Are you up for skydiving? Riding one of the largest coasters known to man? Or how about even presenting important information to 1500 people? Where’s your comfort zone? Would you take a leap of faith and go for it?
Psychologists actually say that in order to maximize our self performance in all areas of our life we need to push the boundaries and bare a little stress and anxiety in our lives? It’s actually a good thing and benefits our growth and overall wellness.
We all have our comfort zone, it’s safe there, our routine and what we know. Our comfort zone is neither a good place nor bad, it’s a neutral place where we all navigate to, to feel safe.
Stepping outside it means doing something that makes us a little uncomfortable and causes a slight increase in our anxiety known as being in a place of “optimal anxiety”.
When we’re in our ‘optimal anxiety’ we find ourselves taking a risk allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to an extent.
CAUTION though, if we tip the scales too much, there is a danger zone, and too much stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on our performance and overall well-being. For the purpose of this article we’re going to focus on the benefits of stepping outside our comfort zone.
WE’RE ALL HERE TO LEARN AND GROW
When we think about wellness and the importance of personal growth this encompasses putting ourselves in those uncomfortable situations where there is a risk of failure, rejection, and unknown outcomes.
Whatever the outcome from those particular situations may be, it’s a learning opportunity in which we gain life experience and skills that nourishes our growth and overall self being.
These moments can inspire and educate us like nothing else. When we look at knowledge learned from stepping outside our comfort zone it can often leave us thirsty for more.
Once we start pushing those boundaries it gets easier over time and you will be become more accustomed to being in that ‘optimal anxiety’ zone continuing to push the boundaries further as you set your challenges a little higher.
Brene Brown, a professor, researcher, author and motivational speaker on shame, vulnerability and empathy explains in an interview with the New York Times, that the worst thing we can do is pretend that fear and uncertainty don’t exist.
By choosing to take risks in a controlled fashion and challenging ourselves to do things we normally wouldn’t do, it can actually better prepare us for those life changes that force us out of our comfort zone unexpectedly.
We become more productive in all aspects of our lives when we’re pushing our boundaries and can help us get more things done sooner and find smarter ways to work.
Being in our comfort zone for to long, we tend lose our ambition and drive to learn and try new things.
SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS
While you might not be up for riding the largest coaster, going skydiving or jumping off cliffs, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone. For each of us this will look different. But whatever your particular situation is, just know, YOU GOT THIS!
- Travel to new places
- Speak up in group settings (work, school, committees)
- Learn a new skill
- Make some changes to your everyday routine to spice up your life
And whatever the outcome, just know, experience will provide you with insight and growth.
We naturally revert back to our comfort zone, and that’s ok, but we need not stay there too long as we become less motivated to try new experiences and we can become stuck.
As a Social Service Worker having worked in the field for 15 years, I was quite fulfilled in my career up until 3 months ago. I was challenged in my work and was provided ample opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.
I am still working in the field however, I felt that I needed something different in my life. I needed to step outside what I know and try something totally new to me. You see, I’d become so comfortable in my routine I never really considered doing anything else with my life.
So, I decided to learn how to do something very new to me and waaaaay out of my comfort zone. I decided to start my own blogging website.
I have to tell you, the thought of getting started was extremely uncomfortable. I knew nothing about having a website, am not techy when it comes to computer programming but it’s certainly been a learning experience and I continue to push the boundaries to succeed.
I’m sure we’ve all pushed our boundaries from time to time but it’s important to set goals for ourselves and continue to push those boundaries to work toward becoming a better version of ourselves.
5 REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
- You will become more confident and social person and a better version of yourself
- You’ll learn something new, find passions you never knew you had
- Taking risks, regardless of the outcome is an opportunity for growth
- Challenging ourselves pushes us to dive into our personal knowledge and resources. You have no idea what you’re made of until you venture outside into unfamiliarity
- Leaving our comfort zone helps us to adapt to change – each one of us transitions throughout our lives and it’s all about change. Life transitions transform us
Stepping outside our comfort zone can be a little overwhelming so start on a smaller scale by trying a new food, complimenting a stranger, changing up your daily routine activities. Have an open mind and be open to experience. The more you find yourself taking chances with an unknown outcome, the more you’ll challenge yourself to go further.
Click on the video below that inspired me to and get out of my comfort zone – it may be just the motivation you need to get you out of yours too.
Do you feel inspired? Are you ready to try something new, take a risk and learn from the experience?
Your happiness and overall wellness depends on this, when you embrace new experiences and growth it makes our lives more interesting, opens up opportunities and broadens our social world.
FINDING THE COURAGE TO TAKE THE PLUNGE
Start by writing down your goal and define it. You’ll most likely achieve your goal if it is written down.
Tell yourself, you don’t have any other option but go for it. Backing out doesn’t exist
Smile (even if you have to fake it). Research shows that if you force yourself to smile you will feel better AND if you smile and tell yourself you can do this, you’ll have more confidence
Take it one step at a time, set smaller goals for yourself to achieve your ultimate goal (by breaking down your goal into steps, you can measure your success and success can be reached in multiple levels)
Some of us would rather jump in quick with both feet and psyche ourselves up and just get it over with. Tell yourself before jumping in you’ve got the courage to do this and that whatever the outcome is, it’s ok.
If you never step outside your comfort zone, you will never go places, try new experiences or grow.
When we push our boundaries, it opens up the door to learn who we really are and what we are actually capable of accomplishing.
It’s easy to find ourselves stuck and disinterested in learning new things or trying new experiences if we stay too long in our comfort zone. It’s important we experience ‘optimal anxiety’ to continue to be the best version of ourselves.
If you experience severe anxiety or depression, you may need additional supports with coming out of your comfort zone, click here to access supports that may help you gain the confidence you may need to take that first step.
It’s ok to drift back into your comfort zone, this is where we are safe and can catch our breath and gain courage and strength to gear up for our next adventure.
What have your done to challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone, and what did you learn from the outcome of your experience. Leave me a comment, I’d love to her about it.