going outside your comfort zone

Does going outside your comfort zone fill you with excitement and eagerness, or make you want to burrow deeper under the covers? If you are like most of us mere mortals, then it probably tends to be closer to the latter! We all have our range of tolerance for risk taking, and pushing our own limits, and where we are on that range can vary from day to day, and situation to situation.

which limits are you willing to push?

Maybe going outside your comfort zone with work projects is something you are quite willing to do, while nobody had better dare to ask you to push your own limits on the dating front.

Alternatively, you might relish the stretch of taking on daunting physical challenges, but prefer to keep your hard earned cash under the mattress rather than risking even a conservative investment opportunity.  

influencing factors

Your willingness for going outside your comfort zone can also depend on your general sense of well-being and confidence at any given time. If things are going well in most areas of your life, and you are feeling pretty optimistic about your capabilities and the cooperation of the universe, it is a lot more likely that you will be willing to push yourself into less comfortable territory than when you are feeling insecure.

why is going outside your comfort zone difficult?

Well, they don’t call it a comfort zone for nothing. Most of us consider comfort to be a good thing, and would choose comfort over discomfort any day. And what if leaving the comfort zone actually meant entering the fear zone as is suggested by the popular model below (original author unknown)? If going outside your comfort zone not only means experiencing discomfort, but coming face to face with fear, it’s pretty easy to understand why this can be a tough thing to do!

why is going outside your comfort zone important?

If you are unwilling to leave the seemingly safe confines of the familiar, your life, and your potential for growth and joy will become stagnant. When you choose to move outside your comfort zone, despite the trepidation, you begin to allow opportunities for satisfaction, new relationships and experiences, and a much greater expression of creativity.

Although it may seem that some people are perfectly content to remain in their comfort zone, staying in one place indefinitely isn’t even really possible.

or even inevitable...

As Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change”.  What this means is that trying to stay in your comfort zone is actually fighting a losing battle. The very nature of life is expansion and evolution. Things will not stay the way they are, no matter how much you believe you would like them to. In fact, a fear of change upsetting the comfort of the status quo can actually start to make your comfort zone feel a lot less comfortable.

Will you be unceremoniously booted from your comfort zone, because technology, political or natural changes have “re-zoned” it? Or will you decide to move into new zones in your own time and way?

You may agree by now that going outside your comfort zone is a good (not to mention inevitable) thing to do, but the big question is how to proceed?

psych yourself up for going outside your comfort zone

To get to the point where you are willing and able to go beyond the familiarity and perceived safety of your comfort zone, and through the fear zone, to the zones of learning and growth beyond, you need to do some mental preparation.

Start imagining yourself embracing challenges and opportunities, and becoming stronger and more confident. What Oprah calls the highest version of yourself.

Visualize yourself moving forward and thriving as you effortlessly take on increasingly more things that you previously shied away from. Picture yourself facing obstacles, and facing them with courage and determination.

prepare mentally for obstacles

See yourself stumbling from time to time as we all do, but getting back up and trying again. Envisage yourself learning and growing from every step you take, whether that step feels like forward movement, or a step in the wrong direction.

If you feel that you have just taken a step in the wrong direction (which only means that it is taking you away from your own true desires for growth and joy), this is valuable guidance! It tells you to “make a legal U-turn” as your GPS would tell you, and to begin moving the opposite way again.

a growth mindset will propel you forward

If you spend enough time developing this type of growth mindset, it won’t be too long before your comfort zone will not feel all that comfortable anymore! It will begin to feel like a place that is stifling you and holding you back, and this desire for movement will give you the momentum to propel yourself through the usually brief fear zone, and into the clear light of the learning zone.

 In fact, with the right mindset training, wild horses will not hold you back from throwing open the doors of your old comfort zone and moving outside to begin becoming all that you can be.

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