What is that one thing, that you have always wanted to do? How long have you been planning to write that book? Don’t worry, there is no judgement here!
Now, can you remember when you actually took that first step? The first step in your fitness program. The first draft of your business proposal or book. Well, that first step is the first step out of your comfort zone.
But what really is your comfort zone? What does it mean to step out of your comfort zone? I answer these questions in this blog post. I also go further to share with you, what no one tells you about stepping out of your comfort zone.
What is your comfort zone?
When you think of the word comfort, what comes to your mind? Personally, I visualize myself sitting in my reclined sofa, with my throw over my knees, reading my favourite book. I am relaxed and in a state of mental ease. This typically describes your comfort zone. It is a mental ‘sense of security’ in which you feel no constraints and added pressure in your life. However, notice that I have used the word ‘sense of security’. Despite remaining in our comfort zone, in a life of routine and free of risks, quite often we’re very unhappy.
Why is this?
There are relative reasons for our unhappiness or discontentment. Three common ones include:
Routine eventually bores us.
Routine definitely has its advantages, particularly for young children and the elderly. It also helps us to organize our life and save time. However, routine eventually bores us. Yet, it is all that we have known. We use routines to train our little ones. This is then consolidated by the school system. By the time we are young adults, most persons have learnt to fit into societies’ routines. Nevertheless, there often comes a point in life when you begin to feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing. You begin to yearn for deeper fulfilment and meaning in life.
Stagnation breeds frustration and unhappiness.
Study the image on the left. This is you, within your comfort zone. Your routines, sense of ease and freedom, all occurs within the boundaries of your comfort zone. There comes a point when your stagnation breeds frustration, simply because making progress is an innate desire for every human being.
Your innate desire to progress is unfulfilled.
Feelings of unhappiness and discontentment tend to emerge in the absence of progress. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory indicated that the psychological needs, linked to progress and achievement, are key factors for every individual. Some individuals actually reach that point of growth in their lives, where they live at their fullest potential. Do you want to live a more fulfilling life?
Then what do you do?
Yes, you guessed right! Step out of your comfort zone! However, ensure that you do have a plan. Seek the help of a coach or loved one, if you find it challenging. Here, the aim is to ensure that each step takes you to a life of fulfilment and happiness.
How do you step out of your comfort zone?
I present a four-step process drawn from my personal experience.
Make a note of all your routines, good and bad. Perhaps, it is watching TV an hour every day or spending time on social media, before you get any chores done. Or, that boring job you’ve been wanting to change for sixteen years. Keep that list for step three.
Write down your overall life vision. One coaching tool I use to get people thinking, is to imagine that your eulogy is being read. How do you want to be remembered? Also, write your life vision for each area of your life, that is: career, financial, spiritual, physical, intellectually, family and social. These combined components form Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life. The wheel of life is a great model to help with both time management, goal setting and instituting a balanced life.
Compare list 1 and 2. Compare your routines and your life vision for each area of your life. Do you see an alignment or misalignment? For instance, your greatest health vision is to lose 10 kg and have a healthier lifestyle, but your routine illustrates a sedentary lifestyle. In this case, there is a misalignment.
Rank your wheel of life categories in order of priority, with the most important one at top. Choose one or two life vision goals to start with. Break down your goals using the SMART model. Having goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely is necessary for your success.
Bravo! You have your plan to step out of your comfort zone. It is time to action those steps. However, there are somethings that no one ever tells you about stepping out of your comfort zone.
- Stepping out of your comfort zone can be filled with fear and anxiety.This is a completely new experience for your brain to process. Do not let your defence mechanisms, hinder you from your progress. Be bold and don’t give up!
- Stepping out of your comfort zone is challenging. Challenges may relate to learning new skills, pruning social relationships or eliminating activities which are an obstacle to your progress. Remind yourself of your greatest life vision and what it means to you.
- Negative inner chatter pervades your mind.Most times inner chatter relating to self-doubt and failure surfaces when you decide to try something new. You’ll never make it! It’s just too difficult! Purposefully, train your mind to switch off the negative chatter. Let your self-talk be words of hope and positivity.
- At times you may feel like you’re being engulfed by the waves. You encounter trying times when you begin to walk on the sea of uncertainty. Let determination and perseverance be your best friend. You are on your journey to living a richer and more meaningful life!
Dr. Melissa Tranquille is a Life Coach, Author and Founder of Peak Living with Mel. Peak Living with Mel is geared at providing high quality coaching services to help individuals achieve meaningful life transformations. When she is not working, she is mothering her four kids, spending cosy time with hubby or squeezing in time for Insanity with Shaun T. You can visit her site to receive free resources.
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