We have all heard the term but what does it actually mean?
- a situation where one feels safe or at ease.
“the trip is an attempt to take the students out of their comfort zone”
- a settled method of working that requires little effort and yields only barely acceptable results.
“if you stay within your comfort zone you will never improve”
A comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible. Wikipedia
I am guilty of staying where it is safe. This comes from conditioning through various stages of my life. I like to feel safe. I like to feel in control of my life. I certainly do not feel comfortable when things are outside of my ‘comfort zone’.
Take public speaking for example. I would love to speak in front of a group. I would love to impart my knowledge and my life experiences to others, however, the very thought of it sends me into a spin. I know that there is nothing to be afraid of. The people won’t eat me or throw bricks at me. It is just outside of my comfort zone.
I have only recently started writing blogs and articles. I had always thought about it. I know a little about a lot and a lot about a little but writing for public viewing is out of my comfort zone, however, I gave it try and now I have blogs and articles published.
You see, despite any successes that come my way, I have always thought of myself as undeserving and then I begin to compare myself to others and their successes, so I choose to stay in my comfort zone for the safety.
It’s a vicious cycle and that has led me to stagnate in my life and my business, which is NOT a good place to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not ALWAYS in my comfort zone. I love trying new things on occasion and it drives my family mad.
Like why at the age of 40 would I get a tattoo? Or why would I shovel 750 kilograms of white marble chips on a 35C day? I even had my lips tattooed with permanent lipstick; I had ‘fish lips’ for about a week!
So, what to do?
- A good coach (if you have the finances) can assist with pushing you to explore the unfamiliar.
- Taking small risks in your personal or business life could help propel you toward your goals.
In an article in ‘Forbes’, the Coaches Council writes of the ‘13 Mental Tricks To Get Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone’.
- Study Your Physical Manifestations Of Fear
- Tell Yourself, ‘I Am Fearless’
- Recognise Your Reactive Thoughts And Tack A New, Positive Thought Onto Them
- Look Up And Around You
- Revisit Your Greatest Accomplishments
- Find A Compelling Reason
- Physically Embody The Change
- Make It A Habit To Try Something New
- Reframe What It Means To Be Comfortable
- Rationalise The Fear
- Take One Small Step
- Compare The Worst And Best Possible Outcomes
- Act As If You’re Comfortable And Just Do It
And Liz Ryan in her article wrote about the ‘Ten Ways to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – And Why it is Important’.
“The biggest step you can take to grow as a person is to step outside your comfort zone and take risks. Most of us are wired to avoid risks. We don’t want to step out of your comfort zone. It feels incredibly scary even to think about it.”
Her advice is:
- Seek out new and unfamiliar music and add it to your playlist
- Try something new with a friend or by yourself
- Try a new ethnic restaurant with cuisine you’ve never tasted before
- Go to the library and check out some books based on other readers’ or library staff recommendations
- Write down your problems and look for the part of each problem that you have control over
- Drive home from work a different way than you normally do or purposely get lost in your town and find your way home
- Vary your wardrobe
- Think about your purpose in life
- Check in with a friend you haven’t seen in ages
- Give yourself to permission to dream about your own possibilities, far beyond your current job and your current life situation
So, after all of that, I should probably go away now and practice what I preach!
“Do Not Lie to Yourself
We have to be honest about what we want and take risks rather than lie to ourselves and make excuses to stay in our comfort zone.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart