What is it that make you feel uncomfortable?
Is it the prospect of networking? Starting a business that’s been playing on your mind for awhile? Joining a new society at uni? Sending a particular email? Reaching out to a brand as a blogger? Going on dates by yourself? Trying something new or taking up a new hobby? Starting a blog or youtube channel? Contacting someone you’ve never met before?
What do you keep shying away from?
I’m gradually realising more and more that feeling uncomfortable is (more often than not) a positive sign and a signal that we should press on with whatever prospect has made us feel that way.
“Comfort zone – a situation in which you feel comfortable and in which your abilities and determination are not being tested” – Cambridge dictionary
The thing is, whilst we are at ease within the walls of our comfort zone we are actually missing out on so much of what life has to offer, and majorly stunting our personal growth.
Envisage your comfort zone as 4 tall enclosed brick walls, within which you are familiar with your surroundings and how everything works, and in which you have the same old daily routine. Now there are many things beyond these four walls that intrigue you , that you’d like to discover and explore, and potential opportunities await. However these things require you to break down your surrounding walls and step out onto unfamiliar territory where unknown obstacles await. At this point you have 2 choices: Stay within the comfort of your four walls knowing what potentially awaits you, or accept the challenge and breakdown each wall brick by brick.
Jeans – ASOS Ridley in deep blue wash
Jumper – H & M
Bag – Banana Republic
Now the reason why I mention breaking down all 4 walls rather than just one (because technically knocking down one wall allows you to step outside) is because it’s super easy to break down one wall and run back in and rebuild it the minute any fear/anxiety/doubt kicks in (like dipping your toes in the cold sea). But breaking down each wall leaves you out in the the wild, and makes it much harder for you to run back and quickly rebuild. You need to break down and address everything that’s holding you back to fully succeed in this.
Now this is all a lot easier said than done, so I thought I’d share with you the steps and questions I always try to ask myself just after that voice in my head starts persuading me to remain within my comfort zone…
1.Identify the walls of your comfort zone
Often people will say they can’t do something , and when you ask them why, their response will be “I just can’t…”or “I don’t know…” etc
The first thing to do is identify what it is that’s stopping you from branching out and removing yourself from your comfort zone. Is it a lack of self-confidence and self-belief, fear of other peoples opinions, fear of rejection, the need to develop a completely new skill…? Question what is making you feel uncomfortable.
2. Now you’ve identified whats holding you back, you need to question it’s significance and value, and decide for yourself whether they’re good enough reasons not to take that step.
3. How do I benefit myself by staying within my comfort zone?
The only benefit will usually be that you will remain being comfortable.
4. What are the potential outcomes?
Being realistic…not all potential outcomes are necessarily going to be positive ones, however more often than not you’ll find the positives outweigh the negatives, and negative outcomes can also turn out to be positive learning experiences. Sometimes, if it goes wrong, it’s a lesson learned that’s helped us to grow and shaped our character.
5. Why did you want to pursue it in the first place?
The funny thing is that these are usually the things we genuinely want to do anyway! Try and remember this, and backtrack to that initial thought you had before any doubt kicked in.
It will take perseverance at times, but by pushing yourself to break free from your comfort zone, you’ll eventually become comfortable doing things that were once beyond your comfort zone and hence your comfort zone expands!
So whatever those things are, I challenge you to go out and pursue them, and believe that for you…the best is yet to come!