I believe that you must start stepping out of your comfort zone to experience big growth. I am not alone with this thinking. This quote jumped out at me recently:
“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Roy T. Bennett
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Eating the same foods every day, going to work at the same place you’ve always worked or spending your day keeping to yourself at work are all forms of comfort zones. Every individual has a different idea of what they are comfortable with. We do the same routine, eat the same foods, and keep the same people around us in order to feel comfortable. Our comfort zone is like our home. It’s where things are familiar, restful, and normal.
The comfort zone, as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary means “a situation in which you feel comfortable and in which your ability and determination are not being tested.” You feel relaxed and calm in your comfort zone.
I remained in a career that no longer served me and, in fact was causing me to feel unhappy and unfulfilled for at least five years because it was more comfortable for me to stay than to face the unknown. Finally I resigned and forced myself to get out into the world and move on. Within a year I had a new life and a renewed sense of joy and optimism with the lifestyle I was creating.
We often don’t get out of our comfort zone unless we’re forced into a new situation, like a promotion at your job that causes you to speak in front of others or you’re forced to face new situations because of health issues.
The truth is most of us won’t step out of our comfort zones, even for a small step, unless we’re forced. But did you know that by staying in your comfort zone, we are keeping ourselves from growing, both personally and professionally?
In fact, when you begin stepping out of your comfort zone you are inspired to do it more often. This “facing your fear” helps you grow more confident in your abilities. This isn’t easy and you’ll have to find ways to push yourself. You’ll want to set yourself up for success when you do. If not, a wrong turn out of your comfort zone can lead you to never trying again. But you can’t let fear rule you either. You have to find a balance.
Before you take that leap, you need to know why and how your comfort zone is keeping you small and learn if you are stuck in hiding in your comfort zone. Let’s explore the benefits of facing your fear, ways to get out of your comfort zone, and how to leave it in the past.
“Do one thing every day that scares you. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
You might not have really thought about how having a regular routine of how you do things is keeping you from growing personally and professionally. After all, aren’t routines good for being productive towards your goals? Not necessarily.
Our comfort zone keeps us from growing and changing. It holds us back from going after our big scary goals. Staying where we are comfortable keeps us from enjoying all the wonderful experiences in the world.
By staying in our comfort zone, we miss out on opportunities that stretch and strengthen us while stepping out of your comfort zone strengthens you on many levels. Compare being in your comfort zone to lifting weights. At first, your muscles ache from lifting the weight. But as you continue to lift, your muscles grow stronger. The same is true with your weaker skills. With training, they grow stronger.
For instance, maybe you’re an introvert with a great skill for organizing and a keen eye for detail. But as part of your job, you need to recruit others. Instead of doing all the work yourself, you instead step out of your comfort zone and learn how to sell to others. This may scare you, but your skills will grow and expand as you learn.
Your comfort zone has a way of keeping you from advancing in your career, your goals and in life. When you strengthen your skills, it helps you be better prepared to achieve your goals. Having bettered yourself, you open the door for new opportunities for advancement. You’re no longer limited or passed over because you were afraid to go for the skills needed.
For example, you’ve been practicing your public speaking skills. You’ve put in hours practicing in front of others. Now you’re ready to give your talk to potential clients. If you stay in your comfort zone, you won’t gain ground on reaching your goals.
Or. you’re someone like me who had a fear of public speaking and avoided it at all costs for many years. Once I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the face of my fear I discovered that speaking to groups of all sizes is one of the greatest joys of my life!
Stepping out of your comfort zone keeps your life from becoming dull. Outside of your comfort zone, you can find many ways to find excitement. If it’s scary to jump into a sport, start small with something fun that isn’t as scary. You don’t know what you’re missing until you step out and try.
Sometimes embarrassment can keep you in your comfort zone. We’re afraid of looking foolish for doing something. This keeps us from doing things we enjoy or might want to pursue.
Living in your comfort zone robs you of growth and new experience that keep your life exciting, fun and worth living. It keeps you from changing personally and advancing in your career and life. Enjoy stepping out of your comfort zone every day and watch your life change in ways you previously could not have imagined.
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I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.