“In an increasingly competitive, cautious and accelerated world, those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty will be those who will reap the biggest rewards,” Margie Warrell writes in Forbes.
I am sure you have heard it many times before and I am a big believer that your greatness lies on the other side of your comfort zone. It is natural to want to stay inside what we have deemed our comfort zone. After all, in that comfort zone, there is no risk, no fear, and our stress levels are under control. Did you know, there is a healthy amount of anxiety that will help you perform at your peak? In fact, it is when we challenge ourselves that we often rise to the occasion.
I used to be someone who stayed inside my comfort zone. For years I just plugged through life in my comfortable routine. I didn’t try to do more at work than I needed to, if something was unfamiliar to me I chose not to do it. I had no idea the potential that was inside me until I took the step outside. Now I make a point of pushing myself outside of my comfort zone whenever I can. I am terrified of heights and claustrophobic, and I decided to go skydiving. It was the most exhilarating, freeing experience of my life. I would never have known that feeling if I gave into fear and chose comfort. In that moment I realized that I could do so much more than I had given myself credit for. When my marriage ended, and I thought there was no way I could survive on my own, I learned every day just how much I was capable of. Many days it was uncomfortable, and that discomfort led to massive growth. I started my own business, bought my house and created a life I never thought possible.
If you have ever pushed yourself to get to the next level or reach a specific goal, you know what I am talking about. For many, there is a false sense of security, and eventually, it leads to complacency. They stop taking actions to push themselves ahead and end up feeling stuck. Your comfort zone is potentially one of your greatest enemies when it comes to achieving.
I have found that stepping outside of your comfort zone leads to the following:
• Increased Creativity – when you push outside your comfort zone even once you become more likely to do it again. You are more willing to try new things. When we share our creative work, we share a vulnerable side of ourselves. We open ourselves up to the possibility of rejection. It seems risky. That risk can lead to some of our greatest achievements.
• Confidence Building – when you start to do things you never thought you could, your confidence begins to build. With more confidence, you will start to take more risks and push yourself. At the end of that lies success.
• Ability to adapt more readily to change – when you become better at understanding that the discomfort you feel outside of your comfort zone = growth, you become better at adapting to the transitions of life. Life is about change. It is not always easy, and if we understand it all a part of transformation and growth, we adapt more readily.
• Self Discovery – Leaving your comfort zone once in awhile will allow you to learn things about yourself. For example, I learned that I have more courage than I ever imagined I did. I learned that I LOVE speaking to an audience full of people to share my story. I used to be terrified.
• Learning – When you try something new, you allow yourself the chance to learn. I decided to put myself out there and write a book. I was terrified at what reaction my writing coach would have. I learned that I had some skill I didn’t know I possessed. I always loved to write but didn’t think I had any talent so never pursued it.
I challenge each of you reading this to take action today and do one thing that is outside of your comfort zone. See how it feels. What are the results? I would love to hear your feedback. Just remember baby steps. Don’t push yourself too far to start. There is an area just outside your comfort zone that is referred to as “Optimal Anxiety” – a state of relative anxiety—where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. That is where growth happens. We don’t want to push too far and have unhealthy anxiety or stress.
I will leave you with this thought from Tony Robbins:
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
Aim for new results, aim for growth!
Transformational Coach | Change Catalyst | Marketing Strategist | Entrepreneurial Executive
Alison Grimley is a Miltonian, a mom, a marketing executive, a community activist, and a Dale Carnegie-trained specialist in effective communication and human relations. Her column, Ask Alison, is Alison’s views, both personal and professional. It is her story, and it’s your story. Send Alison your questions, your comments, and your thoughts on living your life to the fullest. Alison’s columns are available weekly here at MiltonTalk.ca. You can also find Alison’s style and fashion tips under Lifestyle–she is our BEST YOU advocate and guru.