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The ability to take risks by stepping outside of your comfort zone is the primary way by which you will learn, grow and develop, but fear often will stop you from taking the first step.
Within your comfort zone there is a sense of familiarity, safety, security and certainty and you act and behave to minimise stress and risk. However, every time you consciously choose to step outside of your comfort zone you will find that you learn, grow, develop, increase your confidence and achieve things that you never thought you could.
So what do you need to do to step outside of your comfort zone? Here are some tips to help you to step outside of your comfort zone:
Become aware of what is outside of your comfort zone. Have a think about what is within and outside of your comfort zone. Consider this in all areas of your life. You can identify what is outside of your comfort zone by thinking about things that make you feel vulnerable, stressed, anxious or uncomfortable. These may be anything from socialising with your partner's friends to doing a talk to your colleagues at work. Your comfort zone will be unique to you.
Decide what you want to overcome. Once you have considered the above, decide on an area that you would like to work on moving outside of your comfort zone. You may want to leave your job and start your own business or join a local running club.
Think about the benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone. Start to think about the benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone. For example, if you apply for a new role at work you may actually get it alongside a nice pay rise. The benefits can be whatever you want including better work life balance, financial reward, improved health and well being, new friends and career advancement.
Think about what is stopping you stepping outside of your comfort zone. Start to think through the area where you want to step outside of your comfort zone. What is stopping you? This may be you are worried about what others will think about you, you are scared to take the first step or it may be fear of failure or even fear of success.
Consider what you have achieved before and how. Think back through your life. What have you achieved? What are you most proud of? What have been your successes? You may feel that going away to university and getting a degree enabled you to get the job that you currently do and love. When you think about this some more you realise you were afraid of moving to a new area and worried that you would not fit in, but you managed to overcome both of these by choosing a university in a town you liked and by chatting to everyone you met when you arrived.
Think about the best and worse possible outcomes. If you step outside your comfort zone what is the best and worse that could happen? This will put boundaries on your thoughts and may make it easier to take the first step. For example, if you want to join a running club, the best outcome is that you go along, everyone is really friendly and you really enjoy the running sessions. The worse outcome maybe that the club is for very fast runners and not for you.
Try taking small steps outside and seeing how you feel. Break down what you want to achieve into smaller manageable steps. This will enable you to start to step outside and expand your comfort zone by taking small steps outside and seeing how you feel after each step. For example, if you want to leave your job and start a new business, the first step may be to research how to start a business by taking an online course.
Notice when you are making excuses and just give it a go. It is easy to make excuses about why you cannot step outside of your comfort zone or why you cannot take the first step. You will always think of reasons why you cannot do something. Notice when you are making excuses and just give it a go and see what happens.
Take the next step. Once you take the first step outside of your comfort zone, assess where you are and if things have gone well use this momentum to move forward and take the next step. You may find that you need to amend the steps as you learn from experience but can still keep moving forward just in a different way.
Good luck in using these tips to step outside of your comfort zone.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: March 2021
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
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