Where’s your Comfort Zone? It May Be Time for a Change

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.  Where's your Comfort Zone? - Image

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!  Where's your Comfort Zone? - Image

 

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.

Where's your Comfort Zone? - Image

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

Where's your Comfort Zone? - Change

 

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.

Where's your Comfort Zone? - Image

 

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.

 

 

26 thoughts on “Where’s your Comfort Zone? It May Be Time for a Change”

  1. I have to confess that I am a big fan of my confort zone. The downside is that when we don’t push ourselves, we don’t make progress in life. I had bad moments in my life and that was due to lack of initiative and courage to face unconfortable situations. I will follow your advise and do my best to get out of my confort zone.

    • Hi Stefan

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It can be difficult for us to leave our comfort zone especially if we’ve encountered trauma or many unpleasant experiences in our life. Ultimately though, leaving our comfort zone will shape the person who we’re meant to be and can take us to places we didn’t know existed.

      I’m glad you’re going to try your best to get out of your comfort zone, you won’t regret it!!

      All the best to you

      Tracy

  2. Hi, Tracey.

    This article is beautifully written. I love your writing style, and I really enjoyed reading it.
    Your article will motivate a lot of people including me. Actually, I have thought of “comfort zone” concept for some time. But I haven’t taken any brave actions until recently. About 3 months ago, I have decided to take some new steps on my life, and I am quite busy with it nowadays. Your article ensures that my first step was a right choice.

    As you mentioned, we all have fear, and getting over it will determine whether our lives become successful or not. The linked video was very powerful and motivating. I am over 45 years old, but I still need to grow a lot. All 5 reasons you mentioned make perfect sense to me. All the reasons are totally agreeable. Especially, I love “Taking risks, regardless of the outcome, is an opportunity for growth”. Yes, you are right. I can fail, but it is still a valuable lesson in the long run. I can learn a lot from it.

    I am glad to learn about your website, and I will definitely read more articles in your site.
    Thank you for providing great motivation.

    • Hi Jason

      Thank you for your feedback. I’m glad you found the article inspirational. I think no matter how old we should never stop coming out of our comfort zone, we should always be pushing the boundaries and never stop growing, it’s the only way to live our best life.

      I appreciate all your positive feedback on the article.

      All the best on your fut

  3. What a great topic. So many things mentioned here really hit home. Many times it is easier just to do the same old thing and never take a chance, see the world or experience something new. Now this is not me, but I do know people who have never even left their county and would never consider leaving their dull job that doesn’t pay enough.

    I am inspired by this article. Thank you for sharing!
    Beth

    • Hi Beth

      Thanks for your feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.
      I think we all know someone who has a difficult time leaving their comfort zone. For some the thought is just too overwhelming. Encouragement, support and professional guidance can be of help for those who may find themselves stuck.

      All the best to you

      Tracy

  4. I have to agree with Jason Kang. This article is written beautifully. I also agree that it will motivate many people including me.
    Stepping outside of my comfort zone might make me uncomfortable for a while but once I achieve whatever goal or boundary I have set, I begin to feel a great deal of relief.
    I must say again, this is a beautiful website. You are a professional at building it as far as I am concerned.

    May the Good Lord continue to Bless You.

    Jerry

    • Hi Jerry

      Thank you for your kind words. Setting those goals for ourselves and taking the leap of faith to step outside what we know and experience those uncomfortable feelings will define the person we are or will become. Growth comes from change and experience and involves stepping outside our comfort zone.

      All the best to you

      Tracy

  5. Tracy,
    this is very well written. I am very familiar with both ends of the spectrum in comfort and discomfort. A year ago, i made a career change because I was too comfortable, bored and motivated to achieve more. I re-educated and pushed myself into a career, I thought I was ready to do well in. Unfortunately, I am in a position now, where so much discomfort and overwhelming emotional stress caused me to under-perform and freeze up. I am in the process of backing off and re-calibrating.

    Good content, very real and applicable.

    • Hi Benn

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you are experiencing overwhelming emotional stress as a result of coming out your comfort zone. When we push ourselves too far out of our comfort zone continuously without a break we run the risk of burnout, depression and infact becoming less productive. It’s always a good idea (in my opinion) to go back into your comfort zone and catch your breath and debrief and refocus. Sounds like you are aware of what you need to do by stepping back and re-evaluating your situation.

      Wishing you all the best on your journey

      Tracy

  6. Absolutely awesome post Tracy. It took me a while to accept that all of our growth generally comes from times when we are out of our comfort zone. I always just wanted to stay in my comfort zone and work on things from there, but I realized the hard way that it’s not really possible. When you aren’t putting yourself out there, you aren’t giving yourself a chance or reason to grow. One of my favorite books on the idea of the comfort zone is a book called Unleash your Brakes by James Newman. I think it was written back in the 70’s and the author is widely credited with first introducing the concept of the comfort zone. Great book that I would recommend on this topic! This definitely gave me a lot of things to think about. Thank you for writing this!

    • Hi Dan,
      Thanks for the book recommendation, I will definitely look it up. I totally agree that we learn and grow as individuals by stepping outside our comfort zone and by experiencing new challenges. Opportunities tend to present themselves as a result of putting ourselves out there.

      All the best to you

      Tracy

  7. Great post!

    The biggest tragedy these days is how many people are “stuck” in their comfort zones, too afraid to leave. I was like that, but I was finally able to escape.

    Now I work towards finding scary things to do that push my boundaries, and it is so freeing! Thank you for this reminder to keep moving forward and to change for the better every chance I get. 🙂

    • Hi Irma
      Thank you for for your comment. I too have had times where I find myself stuck inside my comfort zone and I’ve really had to work to come out of it. I can’t think of an instance where I wasn’t glad I stepped out. The outcome wasn’t always what I wanted or expected but what I learned from each experience was well worth the risk.

      Thanks again for your feedback
      All the best

      Tracy

  8. I love this post!  I remember I had a job once, and was talking to the lady in Human Resources.  I was telling her some of my life story, and she said she could tell I was not afraid of change!  This is something foreign to so many people, especially where I live in Eastern Kentucky.  Change is a good thing and it helps us grow and learn about the world around us!

    • Hi Jessie

      That’s fantastic!!  Sounds like you you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone on many occasions throughout your journey.  It’s easy to fall into a comfortable routine and not want to venture away from it,  but you’re absolutely right, by experiencing changes in our lives, the great and not so great changes, it ultimately provides us strength and courage to continue to push our boundaries which allows us to be the best version of ourselves.

      All the best

      Tracy

  9. Most of us want to stay in our comfort zone and that’s all good.
    But I have found lately that it is beneficial to step out of my comfort zone sometimes in order to get better results.
    I believe that you have to take risks sometimes because nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.
    Having goals and being positive and optimistic is the way to be and being in your comfort zone works for the most part.
    I wouldn’t be afraid of leaving the comfort zone because it might be the right choice for a solution to your problem.
    Would you agree about this?

    • Hi Rob

      I totally agree!  And the best part is, is that even if you didn’t solve your problem, there is always something to be learned when we step outside our comfort zone.  We should all making a point to push our boundaries in a controlled environment to gain new experience and knowledge. 

      Thanks for your comment.

      All the best

  10. I felt like you were talking to me when I read your post. I have been through a lot but I have never given up. I am used to stepping out of my comfort zone because I know this is the only way I will make progress and move forward in life.

    • Hi Larry,

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You’re so right when you say that stepping out of your comfort zone means moving forward. I’m glad that you were able to push through your challenges in life and never give up. Challenges faced by us all throughout our journey allows us the opportunity to prove to ourselves just how much strength we endure.

      Thanks again
      All the best

      Tracy

  11. I agree with this completely. Maybe not the skydiving idea, but getting out of our comfort zone. This is the only way that we can grow as people, and get to new places. I think very few of us are truly happy where we are in life, and I think this is because we are too comfortable where we are. Those that are happy where they are probably went through some tough moments and changes to get to their goals. Thank you for sharing this is a very motivational article!

    • Hi Travis

      It’s a big NO for skydiving for me too ( I mean come on, there’s stepping outside your comfort zone and there’s plain stupidity lol).  

      You’re right, it’s easy to become comfortable and not want to shake that up, but it’s important that we do because it will ultimately define our true-self. 

      Thanks for your comment

      All the best

      Tracy 

  12. Well! I would say that getting out of my comfort zone has been rather an easier said than done for me. I did not know how it happens but I just do not always feel the need to challenge myself to go for the peak bearing in mind that there is always more to come from not staying within the comfort zone and just like always, I haven’t made the real career breakthrough. Just maybe it is time for change. Very great post here. 

    • Hi Rodarrick,

      I totally understand what you’re saying.  We can become so comfortable in our routines that we lose motivation to try new things or adventures.  The key is to push ourselves into change and grow from those experiences.

      I appreciate you taking the time to provide some feedback.

      All the best

      Tracy~

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