You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown,” wrote Denis Waitley — a sentiment that has since launched thousands of motivational posters, but for good reason. Because it’s absolutely true.
“Expanding our comfort zone is the best way to experience life — it opens us up to new ideas and opportunities,” says Dana Zurbuchen, certified professional life coach and chief transformationist at DZ+Associates.
“Leaving our comfort zone also expands our mental and psychological muscles! Just as our bodies can benefit from trying new physical activities, so can our minds,” she continues.
With benefits like that, why does anyone need a push to leave their comfort zone? Obvious or not — it’s not as easy as it sounds. In fact, it can be downright terrifying for some of us. But you’ve got this.
Are you ready to take some bold new steps? Let’s break down what it takes and how to begin.
For starters, you need to know what a comfort zone is and isn’t. It’s not a physical space, like your home, your cubicle or couch. It is emotional. The comfort zone is any behavior that keeps your anxiety level to the bare minimum, like having to keep your phone with you at all times, keeping your eyes downcast when walking past others or making the same grocery list week after week.
Now, let’s discuss the hard part — leaving your comfort zone behind. It’s true, leaving your comfort zone isn’t easy. It takes guts, and there’s more holding you in yours than you might have thought. But no matter what yours is, you’ve got what it takes to step outside of it! Even if the people in your life aren’t so keen on you doing so.
“Our friends and family may question choices and encourage us to stay ‘safe,’” says Dana. “Often times, our loved ones want us to stay where we are — not because they want us to become stagnant, but because our choice to make change can cause them discomfort. They then wonder why they aren’t breaking out of their comfort zone OR are concerned about how a ‘new’ you can change things for them.”
But remember, your comfort zone isn’t defined by other people’s opinions. It’s something you, and you alone, control! And the side effects — including confusion, fear and discomfort — are perfectly natural. And you can overcome them.
“It’s not possible to get out of your comfort zone without knowing yourself and where the boundary of the zone lies,” explains Dana. “Get in touch with your values and who you are so you can authentically move out of your comfort zone in the way that’s best for you.
Dana’s hint is a bit of a good old-fashioned self-reflection. Slow down, stay mindful and evaluate your daily activities by asking, ‘am I doing this because I enjoy it, or because it’s what I’ve always done?’ Then, start breaking free of your comfort zone by taking baby steps. Make a recipe you’ve never tried before. Go for a walk, but leave your phone at home. Make a conscious effort to smile at people when you pass them. You’ll be surprised how empowering it can feel with each step!
“Pursuing a dream is about moving forward, being bold. Leaving your comfort zone is the same.”
With Dana’s expertise, we’d like to slightly amend Denis Waitley’s quote:
You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown — because that’s how dreams are achieved.
So, are you ready to take on uncharted territory? We sure think so. Escape your comfort zone today and just see what happens!
Want more tips and inspiration? Join the dream movement today — we’ve got just the resources to help support and guide you along any dream pursuit.