As a recovering control freak, one of the hardest things I have learned and am still learning is occasionally stepping out of my comfort zone and taking big little steps in the pursuit of my goals.
Admittedly, stepping out of your comfort zone may be difficult to do; in that it is the space in your life that brings you the most comfort and where you do not have to deal with nerve-racking uncertainties.
As human beings, we are wired for comfort and tend to seek out a peaceful existence where we are in control and can plan accordingly. We are perfectly content with a world where everything goes right and nothing goes left. Most of us only desire to be in a space we can control. However, the danger of remaining in your comfort zone is that it limits your growth, learning and creativity as you “escape” taking on challenges which are an integral part of life.
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”Brian Tracy
It is simply fascinating how we subconsciously tie the words “safety” and “better” to our comfort zones. We believe that it is better and safer to remain in our comfort zones (whether or not we choose to call it that) when in reality, our comfort zones may not necessarily be safer or better; it is just all we have ever known. Our bodies get used to a particular way of doing things and a way of existing that any thought that creeps up to suggest something otherwise is shot down by fear and “rationality”.
Another prominent reason why you choose to remain in your comfort zone is the almighty Fear of the Unknown.
The Fear of the Unknown is such a paralysing factor in the pursuit of goals and dreams. We tend to think of the unknown as “unsafe” and subconsciously associate it with failures and negative “what-ifs” which is why we would rather stay in a toxic relationship that our bodies have gotten used to than be single or explore thoughts of leaving the toxic relationship. This is also why we would remain in a job we hate which pays a relatively reasonable salary as long as it can foot the bills.
While fear is valuable in that it keeps you safe and encourages caution when caution is due,…
It’s also a limiting thing: Not everything you’re afraid of deserves fear or caution. And sometimes, moments of bravery are what are needed to make your life better.Forbes Coaches Council
How can you overcome fear and step out of your comfort zone?
Do new things that make you uncomfortable
This is something I started at the beginning of last year and it has been amazing. Simple yet profound in stretching your mind to get used to a life outside your comfort zone.
However, by constantly engaging in activities that you may not typically engage in, your mind experiences freedom to enable you take the big little steps. Some of these activities, may include singing out loud while taking an early morning walk, greeting and talking to strangers, dancing in public, jumping out of a plane (skydiving, please), wearing clothes that typically make you feel body conscious, parasailing or entering a hot air balloon, answering a question first in class…the list goes on and on.
In a nutshell, the things that make you cringe or think “I can never do that” ? …do them.
“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.”Robin Sharma
Take Baby Steps
A very important way to overcome fear and step out of your comfort zone is to take baby steps in the direction of your goals.
Understand that if your goals and dreams scare you sometimes, this is perfectly normal. Perhaps you want to achieve something that has not been achieved before, or you want to give a different twist to an already existing product and the thought of starting gives you all sorts of anxiety; start by taking baby steps. You may be looking to quit your job to get a better one or start doing what you love because your current job does not align with your purpose. You may be scared of losing your financial independence and/or somewhat financial stability that has aided you this far.
However, it is necessary to take baby steps in the direction of your goals. Some baby steps could be drafting a business proposal, reaching out to a potential investor who is a complete stranger, searching for new jobs, dusting up your CV, applying to schools to further your education if you desire, giving yourself closure before stepping out of a toxic relationship. Whatever the case may be, the important thing is to start somewhere.
When you take and accomplish these baby steps, you gain the necessary confidence required to step out of your comfort zone.
Develop a Growth Mindset
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”- Carol Dweck
Developing a growth mindset is crucial in overcoming fear and stepping out of your comfort zone. This is because your mindset affects your attitudes and general outlook on life.
Most often than not, we remain in our comfort zones due to the fear of failure which is intricately tied to the fear of the unknown. The fear of failure itself is so mentally paralysing and destabilising to the extent that the comfort zone begins to look so attractive that any opportunities for growth and learning are subconsciously shot down by the mind.
By developing a growth mindset, you are able to take on challenges while learning from them and increasing your abilities and achievements. A person with a growth mindset does not see failure in its raw form and does not get discouraged by mistakes, but sees failure as a learning opportunity to be and do better. Furthermore, he/she sees failure not as an evidence of unintelligence, but as an opportunity for growth and as such, is constantly willing to improve and positive about the future.
“A growth minded person believes that they can learn anything as long as they are willing to put in enough effort into it. If they fail, they would get back up and try again, this time with new knowledge about what not to do. They realize that their potential is only limited by their willingness to work hard and keep trying new approaches until something works.”
You can read more on how to develop a growth mindset here.
Words are so powerful and simple positive words which may seem ineffective on their own, can evoke a powerful response of feeling amazing, powerful and like you can take on the world.
By repeatedly saying positively affirmative words to yourself even if you do not believe them at first, your brain believes them. This is because your brain does not know the difference between what words are true and false. Positive affirmations help you counter negative thoughts that may pop up from time to time due to fear.
Also, be careful of the negative words you tell yourself or others about yourself, whether jokingly or in serious terms. Sooner or later, you begin to believe them and act accordingly. If you continuously say “this one is too big for me to do” or “I can only imagine working there” or “let me do the one I know I can do, that one is only a dream” then sooner or later you believe in and limit yourself accordingly.
You cannot know until you try.
You cannot control everything in life and you need to make peace with this. In the pursuit of your goals and dreams, you can only fight to overcome fear, take calculated risks, do your best and have some faith.
Your greatest fears are just that…your greatest fears. They have no power over you unless you give them power.
I pray you find the strength and bravery to step out of your comfort zone this 2020 and exist courageously.
Love and Light,
HOP ON THIS TRAIN!! Free, life-changing, concise, motivational and inspirational weekly emails guaranteed to help start your week right have started going out! If you have not subscribed then you are definitely missing out! Click the link here to sign up so you don’t miss out on anything! https://mailchi.mp/06750630c287/weeklyemails