Does this sound familiar… You are content enough, every day life runs on its predictable tracks quite comfortably. But there’s a tiny voice inside, a deeper feeling that demands your attention. Perhaps you crave more opportunities or want to find more meaning in your work and life. Perhaps it’s an idea you have been carrying in your heart for years. Perhaps you have been fulfilling the dreams of others and now find yourself empty and disconnected from yourself? Maybe it’s time to challenge your comfort zone.
We meet thousands of women with different backgrounds and life circumstances at DrivenWoman. Some have a clear idea what they want to achieve but for a reason or another have not been ready to go after their dreams or don’t know where to start. Some have been so consumed by their family responsibilities or career that there has been very little time to think about their own aspirations. The common theme that emerges is a belief that a new direction would bring along a lot of risk.
- Do you feel stuck and unsure how to take your life or career to the next level?
- Do you think think exploring new ideas feels very risky right now?
- Are you looking for a way to move forward without risking everything you have?
It’s like a part of you wants the challenge and another part of you is worried about the risks.
Here are some common pitfalls why we fail to step out of our comfort zone and grow:
– You jump to conclusions and imagine outcomes that may or may not happen before putting any steps into practise.
– Your perceived risk is based on fear, not a reality.
– You are looking at the next steps from a point of view of ‘lack’ rather than an opportunity.
– You would hope that things would change without changing anything (you’d like to stay in your comfort zone!)
– You haven’t realised that something that was outside your comfort zone a year ago (and you felt brave doing it then) has now become your comfort zone and you are frustrated why things aren’t moving faster.
“It feels like window shopping. I’m looking through a glass and I can see all the things I want but I’m not doing anything about it.” one London member summarised her feeling about stepping outside her comfort zone.
“I have these ideas but they simply sound too ridiculous to try.” another UK member captured her feelings why she keeps putting off her heart’s calling.
10 Practical Ways To Challenge Your Comfort Zone And Step Out
Don’t start with the end in mind
When we get fixated in our goal it may feel too far from our reach. Focus on the next steps and adjust as you go.
Open up to exploration
When you don’t know where to start, start from something that excites you the most. If you are feeling stuck it is a sign that you are not letting joy and curiosity into your journey, be it in your career or personal life. You don’t need to know the end result before you take a step.
Don’t take big leaps
There’s a perception that to step out of comfort zone involves taking “leap of faith“. Rather than trying to conquer the world at once try to think of the smallest possible step you can take outside your comfort zone without taking any risks. There’s always one!
Do something in the real world
So many people have ideas in their heads for years and they don’t act on them on the most basic level. Something simple might just get you started.
If you are interested in starting a blog/ consultancy/ running club/ property investing /_________ (enter name of idea here), go and talk to someone who is doing it. If you don’t know anyone, ask if your friends know someone.
Take a small step, immediately
The best way to challenge your comfort zone and start exploring something new is to take the smallest possible step, straight away without a delay. Mel Robbins talks about “the 5 second rule” which means that your brain will basically kill your idea and let your procrastinator kick in if you don’t act on your instinct straight away, even when you don’t feel like it.
Use the 5 second rule to say “yes” to opportunities that you are a little unsure of. Say “yes” and figure out later how you are going to deliver. If someone asks you to contribute at the next meeting, say “yes” even if you don’t yet know how you are going to do it. And say “yes” to meeting new people, doing new things, exploring new hobbies, anything that excites you.
Being busy and filling your day with ‘things to do’ is a sure way to stay in your comfort zone. Say ‘no’ to things you are doing out of duty and allow empty moments and silence enter your day and your ambitious goals to emerge. Yes, all growth happens outside comfort zone and that’s why many of us don’t want to think about our true desires.
Share your ambitious goals with someone and ask them to keep you accountable. Surround yourself with like-minded people who will cheer you on and help you when you get stuck. That’s what we do at DrivenWoman and it ensures everyone is able to step outside their comfort zone and make amazing things happen.
Create a routine, flex that confidence muscle
Create small rituals and habits into your day that encourage you to do new things and explore new avenues. Schedule time for reading and researching new ideas, make time to listen to inspiring podcasts or join new communities and meet new people. Set yourself a goal to do one thing that scares you a little every day.
Celebrate small wins, be kind
When we step outside our comfort zone it can feel daunting, even exhausting. Remember to celebrate the fact that you are doing it and don’t get too hang up on the end results. Celebrate small wins and be kind to yourself. Life is a journey, make sure you challenge your comfort zone!
Miisa Mink, founder and chief-doer at DrivenWoman