One of the things I find most interesting and constant about life is that you can’t do the same thing the same way and expect a different result. However, the dichotomy of our existence is that we dream, set great goals and want different results; yet we keep doing the same things we’ve always done because those are comfortable and familiar. It goes without saying that to achieve new results to move higher, further, & faster, we need to get uncomfortable. But even the word uncomfortable sounds …… uncomfortable (nasty!!), so how do we get uncomfortable?
Getting uncomfortable means embracing the value of discomfort and getting comfortable with discomfort. It is continually, deliberately doing those things that make us uncomfortable until we become comfortable and then taking that as a signal for the next move. It involves building our dream life by constantly seeking discomfort when we become comfortable; in other words, building discomfort into our lives by design. Got that????
Walking out of Your Comfort Zone
Walking out of your comfort zone is indeed scary. It triggers a lot of “what if” questions, where you are focused on all the things you think might go wrong. However, you need to remind yourself that the fear you are feeling, is just that, a feeling….it has not physical power to hurt you and only the amount of emotional power that you give it; so you get to choose your own level of hurt! The fact is that growth lies beyond your comfort zone, failure always precedes success. So, what are you waiting for? Things won’t change if you don’t change things. Here are the steps to take to get out of your comfort zone
- Research: The unknown is one of the biggest fears of all human beings. Information is the biggest tool against that. Educate yourself about the skill or activity you want to pursue. Getting more knowledge about a subject increases your confidence levels. At the very least, a simple search on Google will show you that no one has ever spontaneously combusted because they had to give a speech, dance in public or sell a product.
- Walking towards your fears: When the fight or flight response is triggered, learn to stay and fight; you just might surprise yourself. Discomfort is actually nothing but a little tightening in your chest and stomach. Stop, be still, feel it. It actually hurts a lot less than a tooth filling!
- Create a Plan: Design a step by step process that ends with you far outside of your comfort zone. This way, you take a step at a time, gradually building tolerance with mini goals as benchmarks to highlight your progress. Ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen? Then create a plan to avoid that.
- Hold yourself accountable: Get an accountability partner, preferably someone who is moving towards the same or similar goals as you. That keeps the goals top of mind. You can get a professional accountability partner, like a coach, someone who will follow your progress and challenge you at the first sign of any backsliding.
- Take baby steps: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” -Lao Tzu. Taking that first simple step helps you deal with the feelings of anxiety. You are steadily moving towards your goals by taking small, deliberate steps.
- Then take giant leaps: Huge leaps are a method of shocking yourself into being uncomfortable. They involve doing a lot of an activity you are uncomfortable with. The rush is quite like jumping into cold water; you have no time to worry about your fears.
- Remain positive: There will most definitely be negative outcomes when trying something new, even experts have negative experiences, the difference lies in the response to these situations. Take them as learning instead of tragedies.
- Recognize when you have become comfortable again: Remain honest with yourself. You need to note every time you are fully at ease, then set new stretch goals you need to continue growing and further challenging your new comfort zones.
My 55th Birthday present to myself is to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone so expect to see some unusual stuff from me going forward. I’m embracing discomfort, embarrassment, even some shame, so watch this space!!! Your turn…. The comfort zone challenge:
This challenge is about doing a series of random things that push the boundaries of what most people are comfortable. The idea behind this challenge is to help you get comfortable with pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. To get to a place where you are open to trying new things and learning from/through them.
- Say hello to a stranger and chat for 5 minutes
- Wear a bright color every day for a week
- Go on a blind date
- Compliment 10 people every day for three days (10 different people a day)
- Do one thing that scares you first thing every day for a week
- Take a selfie in a public place
- Give your honest opinion (when asked) for a day
- Say “Yes” to the things you would normally say no to for a day
- Say “No” to the things you normally say yes to, for a day
Let me know how this challenge goes in the comments! You can also share ways you step out of your comfort zone and let us learn from you.