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What did I learn from stepping out my comfort zone!

Coach Christine  Silelidis by Christine Silelidis
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When I googled the definition of the term comfort zone it was described as a settled method of working that requires little effort and yields only barely acceptable results. Another definition described the term, as a situation where one feels safe or at ease.

It's all about perspective I suppose, and I am not here to judge your comfortable sweet spot, but I do want to challenge you on how long you have been there and what are your reasons for staying?

Is safe really that safe?

It's clear that our comfort zone is a place of safety but ever wondered why do you feel so safe and in control?

Well, it's because you not really engaging in any new experiences or taking on any new challenges. Sticking to the old and tried methods, means no surprises. Whereas trying something new means opening yourself up, starting from the beginning and of course inviting mistakes. New means you actually might stumble upon something you not good at and this may mean a lot of hard work. Which is manageable, however if you anything like me, not being an instant super star from the start is absolutely terrifying!

It makes sense, why would you want to leave your comfort zone, when staying here you could avoid anxiety, stress and possibly even pain. Outside your comfort zone on the other hand, creates uncertainty, and uncertainty makes you feel anxious, confused and perhaps doubtful that you are doing the right thing.

Living in your comfort zone means taking the path of least resistance. While playing it safe has its advantages, it could also be unfulfilling.

I guess we have to ask ourselves what is safe, is not daring to learn or grow really the kind of safety we are looking for?

What happens when you leave your comfort zone...

You start perspiring.... a lot! Joking, well... not really... It's scary let's not beat around the bush here and the bigger the change, the leap or even the risk, the bigger the fear that follows.

It takes courage to step out your comfort and courage looks different to everyone. Some run ahead thriving on the nerves, and some take two steps forward and a couple steps back, slow and steady. There is no right or wrong way, there is just your way. I guess for me I'm a planner, so, I know I will plan every possible detail and outcome. But you can only plan to a certain extent, and then all I'm left to do is lean towards what my gut is guiding me to do and jump from my comfort.

I've learnt that planning works and utilising my strengths and support system is where the magic sits. It is about breaking down the process into achievable goals, taking a step at a time and realising where one's limitations are. It is a process that requires compassion from your biggest supporter, yourself!

Change, moving forward, acquiring new skills all takes commitment and an understanding that you may only appreciate later on from experience. Challenges will arise. Wins will be celebrated. I can also guarantee there will be a moment in the journey, where giving up seems more favourable than pushing forward.

Where the comfort zone beckons with warm milk and cookies...

So why leave...?

Self-actualization and the beauty that flows from that. If you didn't know, self-actualization is the final stage of development in Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

What does that mean? Self-actualization is when we are personally moving towards our own full realisation in terms of creative, intellectual, and social potential through our own internal drive rather than for external rewards like money, status, or power.

In other words, we are allowing ourselves to follow our true purpose, meet our values and work towards our own self-fulfillment. That's more powerful than you know!

Self-fulfillment brings in many factors but for me the self-confidence, motivation and in its purest form happiness were the biggest drivers.

What did I learn from stepping out my comfort zone!

That I am bigger than my fear and I'm actually quite a brave soul! That I am grateful for my courage and determination, but compassion is always welcomed. I've learnt that the first step is the most difficult and somehow each next step magically gets a little easier. I've learnt that mistakes are not the end of the world and experience can be tough but oh so rewarding.

I've learnt that time is precious, regret is cruel, and I am the master of my journey.
Many things are out of our control but how I move forward each day, is my decision. And, in the moments where I was faced with deciding between staying in my comfort zone and leaping forward, moving forward has served me well!

Stepping away from your comfort zone is tough and takes a lot of courage but the rewards, are invaluable. The below is not an exhaustive list, however it's a starting point and that's a good place to begin!

How to move out your comfort zone:

1. Think about what you want outside your comfort zone
2. Challenge your beliefs
3. Get comfortable with discomfort
4. Cultivate a positive mental attitude
5. Start small
6. Don’t rely on the safe choice
7. Take that first step
8. Celebrate each win
9. Keep learning
10. Find Mentors

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