I know that when my husband sees this title he’s going to think, “Honey, you need to practice what you preach!” And that is true. It’s something I steadily work on and encourage you all to do as well. To step out of your comfort zone. To see the world outside of whatever box you are confined in. To find out where the magic happens.
Comfort Zone: a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.
Comfort zones are just that, comfortable. And who doesn’t like to feel a sense of comfort and safety?! Give me my plush robe, fluffy socks, cup of coffee, a book, and my bed & I promise I will be at ease and without stress. But where is the fun, the excitement, the growth? Many of us spend our lives maintained within an area that feels secure. I didn’t realize how much I did this until a few years ago. Everything from the way I cooked to how I pursued the things I wanted in life. Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t always have to mean worldly changes, but know that it can.
I have a habit of sinking into a rut with cooking meals. I find a few things I’m comfortable with and stick with it. I get nervous to try a new recipe or to order a new meal because what if I don’t like it? The thing is, I usually do, and wish I had done it sooner. I’m not a fan of change, as I have said before. I can distinctly remember the fear I felt when pursuing a new job or, even this weekend, going to a place I have never been. I am wonderful at talking myself out of taking that risk only to regret (after finally stepping up to the challenge) that I waited so long.
When we alter the way we typically do something or maybe the way we act or think, it causes a sense of stress because ultimately we are taking a risk. Stress seems like such a dirty word, and to an extent it is. But it is also vital that we understand that sometimes a small amount of healthy stress can serve as a much needed catalyst, and give us the jolt we need to act and potentially grow.
Now, a comfort zone doesn’t have to be a bad place. Maybe staying in your safe place has allowed you to be content or have a consistent and steady performance or result. Maybe you feel that if you veer away from what you know so well, it will bring on a new challenge and are fearful of the result. But who’s to say that taking that little risk can’t create a transformation beyond measure?
So why do we struggle so much with stepping outside of our comfort zone?
Plain & simple: We are creatures of habit who enjoy comfort. I know I am! Think about it. If things remain as they always are, you know what to expect and when to expect it. There’s no risk. No stress. No worry or fear. But there is also no progress. A little challenge goes a long way. Sure, it will take you away from your cozy box temporarily, but you can always go back. Stepping outside and challenging yourself is not a 24/7 task. It’s a journey of small changes. Rewind back to when you were a child. Think of the free spirit you were and the risks you took. It was in your nature. As an adult, we tend to drop this nature due to the fear of failure. “What if I try this new item on the menu and I hate it?” “What if I take this new job and it’s not a good fit?” What if you don’t take the risk and miss out on something good, personal growth, or transformation?
“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” – John Maxwell
So, I challenge us all to take those baby steps and step out of our confined spaces. To climb that wall we built. Try a new recipe. Go to a new place. Embrace a new challenge. Explore your creativity. Talk to someone new. Study a subject you don’t know.
Whatever it may be, just take that step.
How will you step out of your comfort zone today?