01 Feb Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
Stepping out of your comfort zone sounds easy but seems like a job for David against Goliath. The key word is “seems”. The truth is that everything is a matter of watching your fearful thoughts. And a thought is only a thought and can be changed. The good news is then, that courage isn’t an impossible task to master, but absolutely learnable with a bit of practice. For everyone.
Why are we afraid and where’s the problem?
Being afraid is a natural instinct and for good reason. It helps us to be cautious and on our feet when danger is around the corner. For our evolutionary precursors, the flight-of-fight response was a valuable survival mechanism. However, fear that has no basis in reality is one of the biggest things that keeps us from pursuing the life we desire. Fear of rejection, fear of defying convention, fear of leaving a job one hates, fear of getting out of a bad relationship, – fear of change in general. It limits our abilities and holds us prisoner in the “could’ve, should’ve” stage causing either resignation, resentment or sheer unhappiness. Do you want to life that kind of life?
What’s wrong about feeling comfortable?
If you answered the 2nd question with “no”, then carry on reading. Feeling comfortable isn’t intrinsically bad. We all need a “soft spot” to charge our batteries and find some peace to gather energy for new undertakings. But when you’re circling within your comfort zone out of fear and not for recreation, your abilities and creativity is held captive – your ability to grow taken hostage. This “negative” fear, built and nurtured by unguarded thoughts, dominates you. And with that perverts the intrinsic purpose of actually serving you. If your energy is only utilized to avoid failure or rejection, then that energy is used “to stay safe”. But “staying safe” impedes creating the life you envision. Deadlock. That happens every time we attempt to move beyond our comfort zone: fear is knocking on our doors. And prevents us to take action. So we stay “safe.” Staying in a space that we know well, no matter how bad it is, gives us a sense of security because it is familiar. We are used to it. But that doesn’t mean that we are happy. Or contented. Sometimes we are even miserable. Considering that, staying “comfortable” doesn’t sound that comfortable anymore, does it?
What’s the benefit of rocking the boat?
So, if unwatched thoughts create “unreal” fear and the cosiness of our comfort zones are not leading to happiness, what’s the benefit of stepping out? Every experience outside the familiar framework opens new opportunities. New connections and abilities prepare you to capitalize on opportunities when they present themselves. Putting yourself in a uncomfortable position sharpens unused skills as it goes back to your basic survival instincts. In the process you even learn to adapt and develop new skills. Stepping out helps to turn around the power: YOU master fear – not the other way around. In a world beyond the comfort zone, there’s no time to worry about failing. It’s about swimming in the cold water you’re actually in. Every time you make it, it will boost your ego; every time you won’t, you learn to laugh in fear’s face because you realize that things WEREN’T as bad as thought. Why? Because you’re still alive reading this here! Another truly great benefit is that you finally have the ultimate legitimization to sing Edith Piaf’s song “Je ne regrette rien” full lungs! And wouldn’t it be great to live a life without the “what if’s”? Eventually, ditching your comfort zone helps you to get acquainted with yourself more than ever before, experiencing personal growth and self-acknowledgment of your true strengths. Moreover, it enables you apply new methods to accept your weaknesses and deal with them properly instead of allowing to beat you up.
Where’s the manual?
Usually we think that not everybody can be a hero. Life doesn’t go with a manual, right? Actually, these common believes are elementary untrue. EVERYBODY can, and even has to, be their own hero. It is your life and therefore your story. You decide which role you are going to play. So, where’s the manual then? As we’re all individual, there is no ONE ultimate “tour guide” for „life“, but a multitude of tools that will help yo to find what works for you. For a start, take a look at Brian Tracy’s practical steps to „step out“. You will quickly realize that there is not magic but pure will and … a little bit of practice.
I wish you the best of luck.
Building The Courage to Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Inspirational notes from Brian Tracy
1. Dream Big Dreams
2. Make a Commitment
3. Move Out of Your Comfort Zone
4. Step Out In Faith
5. Risk Failure
6. Face Your Years
7. Be Willing To Make Mistakes
8. Accept Complete Responsibility
9. Persist Longer