“The comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.”
The phrase ‘comfort zone’ was coined by management thinker Judith Bardwick in her 1991 work Danger in the Comfort Zone. Within the comfort zone, there isn’t much incentive for people to reach new heights of performance. It’s here that people go about routines devoid of risk, causing their progress to plateau.
If you want to grow and develop in anything in your life, there is a fact you need to come to grips with: Expanding your comfort zone and accomplishing new things requires discomfort. It wasn’t comfortable for you to start walking as a baby; you fell down a lot. Starting a new grade in school wasn’t comfortable; you didn’t know everybody. Going on a job interview isn’t comfortable; you’re being judged. Presenting in front of a huge customer isn’t comfortable; your livelihood is riding on it.
Growth of an individual depends on their movement from comfort zone to growth zone. This movement however involves going through faces which involves fear zone, learning zone to finally going on to growth zone. It takes courage to step your safe zone into the fear zone. Without a clear roadmap, there’s no way to build on previous experiences. This can be anxiety provoking. Yet persevere long enough, and you enter the learning zone, where you gain new skills and deal with challenges resourcefully.
After a learning period, a new comfort zone is created, expanding one’s ability to reach even greater heights. This is what it means to be in the growth zone.
It’s important to state that like most behavioural change attempts, moving into the growth zone becomes harder without some level of self-awareness. The inspiring life team provides you with some steps that will help you for smooth transition from safe zone to growth zone.
11 steps to coming out of comfort zone.
1. Do something you have never dared.
Everybody does have some inbuilt fear and that fear do prevents us from doing things that we have done. We might fear water, height or travelling alone. These are the phobias that remain with us and haunt us always. Just like I am having a phobia of water and river but to come out of the jinx I had gone for a river rafting of 13 km over the river Ganges.
2. Learn something new.
Whether it is physical or non-physical, it’s always uncomfortable to struggle at something new, but the benefits are usually obvious. The classic physical example is dancing or a martial art, but it can also be trying a new piece of equipment at the gym or hiking a trail you’ve never been on. For the non-physical, the classic is learning a new language, but you can also make this hyper-practical by learning a new program at work.
I used to hate using Word press, until I was forced to really learn how to use it. Now it is my “go-to” program for most everything .The key is to learn something new and exercise your acknowledgement of the progress and accomplishment that can be gained.
3. Change your daily routine.
Try changing your daily routine, like having something different for breakfast, eat lunch with a different person every day, park in a different place at work, sit on the other side of the couch, switch around your meeting schedule. Routine is comfort, the more you can fight against routine, the easier it will be for you to embrace the discomfort of growth.
4. Read Book.
Reading will increase your vocabulary, help you express goals, open your mind to new ideas and perspectives, and studies show lifelong brain-stimulating activities like reading could help stave off Alzheimer’s disease. Do a trick, read a book from a genre you wouldn’t usually pick up. If you read fiction, make it non-fiction. If you read business books, try something on sports. If you read all of those, try science fiction or the latest vampire series in the young adult section. Reading is one of the quickest ways to deeply expose yourself to different ideas, cultures and lifestyles, but you need to mix it up to get all the benefit out of it.
5. Develop a new hobby.
Try painting, dancing, learning a musical instrument, perfecting your voice or learning to type. Neurons that fire together grow together; there seems to be some kind of connection between thinking great thoughts and doing something with your feet, mouth or body. These types of things have a real blunting effect on your confidence and help transition from one phase to other.
6. Create small goals that work towards a big goal.
Want to do something big and outlandish? Don’t obsess about the big goal, break it into smaller goals that may be uncomfortable to reach, but show the path forward. If you want to run a marathon, plot a path through your discomfort by focusing on running a 5k (3 miles) first, then focus on a 10k, then a half-marathon, and so forth. Many times, there’s no need to tackle all your discomfort at once, you can do so bit by bit.
7. Do some charity.
Giving instead of receiving is good for so many aspects of your life. In the case of charity, the greatest benefit is serving instead of just giving financially (which IS still important). The reason is that the environment is different than your work. Often you are called upon to exercise talents that you don’t get a chance to in your day-to-day, or you are asked to stretch out into something new. Either way, you are making a difference to yourself and others.
8. Make friends with people outside your working zone.
Hanging out with someone whose work is completely different from yours offers a great opportunity to learn about new things, get a different perspective and increase your circle of influence.
9. Ask somebody for help with something.
This is the most uncomfortable things for anybody to do and that is to admit they don’t know something or can’t handle all the tasks they’ve been assigned. Luckily for you, it’s pretty much impossible to know everything in your organization, so you have more than enough opportunities to address this. The next time you don’t know the answer to something, ask for help. The next time you’re over-committed, ask for help. You could ask a peer, a subordinate, or even your boss. You’ll not only get practice with discomfort, you’ll also be more knowledgeable and productive
10. Take a Power Nap.
Napping may seem outside the comfort zone if no one else at work does it, but it brings dividends: 20 minutes boosts alertness, 30 minutes helps you feel physically recovered and 50 minutes heightens creativity.
11. Break a bad habit.
Perhaps the most useful way to practice getting out of your comfort zone is to break a bad habit. Whether it is smoking, swearing, slouching, or whatever. Use this as an opportunity to break a routine you want to break, not just because you want to practice getting out of your comfort zone, but because it’s good for you as well.