“Nope. No way. Uh uh. I can’t. I mean, I probably could, but what if I fail?”
Going out of your comfort zone can be scary. You feel your heart beating a little quicker, your mouth gets dry and maybe your palms begin to sweat. One minute you whisper, “I can do this”, and the next minute, you are full of self-doubt and afraid.
Fear can be the root of why we don’t move out of our comfort zone. So instead of taking a chance, we might unconsciously limit our lives, avoiding new experiences or even giving up on our dreams.
Of course, taking chances or doing something different and new can be risky. For example, forcing yourself to speak in public when you have a genuine fear of public speaking can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety, so much that the experience is so negative that you never want to try it again.
There are often times when taking a new venture is necessary. Nowadays, many young adults have to move to a new community to build their resume, often far from family, friends, the comforts of home, and sometimes to another country. Yet, in order to gain meaningful employment for their future, it’s a step they have to take.
If the benefit of change is greater than the risk, how do we move out of our comfort zone, so that we can experience the possibilities that lay ahead?
Firstly, an important influence on our action is our own beliefs. If we believe we aren’t smart or strong enough to do something, that limiting belief can make us feel the task is impossible or that failure is inevitable. If you can turn those thoughts around and think, “I am capable of accomplishing the job”, or simply “I can do this”, leads to confidence and action. Continually expressing those affirming thoughts will help.
Another way to alleviate anxiety and fear is to prepare yourself. An athlete will train and repeatedly practice a skill so that they are ready to perform. We can do the same in our everyday lives. If we look at the public speaking example, some people will take a course on overcoming fears and others may seek coaching or another form of preparation. If we practice, we feel better equipped and ready to take action.
Too often we place pressure on ourselves with self-judgment and thinking about how others will evaluate us. Who cares? This is life and life is worth living. If moving out of your comfort zone will help you to experience more of what life has to offer or it bring you love, joy and happiness, then do it.
Here are some other tips that may help you to move out of your comfort zone:
- Stay active. If you are active, you won’t be sitting around and dwelling on your fear.
- Reach out to friends or someone you trust who will encourage you.
- Take small steps forward. A small effort can help you to feel relieved and give you the confidence to take another small step.
- Become aware of what may actually support your fear such as negative people, social media and chat rooms, and steer away from them.
- Think about a time when you did something despite your fear and remember how good it felt.
- Make a list of your strengths and talents. You can ask others for their input. Focus on the things that help you to move past your fear.
- Stay safe and don’t put yourself into an unnecessarily risky situation.
- Ask yourself these questions:
- What’s the worst that could happen?
- What are two or three more likely outcomes?
- What if you didn’t do it?
- Which would be worse?