Ever struggle with stepping outside your comfort zone? You want to take up a new hobby, start a new exercise class, spice up your relationship or get back in the dating scene. The idea sounds great, but when it comes down to it, you simply can’t step outside your comfort zone. Sound familiar? Well, this post is for you because I’m going to reveal exactly how to move past this obstacle.
Stepping out of the comfort zone is a problem a lot of my coaching clients face and understandably so. My question for you is why in the world would you want to step outside your comfort zone? Quite frankly, to me, it sounds…, well…, uncomfortable!
So, let’s get clear and accurate from the start. You don’t really want to step outside your comfort zone; you want to expand your comfort zone so you can explore new areas, discover new interest and grow and develop as a person, right? Okay, so, that’s where you start – with Y.O.U. (your own understanding) of yourself, the boundaries of your current comfort zone and the new situation where you want to be comfortable. Let me let you in on a not so secret secret, the common denominator between where you are and where you want to be is you. And, the only place where you have to be comfortable is in your own skin. So, where else would you start but there?
Being comfortable in your own skin wherever you go and whatever you do is the ultimate goal and there are several more aspects to getting to that goal that I don’t have time to get into in this post, but this is the frame through which you can start to view opportunities that expand your comfort zone. Now, it’s time for you to enter and expand your comfort zone by answering three comfort zone questions. I use this technique all the time. In fact, I used it just the other week when I sang the first and only song I’d ever written in public at a creativity workshop. I’d never sung solo in public after age 8 or so, had never written a song before that day and almost didn’t do it because I thought it was totally outside my comfort zone.
Here are the three questions to Ask yourself:
1. What about doing this new thing makes me uncomfortable? This only works if you’re completely honest with yourself. Remember, no shame, no judgment.
For me, in that workshop, I didn’t think I could sing well and was afraid that the other people in the workshop would laugh at me and talk bad about me. I didn’t want to embarrass myself by doing something I’m not good at. Feeling embarrassed and looking incompetent made me uncomfortable.
2. What will I potentially give up and/or gain, if I do this new thing?
For me, I would give up the opportunity to sing with Bob Sima, a talented musician who I deeply respect and admire and whose powerfully inspiring music I listen to almost daily. I would gain confidence and would have the experience of being carefree and just having fun.
3. How will I really feel about myself if I do it? And, if I don’t, how will I really feel about myself then? Again, this only works if you are honest with yourself.
If I didn’t do it, I would have kicked myself and regretted it. If I did it, regardless of how it sounded or what happened, I would have been proud that I at least took advantage of the opportunity and had the experience.
After I answered these questions, I took a deep breath, opened my mouth, sang the sweetest notes and loved every second. It was an absolutely incredible experience. The other workshop participants joined in the chorus and it was pure magic. None of this would have happened if I didn’t get into and expand my comfort zone.
So, what would you do once you expand your comfort zone? Try the technique above and let me know how it works for you.