Why Your Comfort Zone is so Comfortable
Growing up as an identical twin was fun. I had my best friend with me all the time, even when we started elementary school. I never had to go to a new place or be around new people by myself. My best friend and giggle buddy was with me all the time. Life was great.
Then, third grade ripped our twin-world apart. The school talked our parents into separating us into different classrooms so we could develop our own personalities. The school even suggested we stop dressing alike.
Gasp!! But we're identical twins!! How will we continue to confuse the public??? It's a conspiracy! By separating us, our teacher will never call us by the wrong name again. Oh, the horror of this evil plot to tear us apart!!!!
"C'mon, Laura. Was it really that traumatic?" Yes, as a 9-year-old girl it was very traumatic because it was new and unfamiliar.
Our parents agreed to put us in separate classes but we continued to dress alike in different colors. Talk about separation anxiety! We've never been separated before! How would we survive being apart during the day??!!
It was hard at first getting out of our comfort zone of being together but there were so many good things that came from it. We enlarged our circle of friends, we tried different activities, and we built our confidence as individual as well as being a twin.
2 Reasons Why Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone is Hard
Why do some people look forward to trying something new and others cringe? It's mindset. It's all in your perspective of the new change. Change can be fun and exciting or change can represent a loss of control.
I remember moving out of state and taking my young son to a new playground to burn off some energy. He was so excited to jump in and play with the new kids. "Hi! I'm Justin. Can I play with you?"
I was not as excited as my son. I saw a bunch of parents that I knew I should interact with but I wanted to stick my nose in a book to avoid meeting new people. I'm more of an introvert than my son. Could you guess?
Each time we went to the playground, I made myself get out of my comfort zone and make small talk with the parents sitting around me. At least we had something in common to talk about--kids. As I got to know some of the parents better, I enjoyed our trips to the playground and liked the extrovert I became.
Your comfort zone represents safety and security which keeps your stress and anxiety low. Stepping out of our comfort zone causes a rise in stress and anxiety because we're faced with unknown variables.
What if I try something new and I fail? What if I trust someone new and they hurt me? These questions will keep you from getting out of your comfort zone every time. Instead, look at it from your new perspective.
There is a healthy level of stress that can bring excitement and growth with each new experience. It's about discovering new things about you that you didn't realize. However, you have to find that right amount of healthy stress to take that first baby step outside of your comfort zone.
The Secret to Growth is All In Your Perspective
Fear of failure is the number one reason why people don't try. So let's find out what's the worse thing that can happen if you fail at something. Think of something that you want to try but you're scared to try. For example, a new hobby, a new sport, a cooking class, a weekend hiking group, etc.
Are you scared of failing at the new activity or embarrassing yourself in front of others? Keep asking yourself why to get to the root of the problem. Why do you lose interest in a new activity when it gets a little difficult? Can you ask someone for help or do you want someone to do it for you? Why?
Let's look at it from the other perspective. What if I succeed? What if I learn a new activity and meet some nice people? What if I make new friends and start socializing more? What if I volunteer my time and see that I can make a difference?
The first step outside your comfort zone is the hardest to make. But each time you step out, it will become easier.
Baby steps are the way to go when trying to make a change in your life. Each step builds your confidence to keep going.
If you make a mistake, then adjust your course. Mistakes are not failures unless you stop trying all together. Mistakes are lessons learned if you keep trying.
Before GPS, I hated driving someplace new because I have no sense of direction and would get lost. Even with GPS, I still get lost but I have found so many shortcuts from driving the "scenic routes" and I've learned how to get around the city better. I discovered new restaurants and stores that I would have never known. See, those weren't failures, they were new adventures.
Life Is Exciting Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Life is so much more exciting than what you experience inside your comfort zone. You have untapped knowledge and talents inside you waiting to get out. Each challenge and risk you experience enlarges your comfort zone. Being open to new experiences helps build your resilience and how you handle change.
Going through my divorce after my heart transplant, I knew I had to find a new income source. Because COVID was still front and center, I had to pretty much quarantine myself the first year of my heart transplant recovery. I knew how to start and run my own business so I decided to start an online coaching business I could run virtually. I found a mentor to help me build my business. I'm so excited to put my resilience skills into play and show others how to transform their hardship into hope and experience growth.
It's been six months since my divorce was final. During that time, I felt like my world had turned upside down. I didn't want to find a new normal. I thought I wanted to stay in my miserable comfort zone. Now, I feel like a beautiful butterfly coming out of a dark cocoon. It's time to fly, baby!
I've got a new, strong heart and a new life full of opportunities ahead. I'm reinventing myself and experiencing positive growth at age 59 in spite of my unexpected divorce after 27 years of marriage. I went from ill health, working 70 hours a week for my ex-husband's business with no life to better health, a new business requiring less than 35 hours a week, and time to travel or experience new activities. I had no choice but to get out of my comfort zone and I'm so glad I did.
4 Tips to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Succeed
1. Switch up the easy things. Drive a different way to work. Wake up 15 minutes early and exercise or eat breakfast if you normally don't. Order a different meal at your favorite restaurant. Video chat instead of texting a friend. You get the idea, right?
2. Make a list of why it's beneficial to leave your comfort zone. Start a list and add to it for a week. Keep the reasons on your phone or on post its around your house. In order to get out of your comfort zone, you have to have a good reason to do so.
3. Start a new story about the new you. As the motivational speaker Tony Robbins says, “Divorce our stories, and marry the truth.” This is easier to do if you start a new job or move to a new place. No one knows you so what would the new you do? Get a new hairstyle. Buy new decorative pillows for your couch.
4. Stop procrastinating and do something. Don't wait for the perfect time to do something. Do it right now. Throw the clothes hanging on the treadmill onto your bed and walk for 15 minutes. You can do anything for 15 minutes. Set a timer. Clean off the kitchen table, Go through old mail while standing over the trash can.
So, what about you? What can you do to step out of your comfort zone? What will you do to step out of your comfort zone? Do it today.