There is really nothing unique or extraordinary or special about you if you only operate within the boundaries of what you are familiar with. If you are thinking of how to get out of your comfort zone and reach your full potential, then this video is for you
Your comfort zone is a predictable place where dreams die and life stalls. Stepping outside of it is key to discovering your passion, accomplishing your goals, and finding opportunities.
Everyone’s got a comfort zone; it’s that place of familiarity and routine but in a world that’s fast-changing, you cannot afford to stay in your comfort zone. Technological advancement and other factors like the covid19 pandemic are rapidly changing the world, work and life in general. Everything is changing so quickly, and “comfort zones” are less of an option. Things are no longer as they use to be..
Opportunities are usually outside the comfort zone not inside.
You can’t afford to do things the same old way simply because it’s comfortable. A comfort zone is called comfort zone for a reason: It seems safe and secure. However, your comfort zone is also a place of stagnation, one that keeps you from grabbing opportunities for growth. Some people are not happy where they are but would rather stay there than take a leap of faith into the unknown. The world needs people who are on fire about life, not those that have died inside and are simply awaiting burial.
If you prefer visual content, then watch the video version of this article on YouTube. Otherwise, keep reading…
Here are 7 practical ways to step outside your comfort zone into your opportunity zone. It is either you disrupt yourself or you’ll be disrupted. There is absolutely no neutral ground.
1. Take Baby Steps
Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone all at once, you will most likely become overwhelmed and jump right back to safety. So, start out with simple non-threatening things like eating at a new restaurant, ordering something from the menu you’ve never ordered before, learning a new recipe, taking a different road home, adding new and unfamiliar music to your playlist, watching personal development videos and business seminars on YouTube instead of prank videos and movies
Instead of watching TV, you can choose to read a book. As they say “books are TV for smart people.” You can also read books outside your normal genre. For example, if you’re more into novels, try reading business books and vice versa. Start conversations with strangers. Add a different flavour to your wardrobe — and then continue from there. For me it was adding bright colour to my wardrobe, learning to wear make up, putting on a red lipstick, doing a hairstyle with a different colour other than black. I was never use to these things but I had to push myself in these small ways to step outside my comfort zone.
When you take these baby steps and notice that these little changes didn’t kill you, you’ll then realize there’s a lot more within you and in the world that you can explore. In starting out by taking baby steps, you will be shocked by how quickly change seems much less intimidating.
2. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.
One of the biggest obstacles that keep people in their comfort zone is fear. Comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Fear of failure and fear of what others may think of us. Everything goes on lockdown mode in your brain when you are afraid. We’re all afraid, but you have to get to the point where you understand that fear doesn’t mean you can’t be brave. Courageous people are not free from fear, they proceed in spite of their fears and do it anyway. Right now everyone is somehow afraid of what the future holds post covid19. We’re all sitting on pins and needles, but the people that will thrive post covid19 are those that are feeling the fear and the uncertainty yet stepping out to do something about the future. Some are learning new skills, some are starting new businesses, some are starting new projects, while some are hiding in their comfort zone, crossing their fingers and hoping for the best. Which one are you?
Bravery isn’t about the absence of fear. Its about what you do with fear. When you feel fear, acknowledge its presence and ask yourself — what would the best version of myself do in this situation? And the truth is that the best version of yourself won’t run away. Personally, I had to adopt the mindset that fear is normal and that real failure is giving up without trying. My life got way better and I’ve made more progress since adopting this mindset.
3. Be willing to fumble through it until you eventually find your way.
Starting something new will expose a lot of inadequacies about you but you have to be willing to fumble through it until you eventually figure it out. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses as to why you can’t proceed with a certain project. Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say it like it is. If you’re afraid, say “I am afraid to do this.” If you don’t know how to do it, say, I don’t know how to do this. Don’t make excuses, just be honest.
Even in relationships, you hear some women saying, I don’t need a man in my life or some men saying I don’t need a woman in my life but deep down, that’s just not true. The honest thing to say is that I have been hurt and used and betrayed and abused and cheated on and taken for granted and now am afraid of relationships. I’m afraid of trusting anyone again. That’s what is really happening. When you face the truth, you will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of fumbling through your issues, working things out, and moving forward rather than staying stuck in your comfort zone. Remember, opportunities are outside your comfort zone not inside.
4. Be Comfortable with Discomfort
Do something that stretches you beyond what you are comfortable with. Stretch your mind, spirit and goals. One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort. Whatever your aim is, keep in mind it is okay to suck at new things. It is okay to sing or dance off-tune. Embrace the flops, the falls, and the challenges that come with stepping outside your comfort zone. You’ll get better with time. When you challenge yourself to stretch towards a higher level of your abilities, you also increase your overall well-being. Nurture within yourself a growth mindset that says “there is more for me out there’”— more life, more love, more money, more houses, more cars, more to learn, more to experience and more to achieve.
Do not settle for good enough — a good job, good salary, good car, good house, etc. There is more for you out in the world. You can drive a better car than the one you’re driving now, you can live in a better house than where you’re living now, and you can make an impact on people way beyond yourself and your immediate family but you’d never know till you start stretching out and becoming comfortable with discomfort.
Have the courage to be disliked, misunderstood, rejected, and even mocked. Tip toeing around people and around life will never bring any growth or confidence. The more you hide yourself in your comfort zone, the more your self-esteem deteriorate.
5. Hang out with Risk Takers
There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the right crowd, hang out with those who understand you and will encourage your efforts. Hang out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. Almost inevitably, their influence will start to have an effect on your behavior. If you hang around 4 people that are winning in life, you will be the 5th one. Same goes for if you hang around 4 losers, you’ll also be the 5th one. There are people that ended up as alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals simply by hanging out with alcoholics and drug addicts. It works the same when you also hang out with people daring great things for the betterment of society. Their energy and drive rubs off on you too!
Personally, I want my life to be such that people get influenced in a positive way. And I hope that the work I do — through my books, webinars, and articles like this one are accomplishing just that.
6. See Failure as a Teacher
Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a chance at our dreams. Everyone experiences suffering, failures, rejection and all sorts of setbacks, but not everyone understands or accepts these as part of life or part of the growth process. Every project, business, relationship you start will not always succeed but if you view failure as a teacher then nothing will stop you from starting the next thing even if the previous one was a failure.
Always ask what did you learn from the experience? Was it a failed business? Did you get fired from your job? Were you betrayed by a loved one? Whatever might have happened, allow the experience to become your teacher not your prison. Always ask, how can I take the lessons to my next adventure to increase my chances of success? When you adopt this way of thinking, you won’t easily get stuck no matter what life throws at you. Getting out of your comfort zone and embracing failure along the way is key to thriving in a world that’s fast changing.
In my book, Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted, I mentioned that “The fear of failure does not prevent anyone from failing. Even if you don’t do it — you’d still fail by default.”
As JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.”
7. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
People who take themselves too seriously rarely ever try new things and if they do and it fails, then that’s it. People who take themselves too seriously rarely recovers from setback. So, learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Stepping out of your comfort zone, trying new things and taking risk will inevitably involve failure, heartache, tears, disappointment and setbacks that will sometimes make you look like the world’s biggest idiot. But be happy to roll with the punches even when others poke fun. Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries.
There’s power in looking silly and not caring what others think. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously. There is no other way. The ability to take risks by stepping outside our comfort zone is the primary way by which we learn and grow!
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As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”