How can we get out of our comfort zones, you ask?
David Lee Roth, formerly of Van Halen, said it best: “Go ahead and jump, JUMP.”
Ah Dave, if only it was just that easy. Sure thing, just jump in, go for it, take a chance. Sounds sublime, but stepping out of our comfort zones really isn’t so easy for most of us. Um, they’re called comfort zones because that’s what they offer us and we dig that.
We’ve heard it hundreds of times. Getting out of our comfort zones is scary, necessary, hard, exciting, and it’s the well-worn path to growth. We got it. We understand. We’ve even experienced it whether we tried to or not. Having to move for a job. Dealing with surprising health issues. A long-term relationship that ended abruptly. An exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that scared and thrilled us. And sometimes we make the conscious choice. Anything from going to a Muay Thai class to eating blowfish. We know it helps us and it makes life more exhilarating. But how, HOW do we not just make friends with getting out of our comfort zones on the regular, but genuinely embrace the action? How do we move past the resistance that sends us in the direction of the things that feel safe, easy, and yeah, comfortable?
About 8.5 years ago, I chucked my very cushy life in Atlanta, sold my condo, quit all my yoga teaching jobs, left amazing friends, and moved to Columbus, Ohio with no job or actual plan. My pat response was because I wanted to live near my family. (But not too close. They live in Cincinnati.) The real, true, compelling reason was that I needed and craved change in a serious way. That leads me to the first way to find the motivation for side-stepping comfort zones.
1. Acknowledge When You Need a Big Change.
When we get into ruts and we’re truly not happy, we’ll manifest change. Even if it’s not a conscious decision, we do things to make it happen. Most people have worked a job they really dislike. But they stay because it’s a steady paycheck with health insurance and they don’t know where to begin looking for the next gig. Plus interviewing and CV updating suck.
They have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, but it seems too daunting so they continue to play it safe. Then, a new boss takes over and he’s a nightmare. Suddenly, this barely tolerable job is no longer acceptable. What was a comfort zone has ceased being one and all of the sudden, the motivation is jumping up and down on your lap. You find the time to update your resume, network, and figure things out. Now that dream of launching your own company seems like the exact right thing and now is the time. Needing change is incredibly provocative.
Oh yeah, this is a big motivator. Have you ever felt so bored with life you were downright angry about it? We require stimulation to stay inspired and excited about life. If we get bored enough, there’s typically a breaking point where we can’t stand it anymore and it catapults us to running from our comfort zones. We begin searching for an incentive, so we find it. Boredom leads to exploration. Exploration leads to new ideas and experiences. Boredom is the great creativity impetus. Try going a full day without your phone, laptop, TV, magazines, or even books. Search your own mind and open up doors you didn’t even know where there.
3. Meeting an Influencer.
Think back on the last time you met someone who just simply blew your mind. Do you remember the giddy sense that something was about to happen, just because of a specific conversation with a wise risk-taker who took no shit but also amplified kindness and well-being? They don’t come along every day, but holy unicorns must be real, this particular person set you on the trajectory of stepping right inside the first hallway leading to your best life.
They either said something or asked you just the right question to get your thoughts piecing together, leaving you wondering how you didn’t put together this jigsaw puzzle some time ago. Influencers are powerful folks, and we all need them to help us figure out just how to reach that once seemingly unobtainable light switch. Anytime you come across someone who causes powerful positive thoughts and feelings to bubble to the surface, pay attention.
4. All signs point to something else.
Have you ever read The Celestine Prophecy? It’s been a minute since I did, but one big take away I do remember is to pay attention to signs and that there are no coincidences. Let’s say you’ve always been really into candle making. It started as a hobby and was something you’d make for friends as gifts. As your skills developed, your candles got progressively more intricate in design, scent, presentation, and lastability. It slowly grew into a career goal, but you felt uncertain if you could actually make a living at it.
But then, you meet the organizer of a huge festival happening in your city and she mentions the types of vendors she’s still looking to land. Candlemaker is on her list. Do you tell her you make candles or stay silent? You say nothing because you don’t think you can produce enough all by yourself by the date of the event. Later that night, a friend asks you if you’d be willing to teach her your craft. These signs, even when they’re obvious, can go ignored if we feel too resistant to getting out of our comfort zones and too uncomfortable about putting ourselves out there.
Comfort Zones Are Developed. They Weren’t Always Comfortable.
When we come to the understanding that some level of discomfort is just a natural part of it, we can embrace it and know we’ll move through it. It’s temporary. Try that as a mantra the next time you explore blurring the boundaries between comfort and discomfort. It’s temporary, and I’ll move through it. Seek out the discomforting situations to enjoy the treasures waiting for you on the other side. Have the very best time exploring this!