Overcoming challenges, and achieving goals and milestones, are part of what makes life so awesome. When we reach our goal, it gives us a feeling of success and happiness. Contradictory, we also experience setbacks. For a lot of people, the biggest obstacle to achieving a goal is being stuck in their comfort zone. Fear is the biggest culprit for not achieving your goals. So how can you get out of your safe place, and what happens when you do? I’ll explain you in this post.
What is the comfort zone?
Everyone has their own “comfort zone” which is seen as an emotional/psychological/behavioral construct that determines the routine of our daily life. The comfort zone is familiar. It feels safe, and secure, and it makes us feel comfortable and calm. Having a comfort zone is healthy for many of us because it’s calming, and it gives us rest. Though, it is also healthy to step out of your safe place. When we want to grow, we need to take a step out of it.
Comfort, stretch, panic-model
To make this more visible, the comfort, stretch, panic model is used for understanding this construct.
Comfort zone: The core is the ultimate comfort zone This is where we feel secure, stable safe, comfortable, and where life is easy. On the other hand, the comfort zone is boring and not challenging, and you could feel lifeless. There are no challenges to the learning process.
Stretch zone: In the stretch zone, things are unfamiliar and somehow awkward. In this zone we enhance possibilities, learning can occur, and we can work towards personal development. This is also where we explore our boundaries and, when we feel overwhelmed, can go back to our safe place. Staying in the stretch zone can expand the comfort zone by getting familiar with new activities and situations.
Panic zone: In the outer ring hides the panic zone. This is far from comfortable and it gets too overwhelming. Fear, stress, and challenges come in a way that learning is not possible anymore. An example of this is the fight-or-flight reaction. Fear and panic are dominant, and we spent all of our energy on managing these. Staying in this zone for too long can possibly cause us to cease to explore boundaries. Instead, we prefer to stay in our comfort zone.
What happens when I leave my comfort zone?
1. You will be scared
It is not an easy thing to leave your comfort zone. In reality, it can be terrifying and that’s normal. You are shifting boundaries which can be scary at some point. You’re forcing yourself to do new things and develop skills. Don’t get overwhelmed, because it is all part of the process. That’s called the process of growth.
2. You will fail
Don’t expect yourself to do it faultlessly. You are learning, and that involves practice. As long as the failures are not disastrous, it can really be a good thing to fail. Remember when you were a kid, and you had to learn a new hobby, sport or skill? You needed to try, fail, and practice mastering the skill.
3. You learn
Continuing on the above, by failing and practicing, you will learn and achieve more. When you will fail small and often, you will learn quickly. The new skills and insights you have learned will eventually lead to success.
4. Your comfort zone will expand
The comfortable is flexible. Which means that by overcoming fears, learning new skills, etc. You will eventually include new skills in your comfort zone.
5. You increase concentration and focus
Stepping out of your comfort zone will force you to focus on the new action in a way you would not do in your comfort zone.
6. You achieve more than before
With all the new things you are learning outside your comfortable space, you will naturally achieve more than you ever would in your comfort zone.
It’s all about your mindset
Pushing yourself to get out of your comfort zone asks for strength and motivation. To prioritize actions, a bucket list can help you. Also, make sure to celebrate every small victory and make time for quality time. This makes you more conscious about your growth and what it brings you.
Books about comfort zone
For self-development and growth, you have to get out of your comfort zone. Here are a top 3 books that give you insight and help you with growth and getting out of your comfort zone:
- You are a badass – Jen Sincero
- Breaking boundaries for a life without limits – Emma Mardlin
- The science of breaking out of your comfort zone – Peter Hollins