent step, you gain confidence in yourself and begin to view everything more rationally.
Here’s the truth. YOU CAN DO IT. Pushing aside your fears is step one and as many people say, you will wish you had done it earlier. Countless women have a great idea, a business plan worked out, and a burning desire but are still waiting… on something.
If you are walking along the edge of your comfort zone, it’s time to finally cross that line and never look back. Here are five ways to make it a bit easier.
1. As with everything, moving out of your comfort zone starts with brutal honesty. What’s the security blanket that makes you feel safe? Perhaps it’s a job that you’re familiar with but can’t stand. Or maybe you’re too dependent on others and the idea of trying to do something without anyone to depend on freaks you out. Identify the perimeters of your zone and let go of the illusion of perfection. It will never be the perfect time. Your product or service will never be perfect at the get-go. Your kids will never be the perfect age. Ask yourself are the things you are waiting on really obstacles or excuses to mask your fears?
2. Get acquainted with feeling uncomfortable. You may not be happy with your status quo, but it’s comfortable and you have a sense of familiarity. With a major change like starting a business, you know that your pay will be small and hours long in the beginning. That’s a lot of lifestyle changes all at once! Change is necessary to get you to where you dream of being. Think back to any other major life changes you’ve had. They were intimidating at the time, but you made it through them all and were ok in the end! Progress, growth, and getting to the next level in whatever you are trying to achieve is going to be uncomfortable at times. And that is ok. Allow yourself to feel discomfort and realize that it’s just temporary. To help break that ice in your mind, try small daily activities that push your comfort limits. It differs for everyone, but things like talking to strangers, going to dinner by yourself, etc. are good ways to start.
3. Uncertainty is the one thing that is certain outside of your comfort zone and that is a big fear for many people. You know you want to make a change, but the unforeseen consequences make you doubt yourself. Often our fears boil down to thinking we won’t be able to handle the inevitable challenges coming our way. The solution is to plan, plan, plan! Be as prepared as you can be and ready to pivot if plan A or B doesn’t solve a problem that arises. There is always a solution and sometimes it takes you in a whole new direction. Plan as much as you can but be flexible. For example, if starting your own business requires you to leave your comfort zone, write down three concrete things that scare you about making a move. Brainstorm solutions to these issues. Think of all the possible outcomes, good, bad, and in-between, and make a game plan for each scenario. This exercise helps you regain a sense of control and gives you an extra layer of confidence in facing doubts. And realize that very few things are permanent. Almost any decision you make outside of your comfort zone can be amended, reversed, or changed.
4. Sometimes, people barricade themselves in a safe zone because of past failures. Always remember the past doesn’t dictate the result of your current ambitions. Even if things don’t go as planned, life will go on and new opportunities will arise. Remind yourself to have a clean slate and focus on everything going right. When you find yourself saying that you won’t succeed at something, challenge yourself to be insanely courageous for 20 seconds and take the first step. After that initial rush, you will see that you can do it and fear is the only thing in the way (which you can beat!). The more you face fears, the less power they have over you.
5. Never let the judgement of others stop you. Those around you may not fully understand the dreams you are pursuing and may judge you for it, but that’s a reflection on them not you. In many cases, nay-sayers are unhappy with themselves and envy your courage to take action. Surround yourself with a group of individuals who will support you and remember the bigger picture you are after. This is your “why.” It’s what motivates you on an emotional level. Whether it’s having the flexibility to spend more time with your kids or making a difference in the world, your why will spark you into action and quiet doubts.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to find out what is outside of your comfort zone.