Step, Don’t Leap Out of Your Comfort Zone

I spend a great deal of time outside my comfort zone these days. I have to admit, I’m starting to get used to it. I’ve blogged previously about that “shy little girl” that lives inside of me. The one that wouldn’t in a million years dream of teaching a college class, singing on stage, making a cold sales call. I’ve overcome a lot of fears in the past several years, but I’m not nearly done yet. I have many more fears to work through. Many more steps to take outside of that cushy, warm comfort zone of mine.

You see, that’s the thing about comfort zones. Once you’ve stepped outside, the circle just widens. You conquer one thing, and there’s another right in front of you. And that’s a good thing!

Here’s the important thing to remember. This ever-expanding circle of comfort needs to move at a certain pace. If it expands too quickly, the risk of failure becomes much higher. (Not that failing sometimes is a bad thing – but that’s another post.)

Let’s say you are terrified of heights. Would you immediately go and jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet in an effort to overcome your fear? Not likely. Maybe you’d start by just climbing a few steps up a ladder. Then maybe graduate to going up a 10 storey building and looking out over a balcony. Then maybe a lookout tower somewhere. And so on, until you work your way up to that 10,000 foot drop.

Getting out of your comfort zone does not have to be a death-defying feat of bravery every single time. It’s just a matter of taking a small step. And then another. And another. Each time you take a step, your circle widens. And before you know it, you’ve conquered another fear.

There’s no need to take a flying leap out of your comfort zone. One step at a time is all it takes. Just make sure your steps are consistent, and frequent, and you will reap the rewards that overcoming your fears can provide.

How do you approach stepping outside your comfort zone?

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2 Responses

  1. SM- this post is quite timely as I was just having this conversation yesterday. It seems that the older I become, the more comfortable the familiar. Yet, stepping outside is what keeps me fresh and fluid. I believe, as you write, that consistency and frequency are the keys. Thanks!

  2. Its good to do things that scare you, when I first started taekwondo this year I think on the first session I was shaking, it has challenged me physically and mentally more than I would have believed possible, but a few months in – it has huge positive differences.

    It was the step into the room having just moved to a new area with new faces, new community, totally new ways of moving around and patience, persistence to achieve the ‘steps’ you describe above. I do quite like the idea of leaping though but not every time for sure.

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