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The GenTwenty Podcast Episode 6: The Growth in Discomfort

In this episode, Nicole and Marina talk about leaving your comfort zone and the growth that happens when you get uncomfortable.

What is a comfort zone?

A space where you’re not afraid of anything or to do anything. It can be both a mental and physical space!

Think of a fenced-in yard: the fence is the perimeter you’re allowing yourself to reside within comfortably. And moving past the fence would mean moving past your comfort zone. 

Why do we need to move “past the fence”?

It’s how you grow! Leaving your comfort zone is how you learn more about yourself, how you get to know yourself better, and how you can become more confident. You also gain independence as you learn that your limits are changing.You come into your power when you expand yourself.

Growth is uncomfortable, that’s why they call it growing pains. 

How do we leave our comfort zones? Especially when it’s overwhelming?

  1. Start small. You don’t climb Everest in a day! (And you never have to climb Everest, if that’s not your thing).
  2. Make a list of 10 things you wish you could do. Then look at that list and see what you can accomplish. Maybe you want to feel more comfortable with public speaking. Then look for ways that you can practice speaking up—volunteer more answers in class, talk more (when appropriate) in your next meeting, force yourself to ask one question to someone you don’t know all that well. Record yourself talking about anything, literally anything, and watch the playback until you feel like you could stand up and say what you recorded to anyone at any time.
  3.  Get a friend to join the challenge with you. Misery loves company, and hey, it really is fun to try new things!
  4. Think back to the last year or two. What do you do now that you couldn’t do then? That’s growth! And that’s what is ahead, too. 

Types of New Things to Try:

  • Take yourself to the movies 
  • Eat alone at a restaurant
  • Travel someplace new
  • Go for a drive with no destination in mind
  • Sign up for an online course to learn something you’ve been curious about
  • Ask yourself what scares you the most, and do something to take steps towards it (safely). 

For example: Marina HATES spiders to the point where she wouldn’t even squash them, she’d call for her roommates to come and take care of them. But, when she moved into her own apartment and lived alone she realized there was no one else to remove the spiders so it was either learn to do it herself or live with the spiders. She learned to smash (just the really big ones) or gently remove the spiders and toss them out the window. But also she still really hates spiders. 

Another, less-gross example of leaving your comfort zone is one Nicole shared on the podcast. At twenty-two, just after she and her husband graduated from college, they moved from their home state Maryland across the country to Seattle, where they knew exactly no one. Nicole revealed that for the first almost two years of living in Seattle, she didn’t leave the apartment by herself. She has always been adventurous, but something inside her caused anxiety at the thought of exploring Seattle solo and so she stayed home unless her husband or friends would go with her. Then one day she realized she didn’t want to live life like that and pushed herself to take trips alone to coffee shops and gradually found her independent self back in action and living more happily than ever before.

Life is too short for us to keep ourselves in boxes. We aren’t meant to wilt, we are meant to reach up towards the sunshine and grow. So, don’t wait for the right time, for the invitation, or for the buddy to do something with. Do what you want to do, and do it now.

What do you think? Tell us how you leave your comfort zones in the comments below!

Continue reading about leaving your comfort zone from the writers of GenTwenty:

About the Author

Marina Crouse

With a B.A. in French and an MFA in Creative Writing, Marina is a Writing Coach and copywriter helping creatives bring their ideas to the page. In her free time, you'll find her reading, cooking, traveling, or binge-watching sitcoms on Netflix.