How to step out of your comfort zone

We all have a comfort zone – that cosy cushion of belief that reassures us we’re in the right place, doing the right thing.  But anyone who wants to progress in their career, expand their experiences and GROW, will inevitably have to take themselves out of that comfort zone.  We cling on tightly to the habits and behaviour that have kept us safe for a long time.  We imagine that if we let go of them we’ll be changing who we are fundamentally.

Andy Molinksy writes about this in his new book, Reach.  He identifies 5 areas – authenticity, likeability, competence, resentment and morality – which make up the resistance we feel as we step out of our comfort zone.  By addressing each of these we can build a toolkit of thinking which ground us in our decision and help us take those first steps into change. 

It’s no wonder that the comfort zone is so appealing when there are this many layers of consciousness keeping us there.  Many coaching clients find their inner critic runs riot as they contemplate change ‘You should be grateful for what you have!’ ‘Stick with what you know!’…  As with all critical thought processes, there is an upside to this, in that we learn to appreciate and be grateful for our lives.  But the downside is that it keeps us wedged firmly in our comfort zone, not daring to upset the status quo. 

So how can you get out of your comfort zone? The first step is being honest about what scares you.  Are you afraid of failure, what other people think or getting things wrong? By breaking down the layers of resistance you can then create steps of action to move you through the discomfort.  Manageable steps will take you to the edge of your comfort zone without catapulting you in to panic zone, and will build your levels of resilience and confidence.  A good example is public speaking.  Some steps towards this goal include initiating conversations with new people; speaking up in meetings; leading small group workshops; chairing a panel; keynote speaking at a conference; TED talk.  Each step on the edge of your comfort zone expands experience, and is the catalyst for growth and change.   

This week I encourage you to explore the edges of your comfort zone, and to start to notice what’s possible there.  Coaching is a great way of supporting and challenging yourself.  For more information, and to book a free sample session, email helen@helenmc.com or call 07799 410 684