This gets said sooo often in many different ways. We are constantly being told to get out and do something we wouldn't normally do. To do things outside your comfort zone, where the magic happens.
..so why is it still so hard to do.. and why do we need to do it? And even more importantly, how do we do it?
It's hard to do because its uncomfortable, it causes a level of anxiety which our bodies and minds perceive as danger and find excuses to retreat back to safety, in the comfort zone.
However being just outside our comfort zone, where you get that small amount of anxiety increases your performance and productivity. We get lazy when things are too easy and do the minimum required to get by. Get outside that zone and you become focused and driven.
When you choose to take risks in a controlled environment, forcing yourself into a place of uncertainty, you also get better at dealing with it when life throws it at you unexpectedly. You become more comfortable being uncomfortable so when life forces you out of your comfort zone, you don't fall down a cliff.
The more you push your boundaries, the more you'll be able to keep pushing them, expanding where your comfort zone actually lies so that the things that were difficult and induced anxiety become easy. This is how you create growth.
Trying new things can make us reflect on our old ideas and where they clash with our new knowledge, and inspire us to learn more and challenge confirmation bias, our tendency to only seek out information we already agree with.
This doesn't always mean going out and jumping off a cliff or facing your biggest fears every weekend.
It can be as simple (perhaps not as easy) as slowing down and taking the time to look at what's going on in your life, and being honest with yourself. It can be challenging yourself to respond in a different way than you always have.
5 things you can do this week to get outside your comfort zone:
- Switch up your routine - Routines are as much about comfort as they are about efficiency. Having good daily habits are important but they can always be improved so you need to be comfortable with changing them. There's no harm in going to a different cafe, hanging out with different people, having dinner at a different time, if your life allows, have a day off on Wednesday.
- Move toward your fears - I found that the things I’m afraid to do are often the things that have the greatest potential to expand my life. Now when I feel fear, it’s usually an indicator that I need to do that thing I’m afraid of. Making a commitment to lean into that each day has been really uncomfortable at times, but it has also been responsible for a lot of great memories and a deep level of personal satisfaction. - —Mark Krassner, Expectful
- Give Up Control - This was a big one for me a couple of years ago, the mere thought of handing over any part of my business to someone else made me nauseaus. Over time though, as I let go and trusted other people to manage my social media, my accounts, my flight bookings, it became so comfortable for me I was named the "Delegation Queen". If you're one of those people that can't watch someone else chop vegetables because they're doing it wrong, it might be time to start finding ways to give up control in different area's of your life.
- Agree to something you wouldn't normally consider - This can be fun. All it takes is for you to say yes to completely random things that get put infront of you, that you'd normally say no to without thinking. Eat the weird food. Go on the crazy adventure. Play the game of sport you know you'll suck at. Do the live video interview. You'll get some amazing life experiences and guaranteed laughs doing this.
- Get infront of the camera - Speaking of live videos, I know this is one that makes you all uncomfortable, it even makes me uncomfortable if I havne't been doing it consistently. We live in a world of video content and video search. If you can get comfortable with this, it will serve your business greatly. Create landing page videos, tutorials, do a live stream. The more content you can create the better, the more comfortable you get infront of the camera, the better your videos will be.
As soon as it starts to make you uncomfortable, you know you're doing it right, and you keep putting 1 foot in front of the other, 1 little baby step at a time. It's not supposed to be easy, it's not supposed to feel amazing, that's the whole point. And once you know that, it's far easier to follow through as you become comfortable with being uncomfortable.