There’s nothing more reassuring then knowing exactly what’s expected of you and how to do it. You’ve done it before and know the steps off by heart. It’s as if you can do this with your eyes closed.
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Let’s clear up what our ‘comfort zone’ is. It’s a place where we’re familiar with thoughts, actions and feelings towards any task, situation, person or experience. We understand the structure and how to perform – routine.
Now I’m all for routine, it sets up a foundational support structure where what was once unfamiliar becomes familiar. It becomes easy for us to follow through and understand what’s expected from our end. Our comfort zone, allows for us to rest, to complete what’s needed in a more relaxed state and a chance to recharge and reset our self.
Our comfort zone is neither a positive or negative state. It’s a state where we get to rest, be a bit productive and take a break.
Staying in your comfort zone for extended periods of time is like an extended holiday in one place only. The same food, the same place, the same people AND same routine starts to occur. Its great at first, relaxing and indulging on all that you want. If it continues, then complacency can sneak in, hence where the saying ‘I feel stuck in a rut’ comes from.
To step out of routine, we do need to prepare for a few awkward feelings and sensations that goes hand in hand when outside our comfort zone. Low stress or anxiety is expected, especially when we’re changing or trying new things. We have to be more alert and discover what works and what doesn’t. If we move into high stress or anxiety, this is a sign that we’re trying to too hard.
Yes, there is a fine line between growing and trying too hard but how do we measure it? It’s the energy we place behind stepping out of comfort zone. When our efforts start affecting our self management, here is where I would encourage you to take a step back and reassess how you’re stretching.
There are many good reasons to step out of your comfort zone:
1. Get to grow and discover a sense of self
By learning, we gain the opportunity to grow, discover a deeper sense of self and experience different perspectives. We find out about our stamina and follow through. Simply put, stepping out of your comfort zone is just trying something new or in a different way.
2. Be more productive
Having to be more alert as you’re learning means we are willing to try. Find out what results it gives us and how it feels. Deadlines are always placed in the stress basket but the more we how learn to manage deadlines, the more productive with less stress we become.
3. Get to exercise our mind
Learning is always firing off new neural pathways in the brain. Creating new ways to think and find solutions really strengthens the mind’s agility for change.
4. Become more adaptable
Staying in our comfort zone doesn’t really allow for the element of surprise. We’re always in reactive mode instead of responsive mode. By being more adaptable it teaches us to be flexible with life, our emotions and situations.
5. More confidence
Once you understand the emotions that come with stepping outside your comfort zone, you become more confident. You understand the process and it becomes more familiar to you.
6. Allows for more creativity
By becoming more familiar with this process, you can stretch again and be more creative in your choices and methods. This is where it becomes fun!
7. Build trust
When you’ve stretched and pushed yourself through a few times, you gain a new sense of self. Having more confidence, you begin to trust this, you begin to trust yourself.
8. We become brave
Imagine, really trusting yourself and having the belief of confidence well anchored within you. We’ve got more creativity and a deeper connection with self. It’s only a natural progression for us to be braver and bolder with our choices in life.
The old way is to overcomplicate the meaning of stepping out of our comfort zone. Once we’ve become more familiar and find our flow with this stretch, what was once unfamiliar (uncomfortable) becomes familiar (comfortable). Then you can enjoy being in your comfort zone till you decide to step out again.