"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure." Helen Keller
Comfort zones: Nice cozy little pockets of reality.
There is nothing wring with comfort zones per se. We all like being cozy at times and there is an ebb and flow to life. There is a time for pushing ourselves and "˜being out there' and there is a time for rest. If we trust ourselves we start to sense when the time is right for doing and when it is right for resting.
Where the comfort zone becomes a problem is when we are stuck in it, when we don't let ourselves move on with the natural flow of life. When we hold ourselves back and hide in our comfort zone we are effectively saying no to life.
Recognise where you are stuck
The first step to moving out of your comfort zone is realising that you are in one! They can be so comfy and "˜normal' that we don't know where we are. Taking the time to sit down on a regular basis and assess how we are progressing in the various areas of our life is a great way to flag this up. We can then start to see how happy we are with each area and where we are dissatisfied. Take the time to listen to your feelings. A supportive friend or coach can also be useful here. For a long time I didn't "˜guest post'. I wanted to but I was scared of putting myself "out there". Once I recognised the feeling I could move past it. Now I love guest posting. It doesn't mean my fear has gone completely, but I now know many of my fears were unfounded and I can see for myself that there are so many benefits from guest posting. I get a real buzz from it!
Identify ways to move forward
When you know you are stuck in your comfort zone you have made a big step. Awareness is power. Now is the time to take action. Once I had realised my fear of guest posting, I started writing more posts and emailing sites where I wanted to be featured. Take the time to work out what actions you now need to take. Fed up with being single? You could join a dating site. Want to get fit? You could commit to an exercise plan and kick it off by going for a short run. Find what is right for you and just do it!
Know your fear
Some fears are good and help us weigh up our choices in life, but a lot of our fear is unnecessary and counter productive. We scare ourselves senseless about things that haven't even happened. Stare your fears in the face and see them for what they really are. They are often related to feeling that we are not good enough e.g.: "they will never like my work"; "I am not attractive enough" etc. You are good enough! Watch out for your secret saboteur!
Do what scares you
When you are coming up with ideas for actions you could take and you notice that something scares you it is a good sign! Write this idea down and notice if you try to talk yourself out of it. Usually the scared feeling is accompanied with a feeling of exhilaration. You are scared but the idea thrills you at the same time. There is gold here! Commit to that action.
Make it a habit
Do something that scares you every day! The more we can make a habit of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, the easier it becomes. Talk to a stranger at the bus stop! Tell a joke at work when you normally wouldn't! Send off that guest post!
You will build up confidence and resilience. You will start to know yourself as someone who takes risks and challenges themselves.