A comfort zone is any space where we feel safe. I know that I create my comfort zones based on my familiarity with something and things that are out of my comfort zone can make me stressed and tense. For me, a comfort zone could be my home, favorite restaurants and the beach. I immediately tense up behind the wheel of a car on a new road, or at the theater as the lights go down (I used to be an actress & go straight into stage fright….even from my audience seat).
You see, we build our comfort zone out of habits, patterns and stereotypes. It is comfortable for us to live in a predictable world, but the longer we are in it, the harder it is to step outside. Any unusual action causes tension and stress and even frightens and frustrates us. We forget that in the real world not only troubles except us, but also fascinating adventures, discoveries and unknown sensations.
You stay in your box if you act automatically. We mechanically repeat the usual actions and know their result, and I believe that it limits our growth as a human being. You see, we limit ourselves when we don’t step out and do things that are uncomfortable for ourslves, and at least for me there are things that I REALLY WANT TO DO. Here’s how I deal with stepping out of that zone (which by the way, has helped me become a better traveler).
Step One – PUSH YOURSELF
Every action that you take begins with choosing a direction and making the first step. We need to decide where we want to go and why. Knowing that this is something that you REALLY want to do can empower that first step. For example, you understand that you have problems with communication, and in turn you fail to contact new people and it limits you. Start small. You don’t have to step into a big party and start schmoozing right away, but maybe joining a book group or hanging out with the other moms at soccer practice is a great place to start. Here you should learn to get acquainted as often as possible, initiate communication and make it work comfortable for you. Pushing yourself, even though it scares you is the most important thing you can do.
Step Two – How much do you need?
The next step is understanding the problem. Take a minute to think about the result (and pleasure) that you’ll get once you tackle your fear. Usually the result can be measured by numbers, facts, estimates and other criteria (for those who are scientifically inclined). Once you understand how pleasurable the outcome will be, it will be that much easier to come up with a plan.
Let’s go back to that communication issue (maybe you’re shy), for guys you can focus on the level of your confidence when meeting ladies and dating Russian women , or women from other countries for example, for women it may be the scenario I described above. Start small and decide how many people you’d like to talk to in a month. It is unlikely that you feel comfortable with your new lifestyle immediately, but I guarantee that you’ll love the progress that you’re seeing.
Step Three – Work
Follow your plan without deviating from it. Keep a journal of your feelings and progress. For me, seeing it in writing makes it all the more real.
Step Four – More work
Yes, self-improvement is a serious business. Understand that there will be setbacks along the way. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is facing your fears. The fear of leaving your comfort zone may paralyze you now, but at you move towards the goal slowly, mastering each level gradually, you’ll find yourself getting happier and more confident. This will take time, but the result will be sustainable.
New habits are set within 21 days. You will need the same amount of time to get the feeling of comfort at each stage of transformation.
Step Five – Is this the finish line?
YES! That day when your fear becomes your comfort zone is a major VICTORY, now it’s time to tackle your NEXT fear. Becoming the person that you really want takes time and work, but the self confidence that comes along with tackling your fears is priceless. This is your victory.
What have you done to step OUT OF THE ZONE?