step out of your comfort zone

How to step out of your comfort zone and step into your growth zone

Staying in your comfort zone for a prolonged period can reduce your productivity and hamper your growth. Letting go of the familiar and trying something new can help you flourish and define your success.
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You have a great job opportunity at hand, but you let it go since it requires you to move to another city. You have the desire and acumen to start a new business, but you are afraid to take the risks that come with it. Although your current job no longer gives you the joy it used to, the thought of switching jobs and the fear of failure is terrifying. While fear is important because it keeps you safe and encourages caution, smooth seas never make a skilled sailor. Playing it safe all the time can hinder your growth and stop you from seizing the opportunities in life. The key is to step out of your comfort zone.

“Almost everything that you want is just outside your comfort zone,” says Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. A comfort zone is a safe place with little to no risks where your anxieties and uncertainties are minimised and your basic needs met. However, if you stay there for a prolonged period, you will begin to notice that there isn’t much scope for creativity and drive to reach your true potential. You do the same work, eat, sleep and repeat the process all over again every day. Your life will be dictated by the habits, customs and routines you have chosen to limit yourself with. You will eventually realise that nothing new and exciting happens anymore, and will start feeling miserable about the way your life has turned out.

Although it’s easy to stay inside your comfort zone, remember that life is full of opportunities for reaching new heights of personal growth. If you are looking for ways to break out of your comfort zone and step into your growth zone, here are some effective techniques that can help you accomplish it.

Try something new

When you become too familiar and accustomed to your routine, you are likely to resist change. One of the best ways of leaving your comfort zone is to try something new and exciting frequently. You can start small. Get a new hairstyle, take a different route to work or cook something exotic. You can also try your hands at a creative pursuit or learn a new professional skill. According to William J. Hall, M.D., The Center for Healthy Aging at University of Rochester Medical Center, “When you start something new, it’s just like a whack on the side of the head to your brain. It amps up your brainpower and adds zest to your life.”

Introduce small changes in your routine

It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of behaviour that makes you feel safe, comfortable and in control. For example, if you are working from home, you tend to remain in your loungewear all day and hardly bother to groom yourself. However, you might be surprised to see how good you instantly feel if you make it a point to tidy up even if you are staying at home. If you watch TV at a specific time, skip it. Use the time to read or listen to your favourite music. When you introduce small tweaks in your routine, you become more open to change, which can help you slowly get out of your comfort zone.

Make a list of personal growth goals

Make a list of all the skills and qualities that will help you grow as a person. Focus on improving key areas like effective communication and public speaking, creating a morning routine, reading every day, and expanding your knowledge base. When you set achievable goals for yourself, you become more self-motivated to step out of your comfort zone.

Face your fears

Fear is natural. Even the most successful and seemingly confident people face fears and uncertainties in their everyday lives. However, they have managed to move forward by venturing out of their comfort zones, even if it felt awkward and challenging. For instance, if you are preparing to deliver a public speech, your fear of public speaking may hold you back. The trick is not to let your fear immobilise you, but instead use it as a driving force to take you where you want to be. When you learn to embrace your fears and take risks, you connect to your true self and open yourself up to endless possibilities.

Don’t hold yourself back

When you come across an opportunity that you were not prepared for, you usually refer to your memory and past experiences to support your decision-making. But if your memory is comprised of self-limiting beliefs such as ‘I can’t do well in this position,’ or ‘I won’t be able to handle it’, you won’t be able to make progress and grow. You need to break free from what holds you back and expand your horizons. Stop selling yourself short and believe in yourself. You are capable of much more than you think.

Practice positive self-affirmations

Words are powerful and can build or break your self-confidence. We all have limiting beliefs that prevent us from achieving our goals. However, positive affirmations are a great way to build a growth mindset and foster self-awareness. You can affirm and repeat statements like ‘I can accomplish anything I set my mind to,’ ‘I believe in myself,’ or ‘I will embrace new opportunities to follow my dreams.’ When you say your positive affirmation, try to visualise yourself living that moment. Such statements can help you focus on your goals, stop self-limiting beliefs and help you get out of your comfort zone.

Surround yourself with positive people

The people you surround yourself with can have a tremendous influence on your life. According to life coach and author Tony Robbins, “When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re likely to adopt empowering beliefs and see life as happening for you instead of to you.” People who believe in you can provide you with encouragement and motivation to try something new. At the same time, it is important to ignore the negative and unsolicited opinions of people when you venture out of your comfort zone and take risks in life.

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