So, you’ve always wanted to step outside your comfort zone but aren’t sure how to get started? It helps to know what stepping outside your comfort zone feels like.
Perhaps you’re about to step outside your comfort zone and are dying to know what it feels like to be on the other side of comfort. Or maybe you’re looking for a life-altering change and know the only way to get there is by challenging yourself beyond your layers of comfort.
There are many benefits to stepping outside your comfort zone, ranging from taking risks to become the best version of yourself, welcoming growth, learning how to adapt to change positively, and a newfound sense of bravery, to name a few. And while venturing outside your comfort zone might feel intimidating, frightening, or overwhelming at first, the benefits of doing so far outweigh those initial feelings.
What Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone Feels Like
Before I ever felt brave enough to step outside my comfort zone, I always wondered how I might feel in doing so. I imagined I would feel mostly frightened, with little room spared for positive feelings. While some fear did previously and always will exist every time I choose the uncomfortable choice, I want you to know what other feelings you might experience when you leap.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone feels like being so excited you can hardly speak while simultaneously nurturing sweaty palms and a racing heart. It feels like being confident in your decision to leap, yet feeling mortified about the leap at the same time. You might experience a variety of conflicting emotions when you first start to step outside your comfort zone but trust me, and it’s going to be worth it.
Chase your fears instead of running from them.
The best way to get started when it comes to pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is to seek out what you fear most. Create a list of your fears—every single one of them. I’m talking spiders, rollercoasters, public speaking, embarrassing yourself in a professional setting, what have you. Write down as many of your fears as you can think of, and then research or think of ways that you can start to expose yourself to the fears on your list.
For more inspiration on this process, check out the 100 Days Without Fear project by Michelle Poler. Michelle Poler created a list of 100 of her greatest fears and strived to conquer them in 100 days.
Spontaneously mix up your routine.
By nature, we gain feelings of comfort through our routines. Think about it; patterns are incredibly comfortable because our daily lives become clearly defined, feel safe, and leave us with small bits of room for unexpected occurrences. If you are a creature of habit, you likely live life well-planned out with intention behind your every move.
Certainly, habits and routines help us thrive and succeed in various aspects of our lives, but they can become too comfy. Try mixing up your routine to start taking small steps outside your comfort zone. Go to a different coffee shop on your way to work. Order takeout on a night you have a home-cooked meal planned. Call a friend for a movie night on a night you swore not to make any plans. Shake things up because you never know when you’ll be in the right place at the right time.
Try something new (particularly something you think you will suck at, at first).
Can I be honest with you for a minute? I hate trying new things sometimes because I hate being bad at them. I hate sucking! It’s in my nature to want to be good at or even above average at most things I do. Why am I telling you this? Because trying new things, especially when you think you’re going to suck at them at first, is challenging for all of us, but it comes with a big reward.
Comfort comes with a hindrance to growth, and the only way to keep growing is to continue learning. Try something new. Go golfing for the first time, or sign up for an online class to learn a new language, or play ping pong with your coworkers even if you’re terrified of making a fool of yourself (that was me). Who cares if you suck at first? We weren’t born with a set of pre-mastered skills. So put yourself out there and embrace the process of learning something new. Fall in love with the process and repeat it over and over again.
Sign up or agree to something you wouldn’t consider under comfortable circumstances.
Like trying something new, deliberately sign up for something you wouldn’t generally consider or agree to do. A previous version of myself would never agree to go to happy hour with friends on a work night. In fact, in general, I never used to be fond of making any plans after work. I’d wake up, get ready for work, go to work all day, come home, and “relax” on the couch, go to bed, and do it all over again.
Now I try to agree to as many opportunities I wouldn’t usually sign up for as possible, no matter what day of the week, even if that includes enjoying a weeknight out with friends and staying out slightly past my bedtime. Or if it entails attending a networking event that I have to show up to alone. Just say yes and let the rest fall into place.
Travel somewhere unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
Ditch your comfy environment and familiar surroundings and head somewhere new. You can start small by exploring a different area near your current location, working your way up to visit another state, and perhaps eventually a new country. Or you can dive in headfirst and travel to a country you’ve always dreamed of visiting. Whatever your preference is, be sure to explore and take in the new environment in its entirety. Traveling will broaden your perspectives and open your mind to new ideas.
Tell us what stepping outside your comfort zone feels like for you! Let us know in the comments so we can root for and support you!