This is definitely something that is not easy and in my experience, there are people that try to stay there entire life within the comfort zone and others that try to keep challenging themselves. Why are there these types of people? For that, I don’t have an answer yet… But I have already written an article about this kinda topic: The 2 paths of life
In the end, it must be related to the way people grow up and the inputs they got while growing up. But that’s not what this article is about. Here I would like to focus on WHY it is so important to get out of your comfort zone and ways how to do that, but also make it clear that there are limits.
Why should I get out of my comfort zone?
Good question 😉 Well, that’s why it is called the comfort zone, it feels comfortable. But the only way you can grow as a person is by getting out of your comfort zone. What you will achieve by doing that, is that your comfort zone will expand and there will be fewer and fewer things that will make you feel uncomfortable. Doesn’t that sound like a good place to be in? A place where there are not many situations that would make you feel uncomfortable?
I felt so uncomfortable…
I remember when I started working my first full-time job, there were soooo many situations that made me feel uncomfortable, like presenting, explaining something to my boss, explaining something to a customer, calling someone in person… You name it! The example I would like to focus on here is the explaining part. I was not good at it and I didn’t feel comfortable. But then I made the decision I want to get better at it. So, the first step in my mind was: “I want to grow”. After that, there were a lot of opportunities to grow and I got a lot of experience in explaining complex topics, and experience by experience I got better. Do you think I feel uncomfortable now when I have to present something? No! Would I feel uncomfortable presenting something to an audience of more than 1.000 people? Probably, because I didn’t do it yet. But I would have the experience to do it and try it.
Stay away from the panic zone!
If you look at the picture above, you will see that there are 3 zones. Comfort, challenge, and panic. You should always try to be in the challenge zone, that’s where you grow the most. And by growing I mean, the comfort zone will expand! So, basically, the whole circle keeps growing. The panic zone you want to avoid! Let’s also make an example to understand it better.
Presenting in front of an audience
Let’s say you don’t feel comfortable presenting in front of other people. Would you start immediately by presenting in front of a large audience? NO! Of course not. What would seem more realistic is, present something to 2 – 3 people. That seems much more achievable but still is a challenge. Once you get comfortable presenting in front of 3 people, take the next step, make it 10! And so on… you get the idea. You don’t have to over challenge yourself, because that actually would cause you to go in panic mode, you would have a really bad experience and your comfort zone would actually shrink.
Imagine being very introverted and not being able to present even to 3 people. Now you get forced in front of an audience of 100 people. That would be a shock and would traumatize you more than doing good.
So, have this in mind when you challenge yourself or you are someone that has to challenge other people to make them grow (for example if you are a team leader).
Get step by step out of your comfort zone
Don’t rush it. If you have a big goal or a fear that you would like to overcome, take it step by step. As mentioned before with the example of presenting. Set a goal where you feel like: yes, that will be a challenge but I can see myself doing it. That’s the right amount of challenge, don’t overdo it! And then you will see how fast you can grow. Once you realize how great you are and how much you can actually get out of your comfort zone and how much your comfort zone will increase! You will be able to walk through life much calmer.
The masters of getting out of the comfort zone
I can’t write an article about this without mentioning Yes Theory. If you don’t know them, I highly recommend you check out there YouTube channel!
The first video that can be currently found on their YouTube channel was 5 years ago and their main motto is saying YES to things that are outside of your comfort zone and by doing that they gathered sooo many crazy experiences.
Project 30 – Yes Theory
This concept of challenging yourself in 30 days is great and you can actually take something away from that. Make also a list of 30 things you would like to do, where you feel like they are out of your comfort zone and just do them!
After the Project 30 they just kept going and their YouTube channel was a great success! In the past 5 years they got interviewed on the daily show, they pretended to be guides in a museum, they became a male stripper, they asked strangers to swap rooms for 24 hours, they participated and completed an iron man and so much more! (Don’t judge them by the example I’ve picked :D)
I remember when I discovered their channel and how inspiring it was, I hope it does the same for you!
Takeaway – Challenge yourself!
The takeaway of this post is, keep challenging yourself and you will keep growing. It’s worth it. Take your time, go the speed you need to. The greatest things in life can happen outside of your comfort zone. Nothing truly great has ever been created by staying in your comfort zone. Seek discomfort!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂