One of the reasons I started this blog was because it forces me to explore ideas about a topic. On a couple of occasions, while writing a post, I have had an “Ah-Ha!” moment. When I was working on my first draft of this post, it wasn’t really going where I wanted it to go; the ideas didn’t flow nicely and I barely even knew what my point was. It wasn’t until I started to talk about my own issues with leaving my comfort zone that I realized what the point was that I was trying to get across. Now, I don’t mean for this to be all self proclaiming and self righteous, nor am I saying that anyone actually has to take my advice. In actually sharing my ideas on the internet, my hope is that maybe someone out there does relate to what I’m saying and have their own “Ah-Ha!” moment.
My Comfort Zone
For those of you who have been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that I recently moved and am rebuilding my lifestyle. For those of you who want to know more about why I’m starting over I invite you to check out my posts Blank Slate and Starting Over… Again. Part of being in a new city meant completely leaving my comfort zone in the dust. If I’m being completely honest, I’ve never been the most confident person around. I often doubt my abilities and whether I’m doing things properly. Not having my routines and habits to fall back into made me feel very uncomfortable and I would often avoid even going out. Essentially, for me, what this all boils down to is that I’m afraid of what people are thinking of me. That is what deters me from leaving my comfort zone to go out and work on achieving my goals. The most recent example of this in my life has been, what may seem as highly mundane, going out and getting a gym membership. Yes, that is correct… Even though I have been going to the gym for over four years now, going out to get a new gym membership is out of my comfort zone.
At this point some of you may be rolling your eyes at me, but I know that there are people out there who can relate to this. Fit gym people can be intimidating. If you’re new to working out or just getting back into it, you might feel insecure because you don’t feel like you know what you’re doing and are worried about people’s judging looks. Now, this is where I had my “Ah-Ha!”: WHO F*CKING CARES WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT YOU? Okay, I know that comes off a little strong, but really, peoples thoughts about you are in their heads. Sure, they may gossip about you behind your back, but this is all hypothetical and, even if they are, are you going to let that stop you from reaching your goals? Personally, my answer is no. However, I still want to make sure I am doing things right so this afternoon I am going out and getting a gym membership to a gym that has classes on weightlifting and olympic lifting for beginners. Yes, I am still a little uncomfortable about going out into a new environment, but what is the worst that can happen? While writing this I realized that I was letting self doubt run my life, and that’s really not okay with me. That means I need to step outside of my comfort zone and tackle this issue head on.
It’s Okay To Feel Uncomfortable
Obviously I have a few things I need to work on, but being uncomfortable in situations isn’t even really a bad thing. It just means it’s something new. In fact, these situations can actually be good for you. Stepping outside of your comfort zone means you’re opening yourself up to new experiences where you can learn new things and grow as a person. Maybe you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and going to a networking event. It doesn’t matter if you feel uncomfortable, you’re learning how to network. Maybe you’re setting off on your own and starting a new business. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, what you are doing involves a certain degree of risk. When we encounter risky situations in means there’s a chance of us not succeeding at first. The important thing to remember is that no matter what it is that you are doing, if you don’t succeed at first, figure out what went wrong and try again.
People, myself included, often avoid leaving their comfort zone because they are afraid to fail. Many of us will weight the risk and if we don’t see ourselves succeeding on the first try, we back out. Do not do this! As I’ve been trying to put across in my posts lately: failure is only a temporary step on the road to success. The only way you can truly fail at something is if you quit and refuse to try again.
Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone
I like to think of my comfort zone as autopilot. When I have this mode turned on my life is pretty neutral and I’m just letting life do its thing. My problem with this is that every one of my goals exists outside of my comfort zone, so if I want to achieve anything, I need to turn off autopilot.
“Set A Goal So Big It Scares You”
Personally I think this is a bit extreme. I want to dial it back a bit to “Intimidates You”. The reason for this is that if you are scared of this daunting task you’ve laid out for yourself, you may be less likely to set out to tackle it. Whereas if you are intimidated by the task it will challenge you, and challenges allow us to learn, grow, and achieve our goals. I also want to point out that if your goal is easy or isn’t challenging then you aren’t leaving your comfort zone and won’t feel the same degree of satisfaction once you’ve completed it. That is why we set goals for ourselves after all, because of the satisfaction we feel when we’ve completed something. Again, your goal should be something you actually want to achieve because then it will be more meaningful as well.
Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
Maybe you don’t have a specific goal in mind at the moment. That doesn’t mean you still can’t do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Most of us have probably heard the saying “do one thing a day that scares you”. Again, I want to modify this to be “one thing a day that intimidates you”. It doesn’t have to be anything big and definitely doesn’t have to be dangerous. Just try something that gets you out of your routine. You can think of your comfort zone as a bubble that encompasses everything that is familiar to you. Every time you try something new and start to get comfortable with it, your bubble grows.
Growing this bubble has numerous benefits. Not only does it help you get closer to achieving your goals but it also helps you:
- Become more confident and sociable
- Discover new passions and hobbies
- Find new opportunities
- Learn from experience
That is why I am challenging myself and those of you who were able to get through this post to do one thing a day that makes you feel uncomfortable. And, with that note, I am off to go get my new gym membership!
Thank you for taking the time to read my post! If you have any feedback, comments, or requests, I would love to hear from you!