Step out of your comfort zone, try new things every once in a while. I thought about these conversations as I sat perched in the treetops in Jamaica about to connect to a thin metal wire that soon would have me speeding through the jungle. I would have never expected the first time I tried zip lining to be in Jamaica, nor would I have expected my “professional instructor” to look like Bob Marley and have the same laid back attitude.
I understand the vibe in Jamaica is laid back “no worries” but when I’m hundreds of feet up in the air I’d like to receive a few more lessons than “I will let you go and someone will slow you down on the other side”.
All in all, once I got through the first section of the zip line any doubt had left my mind. It was possibly one of the coolest experiences I have had to date. Our tour took us through about 7-8 different zip line segments, through the treetops, and across rivers and natural beauty I would never have imagined.
Taking risks in life to grow is what stepping out of your comfort zone is all about. This is scary for many of us because there is a fear involved in challenging yourself. Fears that include safety, failure, and rejection. When you begin to step out of your comfort zone you will see the benefits. You may notice increased productivity and more focus.
Change will become easier and your creativity level will increase. You may also notice an increase in personal interactions and an increase in your confidence level. Pushing your boundaries won’t be as difficult as it used to.
A comfort zone is less about comfort and more about fear. Fear of stepping out of a comfortable situation and into uncertainty. This fear is the reason why so many people stay at a job they don’t like for years. The fear of uncertainty is high and they are comfortable where they are.
Why change when they know how things work, the players involved, and the routine? It’s when you break this fear and step out of your comfort zone that you grow as a person.
Here are 10 proven tips to help you step out of your comfort zone.
Look outside your comfort zone
Be aware of what’s outside your comfort zone and what you would like to attempt that challenges you. What do you think is worth doing but afraid of the risk of failing? This first tip can apply to most boys/girls in high school. Outside your comfort zone of friends is the cute girl or boy you’ve had your eye on since 6th grade. You never had the guts to ask him/her out. You’ve stayed in your comfort zone because you work the fear of rejection.
The same can be said in business. You’ve stayed in the same position in your company for years because you’re too afraid to ask for a raise or a promotion for fear of rejection or disappointment in your boss’s reply. Instead, you wallow in a meaningless position.
Write down both your comforts and discomforts and make them tangible and visible.
Create a plan
For each of your discomforts be honest with yourself and write down why you feel the way you do. In most situations, you will find the feeling you are trying to overcome is fear. So what is it about the situation that scares you? Creating this plan is pivotal to step out of your comfort zone. Know what you are fearful of and why. Write out your plan and check your progress regularly. When possible apply a timeline to any actions you decide on.
Be comfortable with your discomfort
Stop running away from your discomfort or fear and learn to embrace it. Start with shorter periods at first and then expand each time. If you are fearful of socializing perhaps start by one week saying hello to one new person you run into in the store or at the office each day. The following week broaden your conversations to a few minutes with small talk. You will notice with each interaction you will feel more comfortable with your discomfort.
Confront your fear and discomfort head-on for the best results.
Do things differently
Routine is where people’s comfort lies. I get up at the same time every day, I take the same route to work, I eat the same lunch and on and on. Mix things up a bit and stop living your life as if it’s the movie Groundhog Day. This is a boring way to live your life!
Try taking a new route to work or a new restaurant for lunch. Sit at a different table in the cafeteria at work and talk to a new bunch or co-workers. Even the slightest change in your daily routine can make all the difference and help build momentum towards a step out of your comfort zone. Imagine how great life would be if each day you were stepping into a new comfort zone!?
Learn that failure isn’t a bad thing!
Failure is not a bad thing. Failure means you tried something and it just didn’t work this time. There are always takeaways from a failed situation. What did you learn and how can this result help you in the future to be successful.
Don’t do too much at once
When confronting change and stepping out of your comfort zone don’t try to do too much at once. Take small steps. If you try to bite off too much at one time you will become overwhelmed and stressed. Take the previous example of socializing more often. Don’t start the process by going to a busy bar or club and expect to have tremendous outcomes. This would be too much at once and most likely make you less apt to want to socialize.
You can’t finish if you don’t start but start slow.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
You must learn to laugh at yourself whenever you make a mistake. When you take risks you will face failures and setbacks along the road to success. Learn to be happy with your mistakes, laugh them off, and allow others to poke fun at you. It may take some time to build up thick skin but you will benefit from the confidence you find in learning to laugh at yourself.
Associate with risk-takers
Successful people surround themselves with other successful people. Funny people do the same thing. If you want to be a risk-taker you need to start associating with risk-takers. By doing so you will learn from “experts” in the space and begin to absorb their knowledge and behaviors.
Challenge your comfort zone regularly. When you break through move on to the next thing you’d like to challenge yourself with. Look for new challenges regularly. Take a new class at the gym, or attempt a hobby you’ve been meaning to try.
Always remain positive
Stepping out of your comfort zone should be fun! You may encounter a failure or negative feedback that will make you fearful of trying again but you must keep going. Make the journey out of your comfort zone as fun as possible. You will learn much about yourself during the process.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be frightening which is why it’s critical to go slowly and don’t try to accomplish too much in the beginning. Challenge yourself to consistently keep moving forward but take the first step!
Do you step out of your comfort zone regularly? If so what works best for you?