When did you last step outside your comfort zone? If you can’t remember when then you have a problem. You may want to make any changes in your life, you want more success, better health, more money. You are going to have to step outside your comfort zone to get there. If you want to avoid the threats of an every changing world, you are going to have to get used to being outside your comfort zone. Find out more about life outside your comfort zone…
What is a comfort zone?
Wikipedia defines your comfort zone as “a type of mental conditioning resulting in artificially created mental boundaries”. In other words, it is some habits of thought that are limiting your freedom to act. The reason you create a comfort zone is because… well it’s comfortable! You feel safe, secure, nothing changes and therefore there are no challenges and no risks of disruption in your life.
You have comfort zones in all aspects of your life – your relationships, your job, your daily routine, your financial status, your health, your social life…
Your comfort zone is full of hidden dangers
Your comfort zone is a pleasant place to be. We all spend time in our comfort zones. However you should also look at your comfort zone from the perspective of a world that is in constant change. You are part of this changing world and while your comfort zone seems a good place to be today, you can eventually find it boring, stultifying and complacent. You might feel a desperate need to break out of it, but unless you’re in the habit of stepping out of your comfort zone you might find it difficult or even disastrous.
The world can also change and your comfort zone might no longer be viable. If you rely on your employer for income, you might find that you no longer have that income one day. Because you’ve lived in a comfort zone for so long you no longer have the skills to compete in the modern world. The daily news is littered with examples of this happening. You should remember there are possible comfort zones in every area of your life that are under threat from changes around you.
A positive mental attitude will make a difference
If you’ve lived in a comfort zone for a long time, stepping out of it can be very difficult. You are going to find yourself in unfamiliar territory, you might be making lots of public mistakes, your self esteem will suffer…
Maintaining a positive mental attitude will be critical if you are going to break free of the self imposed barriers of your comfort zone. You will need to remind your self that you can do it, that everyone has been through this experience, you are not alone.
Take the long view, while it may all seem very confusing today, you can make sense of the world outside your comfort zone and you will be able to build a better life for yourself. When you look back in 5 years, you will be glad you made the change.
Sustain yourself with the thought that eventually you will be able to cope with life on the outside – you will build a newer and bigger comfort zone that contains the expanded you!
If you can find people who will support you in stepping outside your comfort zone, you will find it much easier. You want to avoid people who are likely to be envious of the changes you are trying to make – often these can be people who are very close to you who can feel threatened or diminished by the changes you are making.
Decide how far you want to go
One important point is to recognise that there are some limits on the amount of change you can handle. Moving to a different continent where you don’t speak the language and aren’t part of any social grouping and trying to start from scratch with nothing might just be too much for you!
Think about how far you want to go – you must go as far as you possibly can. Far enough that you feel uncomfortable (otherwise you are still in your comfort zone). Far enough that you are making a significant step in the direction you want to take your life. However you should not completely overwhelm yourself or you will end up unable to cope and most likely crashing back into your comfort zone again.
Take a moment to think about your comfort zones – where are the boundaries and what impact have they had on your life? Are there any immediate risks in any of your comfort zones?
Maybe there are signals that your company is in trouble, or your relationships are becoming stale, or you are running in to health problems.
What are you going to do starting today to push yourself outside that boundary? Find something that you can do to take the first step, something that challenges you but won’t completely overwhelm you. Take it one step at a time, but keep walking away from that comfort zone!