Do you ever find yourself thinking that you’re stuck in a rut, that there is a lack of excitement in your life but you don’t know how to change it? Getting out of the zone – your comfort zone – might be the remedy.
As I reflect on my own life I know that my greatest achievements have been born out of a willingness to try new things. And regardless of how scary each new challenge appeared to be, once I jumped in I realised:
- It wasn’t as daunting as it first appeared
- More often than not I could do it!
Starting my own business is one such example. Having been made redundant and sensing that my days as an employee were numbered I decided to look at the possibilities of working for myself. More than anything I wanted a lifestyle change. I was sick of spending 3 hours a day commuting, I wanted to move away from City life and I wanted to work the hours I chose.
Cutting a long story short, after reading an article in Red magazine about women who had started their own businesses from home I decided to provide administration and business support services to micro business owners. 12 months of research and virtual business training later I packed in my contract job and went full-time into working for myself.
It was an empowering journey that made me realise that the only way I could ever know what I was truly capable of was to take leaps into the unknown.
Living outside of your comfort zone brings adventure and excitement! I believe it to be the golden key to confidence building. The more skills and talents you discover are at your disposal the more confident you feel about what is possible for you.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a scary process but it’s worth it! You create the boundary of your zone and you can stretch it, one new challenge at a time.
What can you do to stretch that boundary?
- Face a fear– review the things that make you feel fearful and make a commitment to overcome one of them. For example, I had a fear of spiders so I decided that instead of freaking out when I saw one scampering towards me (seriously!) I would catch it in a specially designated cup and put it outside. I’m still not a fan of them but doing this one single thing has allowed me to realise that they are not as scary as I imagined and that I had been over-reacting, blowing the scenario out of all proportion. What’s your fear and what one small step could you take to reduce or remove it?
- Take a risk – It’s so easy to keep on doing the things you are comfortable with; you know there is little chance of failing and therefore it is safe. Risk taking is about accepting responsibility for the choices you make and the outcome of those choices. (Not to be confused with recklessness – doing things with no thought of the risks involved)
- Embrace opportunities– It is too easy to miss the opportunities around you. When you get bogged down with routine it is difficult to see the other choices open to you. Start being more aware, more vigilant. There was a great example of this on one of Derren Brown’s shows where the camera crew kept leaving opportunities for the local butcher to win/find money. From leaving £50 on the path he took to work to asking him to take part in a paid survey, he missed them all. Why? Because he didn’t consider himself ‘lucky’ and therefore never saw the opportunities that were right there for the taking. What opportunities might you be missing at work, in business, in your social life?
- Every so often, say ‘yes’ to the unknown – I remember in the early days of my first business one of my clients interviewed people about health for her radio show. Some of these people were in the public eye from the world of sports to charitable organisations. Out of the blue, she told me that due to her timetable she was going to have to do fewer interviews and could I take over. I had no experience of interviewing, no experience of radio and knew that if I messed up on the interview I wouldn’t get a second chance; you got 5 minutes and that was that. But I said yes. Why? It would be a new experience, I would develop a new set of skills and if my client thought I was capable then I had no reason to doubt my capability. What things have you turned down in the past and wish you had done? How will you react to the unknown going forward?
In short getting out of your comfort zone is about living where the magic happens… Are you ready to bring some magic into your life?