How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

How do I leave my comfort zone

You may have heard the term leave your comfort zone, which became a buzzy life coach phrase in the ’90s. The idea was that a person’s ‘comfort zone’ (low-risk daily routines) caused individual progress to level out.

The brain is a creature of habit, so staying within a comfort zone makes sense. You know what to expect and feel in control. It’s where you feel safe from anxiety-provoking stimuli like a stressful new job, engaging with other people, and even looking inward and self-reflecting. But if you’re starting to feel like your safe space is keeping you stuck in a rut, here are some ways to break out of the zone.

How to Leave the Comfort Zone and Never Look Back

Nobody said leaving your comfort zone will be easy.  For many, this represents leaving safety and stepping into a fear zone, which takes courage. You may experience a lack of confidence when trying something new, you might make excuses to return to your zone, you could become more easily affected by others’ opinions. All of this is normal, so don’t let it hold you back. By persevering long enough, you’ll enter what is known as your learning zone.

Pushing yourself into the learning zone allows you to reach greater heights and will eventually become a new space of comfort for you. Being in this place can help you learn how to deal with challenges, acquire new skills, and significantly extend your zone of comfort to allow for new growth. 

Why You Should Leave the Comfort Zone

Leaving your zone of comfort significantly enhances your performance, but there are other benefits for your self-growth that occur. Here are a few reasons to expand your safety bubble.

  • Develop Your Mindset. There are two contrasting mindset models – fixed versus growth. When you have a fixed mindset there is a ceiling on how much you believe you can achieve. If you experience failure, you feel inadequate. And if criticized, your self-esteem takes a fatal blow. With the growth mindset, you recognize yourself as human and therefore a work in progress. You look at setbacks as opportunities to learn and understand your potential is unlimited. Leaving the zone of comfort will help you develop a growth mindset and feel inspired to take healthy risks.
  • Build Greater Self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in a particular situation. Most people can easily identify things they would like to change or achieve, they also realize that putting these plans into action isn’t always easy. People with a strong sense of self-efficacy tend to more easily execute the needed actions to reach goals. When you leave your zone of comfort, you enter a phase of trial and error that can result in some level of success. Through these positive experiences, you build your self-efficacy and believe more strongly in your potential, which then becomes a boost to strive for more success.
  • Become More Antifragile and Resilient. Life is not easy and sooner or later we are all faced with challenges and adversity. By expanding your zone of comfort, you will become more antifragile and resilient. When one’s resilient systems are able to bounce back to the level before a shock, your antifragile system learns to grow and reach new heights as well.

Leave Your Comfort Zone

If you’re ready to get out of your Comfort Zone and enter your Growth Zone (without feeling like you’re freefalling straight into a panic-filled Danger Zone) here are a few ways to take those courageous first steps:

  • Do everyday things differently. Daily life is filled with opportunities to challenge yourself. Leave your phone at home when you’re out with family or friends or invite someone from the office you rarely interact with out for a coffee. Small shifts break you out of old, comfortable routines.
  • Embrace failure and discomfort. Nothing new can be accomplished without the potential of failure. So embrace discomfort and try new things.  When you start to view failure as a teacher, your ability to see the learning opportunity after taking a fall makes it that much easier to get up and try again.    
  • Reframe stress. Physiologically, there isn’t a difference between anxiety and excitement. When something is defined as ‘stressful’ it’s a reflection of the positive or negative label you put on it.  Try to reframe stimuli you might have previously viewed as stressful (a first date, a meeting with your boss, public speaking) as an exciting opportunity.

When leaving your zone of comfort, each step should be viewed as a step towards progress. You don’t have to be reckless or throw all caution into the wind. It is perfectly acceptable to take small steps. 

Where to Learn More About Leaving a Comfort Zone

Raise Women has a mission to match 100,000 ambitious women of color with female leaders through mentorship, so in the years to come our mentees will rise to the top of the boardrooms creating substantial shifts in the business world. 

Sign up to be a mentee or mentor if you’re determined to step out of your zone of comfort or want to help someone shift into the growth zone.

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