Routines can be comforting, but they can also turn stale and confining over time. All those inspirational messages telling you to break out of your comfort zone aren’t just trying to sell you sky diving lessons. Doing something new and potentially frightening helps stave off burnout and is good for your brain. Business coach, James Sweetman will be hosting an exclusive IMAGE Masterclass about taking ownership of your career on October 17. Here, he shares his tricks for breaking out of your comfort zone.
As humans, we love our comfort zones, those situations or activities where we feel secure and in control. But equally, we are hot-wired to grow and evolve which means expanding beyond the confines of our comfort zones.
In our comfort zones we feel psychologically safe, but sometimes comfort zones will calcify and we become ‘stuck in a rut.’ Outside our comfort zones we will feel self-conscious, but this is also where we learn, grow and reach for our potential.
When you are operating within your comfort zone, everything is relatively easy and habitual. You are certain about what you are doing. You know you are moving to the edge and beyond your comfort zone when you feel worried, nervous, even fearful. These emotions are the border guards of your comfort zone. They prompt us to be cautious, but they also represent the path to your expansion.
Book now: Taking Control of Your Career Masterclass, Oct 17
I use the phrase ‘stepping over the line,’ to describe moving beyond my comfort zone. To step beyond the border of your comfort zone you have to associate more benefit with taking a new action than in maintaining the status quo. Sometimes you have to acknowledge that you cannot continue the way you are. The consequences of inaction are more uncomfortable than the uncertainty of trying something new.
When we are stretching beyond comfort zone into the learning zone we will always have to battle against the habits we’ve formed over the years. Some habits serve us, but some are beyond their sell-by date. All behavioural habits are preceded by thinking habits and sometimes they need an upgrade just like the software on our phones.
Here are 5 questions to stir your thinking around the concept of your comfort zone.
- What’s something that was once way outside your comfort zone that has now become a habit or part of your daily routine?
- What are the benefits of continuing to have things just the way they are?
- In what ways do you hold yourself back from trying something new?
- What opportunities or benefits might rest beyond your comfort zone?
- If you were just a little braver what might you try?
When you are trying something new and pushing your comfort zone you will feel self-conscious, worried, even scared. This is just part of the deal. View these feelings as growing pains. What’s the quality we reach for when standing at the edge of our comfort zone and facing those border guards? Courage.
Read more about living a more confident life.
Read more about tapping into a high performance mindset.