What does it mean to break out of your comfort zone? It means challenging yourself by reaching outside your normal range of skills and activities. As we all know, leaving the cozy confines of your safety net can be an unsettling experience. It quickens your pulse and induces feelings of anxiety and nervousness. You are leaving a realm where you know exactly what to expect in order to go and face the unexpected.
So, how do you break out of your comfort zone? Imagine there’s a door with a huge exit sign hovering over it. Now, in your mind’s eye, turn and face it.
Start off small – You can either leap through the door as if your life depended on it, or you can do what is more commonly advised: Take small, incremental steps.
It’s usually the fear of tackling a challenge full on that prevents people from ever trying. Just take it one step at a time. The important thing is that you have started the journey. For example, if you want to be a good public speaker but the thought scares the life out of you, start small. When you pick up a book in your leisure time, read out loud. Invite a few friends over and have everyone practice talking about any topic for just a minute without pausing or repeating yourself. Make it a fun activity. Your confidence will grow.
Make change a habit – Try something a little different every day. These need only be little things. Try a new route on your way to the grocery store. Try a different drink at your local coffee shop. Hop on a new piece of equipment at the gym. Get used to the feeling of change.
Stop imagining the worst – “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened,” wrote the sixteenth-century French philosopher Michel de Montaigne. Sometimes the worst part of tackling something new is fear of the unknown. Your imagination may run riot, but don’t perceive dangers that are not actually there.
Seek out success stories, read successful people’s autobiographies and blogs. Gather information from people who’ve already tried what you’d like to accomplish. They’ll have useful advice and tips and will help you challenge destructive negative feelings.
Don’t worry about nerves – When you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll likely feel a little bit… uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a queasy feeling in your stomach, or a tight throat. These are natural biological responses to taking on something new. In order to achieve your goals, you need to get acquainted with this feeling. The more you condition yourself to discomfort and uncertainty, the farther you’ll go.
Have a safety net – Bring a friend, family member, or colleague on this journey. Better yet, join a community that supports you such as my Millionaire Protégé Club. You don’t have to do it alone.
Think positively – Commit yourself to a positive mindset. Visualize what success is going to feel like. Keep a journal of those times when you’ve broken through your comfort zone in the past, and truly allow yourself to bask in that feeling of accomplishment. Remember how you took a gamble and it all worked out!
© 2011 Ali International, LLC
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