“Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.”― Shannon L. Alder
How many of us have been guilty of passing up opportunities because they felt too uncomfortable to achieve? As a person who suffers from Imposter Syndrome from time to time, I understand. It’s easy to make excuses and convince yourself that these excuses are valid. However, what many people don’t realize in these moments of self-doubt is that excuses are the enemies of growth. The ability to take risks by stepping out of your comfort zone is vital to grow, both personally and professionally.
Comfort zones are never really about comfort, but about fear. Fear serves as the foundation of a comfort zone and can be crippling if you are not self-aware. Fear creates the illusion of a safety blanket. Nice, fuzzy, warm… HEAVY. Heavy is what it really is, and it weighs you down.
I am here to tell you that the real magic happens outside of your comfort zone.
Once upon a time, I wouldn’t dare share my writing publicly. I have loved writing since the age of 11 but did not publicly share my writing until I was 29 years old!
After creating my blog, I reached out to a local online magazine in hopes of snagging a guest column spot, in which I did. During this time, I was also in the process of leaving a job that negatively impacted my mental health. On my last day at that job, I received an offer from the company I work with now. Somehow, they found the article I released with the online magazine and asked if I would present it at the company retreat in France. The topic was a personal testimony of learning how to step outside my own comfort zone. Fast forward to the retreat and my presentation received a standing ovation with not a dry eye in the room!
So how can you step out of your comfort zone? Here are five tips I have learned ( and still learning) on the path to finding my own courage:
1. ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR HEART AND INTUITION.
Not every decision you make must be logical. Do you tend to overthink and psych yourself out? If you do, just stop. Don’t listen to what your brain is saying in that moment. Be mindful and search deep in your heart. What do you feel in your gut? If your heart and intuition are pleading with you to at least try, please do yourself some service. You deserve it.
2. TAKE ACTION.
You can be afraid AND brave. I promise, it’s allowed! And it won’t take away your credit of courage either. If you have a desire to do something, but you are afraid, do it anyway. I can assure you that it may end up being the best decision you’ve made. Of course, if it’s with the best intentions.
3. BABY STEPS.
It is perfectly fine to ease yourself out of your comfort zone. Want to get into professional photography but don’t know where to start? Start with a camera! Watch tutorials, practice with loved ones, study styles and creative ideas. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We all have a starting point. This step helped me tremendously. Sometimes, all you need to do is take that first step of initiative and the rest will fall into place.
4. GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE.
To open more doors, you must expand your horizons. Naturally, this is going to feel uncomfortable. It’s unfamiliar, unknown, and very different to what you may be accustomed to. Embrace the anxiety and doubts. Expect the overwhelming urge to run away from it. But whatever you do, stick it out through all the discomforts. You made the decision to step out of your comfort zone for a reason. Consistency is key.
5. ENJOY THE PROCESS.
Honestly, it’s going to be one hell of a ride, so you might as well have fun while doing it! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Know that you will make mistakes. There will be trial and error, indefinitely. Don’t expect fruits without labor. But most importantly, be patient. It is all a learning process. Be present in the moment and enjoy the small victories. The process reveals more about yourself than you may have ever known.
Hope my mini pep talk has you pumped and ready to take over the world. If you have allowed fear to control your decisions, please make a conscious effort to stop. You are not only capable but worthy of going after whatever sparks happiness in your heart. If you started taking small steps out of your comfort zone, continue to push the envelope. Invent, reinvent. Stand in your power and know that there is no limit to what you can do. Be great and celebrate yourself!
What are some ways you have stepped out of your comfort zone? Is there anything currently holding you back? Please let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you.
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