We often hear of the phrase “get out of your comfort zone” which is all good and well because the purpose is to invite us to do something different to give us the opportunity to grow and be better.
The problem is, although people do every so often get out of their comfort zone, they are too quick and willing to get back into what is familiar to them. This means that their opportunity to learn and grow is temporary and unlikely to last.
How would you like to be able to get the courage to step out of your comfort zone to learn new things?
How would like to be able to be so comfortable at getting uncomfortable that almost everything becomes comfortable?
Are you still with me?
Wouldn’t you like to become the type of person who is not ruled by fear, who is willing to experience more and take charge of your life?
Well here are the 5 steps to learning to expand your comfort zone so that you are able to learn more, do more and achieve more in life.
1. Identify for your fears
Many people hold back from doing something or making a decision because they fear that something negative or uncertain will happen. Fear can be in the form of many things including fear of success, failure, loneliness, the unknown, rejection and disappointment.
Anthony Robbins (a peak performance educator) describes the following two as being our primary fears – fear of not being loved or fear that we are not enough. This is what drives us to fear all the other things mentioned above. Step 1 is to list all your fears to recognise which ones serve you and which ones don’t. Think about these based on the areas of your family life, work, relationships, finance & health.
2. Replace your non-supportive beliefs with supportive ones
You need to take the time to understand what has conditioned you to believe those fears? Was it something that your parents said to you? Did you witness a specific incident? Did your teachers treat you in a certain way? All these questions suggest that we may have formed particular opinions about something based on what we have been brought up to believe. The good news is that you can change these by replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones… with what you ask? It is usually the opposite of our original belief. For example – “When I speak my mind people will not like what I have to say” replace it with “When I speak my mind with integrity, people will appreciate my honesty and ability to add value to the conversation”.
Once you’ve understood where the root of your fear beliefs come from, you can start thinking about ways in which you can replace them with empowering thoughts.
3. Feel the flutter
I don’t know about you, but I used to hate the idea of public speaking. I was one of those people that truly believed that dying was less scary than presenting. I would do everything in my power to avoid talking at the cost of voicing my concerns, sharing information and not being acknowledged for all the value I brought to people’s lives.
Until, one day when I attended a train the trainer course and I learnt that “If I was too busy worrying about what people thought of me when I was public speaking then that meant I was being selfish, because I was too busy thinking about myself instead of delivering important information to my audience”… WOW….. and that comment changed my life. I am not selfish, but I was behaving selfishly. So now every time I get the chance to public speak, I am there with bells on. And don’t get me wrong I get nervous, but I realised that my nervousness also represented excitement and challenge instead of fear.
I noticed that whenever I do something that tests my comfort zone, my mind and body will tell me so by making my heart flutter… and that is when I say to myself… “I love to feel the flutter, because this means I am being challenged and I will have another opportunity to grow.”
You would be amazed at how this reprogramming has changed my life. I feel empowered and unstoppable. I can share anything – and you too can use this method too to overcome your fears.
4. Practice practice practice
I think that by now you are getting the message that doing it once or twice is not enough. Have you heard of the saying “Practice makes perfect”? Well guess what? I am going to make it easy for you. You don’t have to aim for perfection, you just have to keep doing it because “Practice makes PERMANENT”. The whole idea is to make that task that used to make you sweat become second nature and it only comes from repetition. I take any opportunity to speak in public because I want to get to that point where I feel no physical emotion; no sweaty palms, no shaky voice, no red face, no heart racing. I want to get to that point that I am so comfortable that I can focus 100% on content and my audience and not have to worry about me… and I am pleased to say that I am almost there… I think that I just need a bit more practice. But I never turn down a gig.
5. Increase your awareness
Observe yourself and your thought patterns, and entertain only the thoughts that support your happiness and success. Challenge that little voice in your head whenever it tells you, “I can’t” or “I don’t want to” or “I don’t feel like it.” Don’t allow this fear-based, comfort-based voice to get the better of you. Make a pact with yourself that whenever the little voice in your head tries to stop you from doing something to support your success, you will do it anyway to tell it that you are the boss. Not only will you increase your confidence dramatically, but eventually, the voice will get quieter and quieter as it recognises it has little effect on you.
You are a powerful being that is faced with choice every minute of everyday. The question becomes do you make choices that help you grow to achieve more and learn more, or do you make decisions based on fear that hold you back and stop you from growing?
If you are despise being mediocre, with just getting by and living without passion, then now is the time to start getting uncomfortable and expand your comfort zone. Feel the flutter – be aware – and take action.
Feel the flutter and take action anyway.