Comfort zones are nice, aren’t they? They’re where we feel safe, confident and – well, comfortable. But apparently, if we are to believe everything those motivational quotes on Pinterest tell us, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Comfort zones are the easy option. There is very little effort required.
I’ll be honest here, they are my preferred option. I see myself as a content person, but a little while ago I stopped, looked around in my comfortable little bubble and realised if I push myself… great things could happen.
Let’s delve a little deeper and split into two categories – work and life.
My comfort zone – I’ve been at my place of work for over four years now and I love it, but last year I felt like I was treading water. I was going through the motions and felt like I was saying no to new ideas too much. I had become a bit complacent to be honest.
Pushing the boundaries – The Christmas break came at the best time for me and two weeks away from work was exactly what I needed. I came back in January with a fresh mindset and re-discovered my ‘why’. I now make time to be creative – read articles, keep up with the industry and explore new ideas. I listen to my colleagues and try new things more.
How to escape your comfort zone – If you’re feeling complacent, stifled or even, dare I say it… bored, try to think how you can push yourself. Do you need to allocate time for creative thinking? Would some training help you expand your skills?
Speak to your manager about steps you can take to improve your offering at work – sometimes we have to push ourselves and ask for more.
My comfort zone – Outside of work I feel anxiety plays a big part of me feeling trapped in my comfort zone, especially when it comes to driving. If i can get away with not driving, or only going to places I know… I will. I find it really hard to push myself to do something that effectively, scares the shit out of me.
Pushing the boundaries – I keep saying to myself ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. I think about the times I have done just that and how amazing I felt after. For example: interviewing obscure bands in East London, enjoying a solo lunch in Dubai on my birthday, travelling to Thailand and Costa Rica alone… zip lining through the Costa Rican rain forrest.
I think about how great it feels when I do actually poke my head out of my comfort zone and try to apply it to my driving. It’s a work in progress I’ll admit, but I’m aware of it and working on it.
How to escape your comfort zone – Take small steps. If fear or anxiety are standing in your way, go slowly. Try setting yourself small challenges and write how you feel after. Think about how you’ve felt in the past when you pushed yourself – focus on how proud and exhilarated you felt after. Finally, know that it will never be as awful as you’ve built it up in your head.
Thinking back to the times I have pushed my boundaries I realise that yes, wonderful things do happen at the end of your comfort zone.
Having said this, I think comfort zones have their merit too. This is where you can build your confidence, where you feel capable and totally bad-ass.
So perhaps it isn’t necessarily about escaping your comfort zone at all. Perhaps it’s about pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone so you feel comfortable and confident trying new things… now there’s some food for thought.
How do you push the boundaries of your comfort zone?