There is a well-known connection between your comfort zone and the amount of success you experience in life.
While it may not feel like it in the moment, a little bit of discomfort goes a long way in terms of personal development. Certainly.... no one likes feeling uncomfortable, but it's a big part of your learning process, creativity and overall success.
"Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you're doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they're hiding out in the comfortable zone. When uncomfortable actions leads to success, the organization rewards you and brings you back for more." - Seth Godin
Cultural norms and routines make you feel safe and in control, but these same routines is stunt your development and sensitivities. Think about the things you do over and over; you start to do them without any thought that you're actually doing it. Your trips to your job, your workouts at the gym or your relationships with your friends... all become just the norm.
If you don't challenge yourself by getting out of your comfort zone, you'll start tuning out most of your life. I call this the living dead.
If you "truly" want to reach the next level in your life, or when you let new things happen to you, your body creates a brand new neural pathways that fuel your creative spark and enhance your memory.
Research supports that doing the same tasks and activities repeatedly creates a mental ceiling that promotes mediocrity. Conversely challenging yourself with new tasks, new processes, and challenging your fears opens new chambers in your brain.
This is why getting out of your comfort zone is something you should embrace. Putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, the motivational chemical.
Very important fact: this is the unique portion of the brain that is triggered when you see or perform new experiences.
Unfortunately few people actually enjoy the feeling of being uncomfortable. The challenge is to get past that initial feeling of wanting to return to your generational norms, so you can get outside your comfort zone and experience more success.
Keep reading as I will share 3 critical tips to help you get outside of your comfort zone.
3 Ways to Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
#1 - Identify The Source of Your Fear
Identify "why" you fear something is one of the most difficult steps for many people. For most of your life you're afraid or not accustom to doing many things.
Fear and discomfort tend to go hand-and-hand. We fear things like heights, spiders, dogs, haunted houses, etc. But discomfort comes in the form of talking in crowds, public speaking, selling products/services, starting your own business, etc.
In order to do the things we want to do in life we must get comfortable overcoming these types of fears. If you want to start your own business you need to get comfortable selling, speaking and connecting with other people. If you want to experience camping with your friends then you need to get over your fear of spiders and other insects.
It all starts with identifying and connecting with the source of your fears; why are you afraid in the first place?
How do you identify the source of your fears?
Think through your family history, your childhood, a particular event, or your daily activities. Through that you will be able to come up with what has brought you to this point and severity of your fears.
Once you identify it attack it head on and challenge in daily. Give your fear a name, a face, and talk to it daily. This may sound crazy but just like with physical enemies in our lives, making your fears in the form of a human being will create more focus for you.
The key is to recognize where it's coming from so you can legitimize it and act accordingly. That leads to the greater reward of more successful experiences.
#2 - Track Your Progress
During your journey to defeat your fears you will experience various setbacks and challenges. This is why it's important for you to create checkpoints and give yourself time to track your progress.
Defeating your fears is not something that will happen over night. Think about it... you spent years being afraid to take the next step towards your fears.
You need to give yourself time and practice patience with overcoming your fears and getting outside your comfort zone. Just like with most things in life, once you get intentional by practicing with repetition it will get easier.
Use tools like a journal to document critical milestones, your thoughts, and emotions during your journey.
Tracking your progress will also allow you to reflect, learn from your mistakes, and correct any actions you plan going forward.
#3 - Create Your Own Environment of Discomfort
Technology has allowed us the ability to connect with other people sharing our same thoughts and experiences with the click of a button. Platforms like Meetup and Eventbrite allows y0u connect with a tribe of people defeating the same fears.
I'm what you would consider an ambivert (extrovert & introvert), and I struggle with crowds and public speaking. But my passion is creating startups, doing freelance work, blogging, and other creative projects.
I learned how critical it was for me to overcome my fear of public speaking or just speaking in general. In this article Mr. Buffett states:
"Mastering the art of public speaking is the single greatest skill to boost your career."
I've created groups around my passions which allows me to be the head of the class and forces me to do most of the speaking. People that attend will want to learn about the group creator, why are we hear, and why should I come back.
It's public speaking skills that will allow you answer all of those questions at the same time while practicing the art of public speaking. It's important that you do what's in your control because no one else cares more about your discomfort than you.
We all have different types and levels of discomfort. Not all discomfort serves a positive purpose or contributes to your overall growth. You have to be selective about how, when, and why it's important to defeat the discomfort of a given situation leading to more success in your life.
It's critical that you discover the courage, awareness, and understanding that allow you to see problems and hurdles for what they are.
What's the one thing that you've been trying to avoid because of discomfort? Share in the comments below.