By July 25, 2013 Read More →

Strategies for success – Stepping out of your comfort zone: Part 1

By Anthony Charles, CEO Choices Magazine

Comfort Zone
Working as a Business Consultant and helping people to make that transition to a business of their own is fantastic; being able to listen to someone’s goals, dreams and aspirations and playing a part in their success is a great way to make a living and I really love what I do.

One of the biggest challenges I find that people who work with me have is overcoming fear and being more assertive.  Unfortunately when faced with these challenges, many people do not start their business, much less reach their true potential, because too often they find themselves choosing the path of least resistance; it’s called staying in a comfort zone.

Do you avoid almost anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, while making excuses to justify why you are not moving on?  There are many techniques offered to help you to move out of your comfort zone, but when it all comes down to it, the only way to get out of it is by taking the very actions that make you feel uncomfortable.

That may sound like bad news to you.  You probably wanted to hear me say that you could get outside of your comfort zone by doing something that was different, but still comfortable.  Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.  The dictionary (concise oxford) definition for discomfort is, “a lack of ease, slight pain, mental uneasiness, a lack of comfort.”  Yes, that’s pretty much how you feel when you step outside of your comfort zone.

The discomfort can come in the form of thoughts of embarrassment; maybe you’ll make a fool of yourself; maybe you’ll get rejected; or maybe you’ll just fail.  And because these feelings are not enjoyable, the best course of action is to avoid the discomfort at all costs, make a good excuse or rationalise your behaviour.  Sadly, if you do that you will continue to miss out on achieving your goals and dreams and also having the opportunity to explore or enjoy your true potential.

How do people manage to step outside of their comfort zones?  How do the great achievers take risks, attempt things that might not work, deal with the possibilities of rejection or embarrassment and still somehow live to tell the tale?  How is this possible?  It’s very simple; they realise that the cost of staying comfortable and staying in that dreaded comfort zone is much higher than the cost of taking action and being momentarily uncomfortable.

 

Let me give you an example:

Comfortable:  Not asking the boss for a day off to attend a seminar.

Uncomfortable:  Asking the boss for a day off to attend a seminar.

Cost of not asking your boss for a day off to attend a seminar:  Failure to speak up for yourself, failure to assert yourself, missed opportunity to gain business knowledge, frustrations, self loathing, feelings of low confidence, low self esteem, rationalization needed to excuse lack of action.

Cost of asking your boss for a day off to attend a seminar:  Dealing with uncomfortable feelings; just a moment of fear while asking; disappointment if the answer is no.

 

Does that begin to put things into perspective for you?  Being distracted by the momentary fear can stop you from taking action, despite the fact that the long-term consequences of inaction are significantly higher than the short-term discomfort.

I’ve played outside of my comfort zone on many occasions, I’ve found myself in situations where my voice is shaking, my stomach feels empty and I feel hot to the point that I can feel the sweat trickling down me.  I’ve lived to tell the tale again and again and I’ve come to the realisation that getting out of your comfort zone is not difficult if you are willing to be brave when it’s necessary, and persist in order to form a new habit.

To begin to overcome inaction through staying in your comfort zone, the first thing you have to do is make a decision to change things.  There is no point in me providing solutions that work if what I have said so far does not resonate with you.  So change begins with you; your thoughts; your feelings and your willingness to accept that you are in a comfort zone and you need help to step out and play full out.

In part two of this article, I am going to share with you a step by step technique to enable you to get out of your comfort zone and take the action needed to reach you goals and build your self confidence. It’s called the ‘Comfort Zone test’ and if you use it honestly and accurately, it will give you a real perspective on the actions you should take in order to succeed and make a real breakthrough.

Stay positive, stay focused and live your dreams.

Anthony.

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