The term comfort zone itself is self-explanatory. It describes the situation where one feels comfortable or at ease. One of the challenges in relation to comfort zone is getting out of it. The thing about getting out of our comfort zone I believe is for us to discover ourselves more. We may be losing on opportunities that might be very beneficial to us. We may not know our strengths and weaknesses since we are only repeating the norm. Otherwise, we may be staying in one place, not moving to the actually desired life goal, just for the sake of maintaining within our comfort zone. Many of us have problems with getting out of our comfort zones. I was, in fact, one of the people who wish to stay in my comfort zone all the time for as long as I want. Unfortunately, as I grow up, I had to face life challenges which force me to do things beyond the norm. So here, I am going to talk about pushing ourselves to leave our comfort zones.
1. Study your fear
It is often mentioned that people are scared of the things they don’t know about or in other words, the fear of the unknown. This fear is what drives anxiety, leading us to always picture only the worst-case scenario. The remedy to this is by gaining information. Studying on what we fear the most helps by providing details to the things that we fear and thus knowing the do’s and don’ts. The more we know about something, the less scary it seems. Afterward, you’d know what to do and the easier it will be to face.
2. Take baby steps
For someone to get out of their comfort zones, it needs patience. It is different for different people. Some people take some time while others may easily breakthrough. To me, it matters to understand my pace because I am challenging myself to overcome my fear. Starting with the first step then slowly turning the uncomfortable thing the other way round. Just like doing an exercise, we need to start by doing warm-ups before running or we’ll hurt ourselves. This rule applies here too. Baby steps, the crucial initial step.
3. Remain positive
Undoubtedly, fear of the unknown will make us think of the worst-case scenario. In addition to that, there will always be a time when we will have to experience a negative outcome. The fear combined with a negative outcome is often the cause of failure in pursuit of getting out of comfort zones. We need to keep in mind that negative things are bound to happen, it is natural. That should not allow that to be the barrier. It is important for us to maintain positive in such situations. Take those negativities as a lesson, learn from it and turn it to be room for improvements. This way, we overcome our fear and get to improve at facing the challenges.
4. Persuade yourself
Another failure factor is not having a solid reason to pursue something. It is not easy to step out of our comfort zone so we would need to have some sort of momentum. Build a compelling reason that makes us unable to not pursue things. Like myself, I was previously employed at a private firm where my employer was like a relative to me. That shows how comfortable I was there. However, I knew sooner or later I need to leave to pursue my life goal but for that to happen I need to persuade myself. Despite being comfortable where I was at, I had to think and search for a solid reason that can make me consider other potential opportunities. In the end, it is those momentums that boost our way towards what we desired.
5. Act as if you’re comfortable and just do it
One of my greatest fears is ‘telephonophobia’ – fear of making or taking phone calls. It was a fear where I would rather ignore a call from someone and text him/her afterwards. Or when someone asks me to call another, I would still send them a text instead of calling. But I was forced to overcome this fear due to work. Where I worked at, it requires me to answer and make phone calls at least more than 5 times a day. As early as my first day of working, I was already asked to call someone who is a stranger to me. Of course, as a new employee, I could not say no to my employer. Moreover, to hold a managerial position, I needed to start overcoming my fear. Due to work, I had to act as if I was comfortable. I had to make numerous phone calls over and over again, on daily basis. Over time I was no longer putting an act. I may not yet be entirely comfortable with phone calls but I am in a better place than I was before.
6. Make it a habit to try something new
“Each milestone makes it easier to tackle another milestone” – Latham, 2018.
There is no better way to grow than making continuous improvements. You have done the first step, you have overcome one of your fears, why stop there? Accomplishing one definitely boosts one’s self-confidence, I believe. Make use of that self-confidence to overcome new challenges. This way you are working your way around your comfort zone: out of the usual and expanding. Keep on challenging yourself to try new things and you’ll find yourself achieving success after success.
Getting out of comfort zones may not be the easiest thing to do. What matters the most is your determination and confidence when carrying out the above. With these in hand, you will eventually focus on the benefits and forget about the failures. Getting out or expanding your comfort zone pave your way to more and better opportunities you did not know exist before. Be brave and face it head on if you want to change your life and further, to a better you.