How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

cliff-jumpBy Emma Bangay

How do you step away from what you’re used to, into something you don’t know? We spoke to Margie Warrell, leadership coach, keynote speaker and bestselling author, about how to step out of your comfort zone, and fly.

“A comfort zone is a place that is familiar, predictable and psychologically safe and unthreatening”, explains Margie. “In the short term we don’t have to put anything at risk in our comfort zone. In the long term we risk our deepest happiness by staying there.”

Although there is nothing inherently ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ about our comfort zone, Margie says it’s important to focus on whether hanging out there is serving you, enabling you to feel good about yourselves, enhancing your sense of wellbeing and moving you forward in your life to deeper levels of satisfaction. Or is it is stifling you, and holding you back – limiting your ultimate sense of wellbeing and keeping you from doing the very things that would allow you to enjoy a greater sense of purpose, fulfillment and meaning in your life?

Margie adds that although it can be healthy to spend some time in our comfort zone – as it’s where we can recharge our batteries and replenish our psychological reserves – “if we never leave our comfort zone, we can stagnate because we are never challenged to grow or learn or develop as human beings. It’s only when we leave it that we can build our ‘muscles for life’, and achieve what we’re really capable of, create new opportunities and achieve new and bigger things in our lives.”

Feeling a nagging sense of dissatisfaction in your life and find yourself wondering, “Is this it?” You may be stuck in a comfort zone.

Here are Margie’s steps to getting out of it – and back into life.

1. Visualize A Goal: Think about something you want to achieve or change in your life over the next 12 months. If you aren’t sure, start by asking yourself where you are lacking a sense of satisfaction, wellbeing, achievement in your career, or relationships or wellbeing and then visualize how you would feel if you had achieved that goal 12 months from now (you can use a different time frame if you’d like but 12 months is a good place to start).

2. Write Down First Five Steps: Given what you’d like to achieve/change in the next 12 months, think about the milestones would mark your progress in increments of nine, six, three and one month from now. Write down your first five action steps over the next five days. It doesn’t matter how small they are, but they are all taking you in the direction you want to go

3. Don’t Wait To Feel Brave. Just Do It: Don’t wait for the moon, stars and planets to align before you just start taking action. Just start taking whatever actions you identified in Step 2. Whenever you feel afraid, take a big deep breath, feel the fear and acknowledge that it’s trying to keep you safe, but then take action anyway realising that if you let fear and doubt run your life, you will never have what you really want

“As Mark Twain once said though “You can never discover new oceans unless you are willing to lose sight of the shore,” adds Margie.

Margie Warrell is the author of Stop Playing Safe: Rethink Risk. Tap the Power of Courage (Wiley) and Find Your Courage (McGraw-Hill).

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