Stepping out of your comfort zone:
The comfort zone. What is it? A comfort zone is an environment where you feel secure or at ease, where you experience a state of mental security that benefit you in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress. When we are in our comfort zones, we have a sense of familiarity, security, and certainty. When we choose to step outside of our comfort zone, we take a risk, and, in so doing, we open ourselves to the possibility of stress and anxiety. This stress and anxiety can seem overwhelming because we’re not quite sure what will happen and how we’ll react.
Being in our comfort zone is not always a bad thing. In fact, the comfort zone is actually a very useful psychological concept that can help you embrace risk and make changes in your life that can lead to real personal growth—so long as we are not getting too comfortable. When we get too comfortable in our comfort zone, we run the risk of becoming stagnant. We begin to hold ourselves back instead of embracing the challenges that will help us grow and try new things.
For the most part, when we are in our comfort zone there is little to no stress. Being creatures of comfort, we prefer a place where stress is minimal and where things are safe and predictable. However, something often overlooked or overshadowed when we think about stress, since we usually regard it as a dirty word, is the fact that a little bit of healthy stress can actually act as a catalyst for growth and provide a powerful motivation to act. As long as we are not burdening ourselves with unhealthy or unnecessary stress by stepping out of our comfort zones, then we should probably do it. As stated by Margie Warrell, “In an increasingly competitive, cautious, and accelerated world, those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty will be those who will reap the biggest rewards.” Don’t let the fear of stepping out of your comfort zone cause you to think that you won't be able to make certain changes in your life or do the things that you would like to do; be positive and have courage—you can do most anything if you are willing to put in the effort to make it happen.
Another concept that can be terrifying is risk. In our comfort zone, risk is usually very low or non-existent since everything is constant and we don't have to adapt too much. Being so used to a low level of risk can exacerbate the fears we likely already possess when it comes to change and can cause us to completely overlook the possibility that we can grow and improve from taking risks. Risk is a major factor in personal and professional growth and if one ever wants to improve or do so more radically and quickly, risks will inevitably need to be taken.
Benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone:
- We can learn more about ourselves and others
- We eventually expand our comfort zone
- Our confidence improves
- Your network will expand (Knowing more people will help you in the long run)
- You will learn just how much you are capable of
- You will gain knowledge and wisdom
- Your realm of influence is likely to expand
- You will differentiate yourself from those who remain in their comfort zones