Understanding the Comfort Zone

Every time I run a workshop or coach a client on a 1:1 basis, I refer to the ‘comfort zone’, or rather, stepping out of it as we embark on our learning journey together.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the perks of the comfort zone as much as the next person. I.e. not having to think much about what I am doing, a feeling of ease and knowing everything there is to know about what I am doing to the point that it causes me no consternation whatsoever!


Why Stepping Out Matters

However, as you can guess, nothing really new or exciting tends to happen when we camp out in the comfort zone. I am not talking about doing things like bungee jumping in our spare time, even though I can imagine that taking a jump off the edge of a cliff would be one hell of a way of taking a step outside of our comfort zone in .5 seconds flat.

I am talking about the everyday opportunities we have to do something different, just for the heck of it.  Taking a different route to work, having green tea instead of coffee (some may argue that life is simply too short for a change as drastic as this!), going for a short jog instead of a long walk, are all examples of things we could do from one day to the next when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zone.

Blackboard image showing a small bubble with the words your comfort zone and a bigger bubble with the words where the magic happens

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone is Where Your Growth Begins

The Perks of Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

But, ‘Why bother?’, I hear you ask. “Life is good, why would I want to go out and make things uncomfortable for myself”. Because, I say, what if you die with your song still inside you, unsung? What if you never knew that you actually love riding horses, or that you’re a great poet, or that you can actually paint a canvas with the pretty flowers you pass by each day on your walk? What if that promotion was the job you were looking for?


Exploring New Opportunities

Surely, there is a part of you who is curious about living a life with more purpose and more joy? When we scratch the surface of it, most of us would admit that there are more things we could do to feel more joy and contentment in life. What if I was to say to you that stepping out of your comfort zone could lead you into a whole new unexplored aspect of yourself. Part of yourself that you may never have become acquainted with, had you not taken the leap, felt the fear, and gone ahead and booked the horse-riding lesson anyway?!

When I speak to my course attendees or my ‘coachees’ about coming out of the comfort zone, I am encouraging them, as leaders, as managers and as business owners to do something different. As the saying goes ‘nothing changes, if nothing changes’.  

Three Tips for Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

1. Embrace Unease

Just because it makes you feel uneasy doesn’t mean you should avoid it! Personally, I would not be writing this article now if I let fear make my decisions for me. When I started my own business I thought I would give it a year and if it failed, I would go and get a job. Here I am 8 years later sitting writing about my experiences.


2. New Things as a Process of Elimination

Trying new things can be a process of elimination! I ran a marathon once, and I did a sky-dive once. For me, they were bucket list things and I am happy they are done and I don’t feel the need to do these again. I am glad I stuck with the process of preparation for each one, and that I saw them through. Doing so proved to me that I have mental toughness and tenacity that I may never have gotten to explore otherwise.


3. View Failure as Learning

See ‘failure’ as ‘learning’ rather than a sign to quit. A good friend of mine often says that there is no failure, only learning. We’ve all probably heard this and maybe thought that it’s a bit of a cop-out. But I’ve taken this on as being true for me, and it makes a huge difference. For me, if there is no failure, then what is there to fear?  A fear of being ridiculed perhaps, or being made to look foolish in front of others if things fail. But am I really so invested in the opinions of others that I would let that drive a decision for myself, about my business, my life or the ways in which I choose to spend my time. I can safely and happily say that the answer to that, is no!


Stepping Out

Need help stepping out of your comfort zone? If you’d like to explore any of these topics further with me, please send me an email at denise@obrienlearningsolutions.ie or book a clarity call.