Getting out of your comfort zone is the initial step towards achieving greatness. But because of the many fears that become ingrained in us as we grow up, trying out new challenges is never an easy thing to do.
Read and consult widely
We tend to stick to our comfort zones because we fear the unknown. If you read about the unknown and consult the people who have been through what you consider “unknown,” then you will easily step out of your comfort zone. Read as many books as you can find, browse through the internet, and talk to as many experienced people as possible in order to have all the necessary information about whatever you fear to do.
Let’s say you dream of traveling abroad to advance your studies but you are afraid of the new culture, language, and people that you’ll meet in the foreign land. If you read about the cultural differences between your home nation and your to-be host country, you will be less skeptical about studying abroad. As the saying goes, knowledge is power!
Come up with a solid exit plan
You will only exit your comfort zone by confronting the things that hold you back; you must push your limits and try new challenges. A solid exit plan will help you with that. Top on your plan should be a list of your fears and how to confront them. The plan should also include a step-by-step guide on how you will be confronting each of the specified challenges.
While at it, be sure to set achievable targets for specified timeframes, no matter how small they may seem.
Maybe your main fear is meeting new people. Maybe you are never sure of what to do or how to act in social situations. Or maybe you are frightened by the thought of standing up for yourself in public. Finding out why these fears cloud your social life is an important step in creating an exit plan. Could it be that you don’t trust the sound of your voice? If yes, plan on how to make your voice better. Are you afraid that your looks or persona are unlikeable? Fine! Plan a facial, body, and/or wardrobe makeover. Also, you can hire a professional life coach to help you get your persona in line.
Bottom line: Have a clear-cut plan of overcoming every trap that ties you down to your comfort zone.
Attach value to your discomforts
What do you stand to achieve if you embrace your discomforts? Assuming that you feel uncomfortable when speaking to rich and successful people, think of the great value you would gain both in your financial and professional life by stepping into the uncomfortable zone. If you run a successful business in your home country but you are afraid of expanding your startup in China, take a moment to imagine how much you stand to gain by overcoming those fears. Once you attach some value to every discomfort, your fighting spirit is renewed. While at it, try to get comfortable with one discomfort after the other so that in the long run, you will have the courage to claim the optimal value of your discomfort zone.
See your failure as learning experiences
One of the factors that have been confining you to your comfort zone must be the fear of failure. Maybe you tried to expand your business to international markets and failed, so you decided to operate within the local market- where you are comfortable. That was the wrong decision. If you want to step out of your comfort zone, you need to start treating past failures as learning points. Instead of cultivating discomfort from the failure, cultivate positive energy. Write down everything that went wrong, find solutions and soldier on to another international business adventure. If you need help, you can hire the services of an experienced life coach who can provide guidance for reaching your goals, make sure the life coach has a diploma or has attained a life coaching course.
Adjust your routine in a meaningful way
Even though routines make you efficient in whatever you do, they are the largest contributors of the development of comfort zones. The best way to tear down routines is to switch up your timetable in a calculated, meaningful way. You will need to be patient, though, as this will take time.
You can start by adjusting your morning alarm time, changing your route to work, getting rid of a few friends, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and adjusting your meal or sleeping time. These changes are seemingly inconsequential but they can have massive positive impacts in your professional and personal life.
George Foster is a marketing manager at Day Translations.