Let’s talk about the comfort zone, and why it’s in your best interest to get the hell out of it.
What is the comfort zone?
The comfort zone: (noun)
a mental boundary that is a reflection of our conditioning. A wall that has been put up to keep us safe, content and at ease. This wall is made up of routines and patterns that minimize stress and risk. It could be in the form of a job, relationship, or an entire lifestyle. The comfort zone is a security blanket, but it’s also a road block.
It’s All In Your Head
How do we grow as people? We put ourselves in new, unfamiliar situations. Regardless of the outcome, we learn from these experiences. You learn, and then you grow. In relation to the topic, “The comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”
Fear is something we all have in common. Fear alerts us to physical and emotional danger, and our minds are programmed this way to protect us from legitimate threats. Those threats aside, you should never let fear of failure stop you. Failure is a HUGE part of your growing process, one that will help shape you into an incredible, compassionate, relatable person. Believe me! So why is being vulnerable to the unknown so scary?
What Scares You?
Is fear holding you back from anything right now?
Is fear preventing you from applying to a program you truly love? Is fear keeping you captive at a job that is nowhere near related to the career you want to be pursuing? Is it the fear of being rejected, unhappy or alone that has you stuck in a rut like quick-sand?
There are many ways to push your personal boundaries. When in doubt, start small! Try a new fitness class (have you heard of aerial yoga?), learning a new language (learn french, and I promise you’ll pick up Spanish in no time) or try a new recipe (this Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup by The Café Sucre Farine would be perfect!)
In 2015, I decided I needed a change of scenery. I’d been working at the same serving job for over a year, I had no interest in going to school, and I needed some form of major life event to kickstart my 20’s. So on a whim, I booked a flight to Bangkok. From my research, Thailand looked beautiful, affordable and fun. It was such an impulse decision. I would be going alone, and I would need to save every penny for it, but I was going!
A week later, I was TERRIFIED.
I remember putting on a brave face and showing as much enthusiasm as possible whenever anyone asked about it, but on the inside, I was panicking. For weeks, anxiety kept me up at night, with thoughts of doubt and dread consuming my brain. A young, blonde girl traveling alone, in the farthest country from home, literally 12 hours worth of time zones away. Why would anyone ever decide to do something so reckless and stupid?
I decided to suck it up. I couldn’t refund the ticket, and it wasn’t like I had anything physically stopping me from doing this. What was the worst that could happen?
Then something amazing happened- a girl from work asked if she could join me. We had only known each other for a short time, but I immediately said yes. It was the answer to all my prayers. I was no longer going alone! Any anxiety I had left was gone- the trip was amazing, and Taylor is now one of my closest friends.
By stepping out of my comfort zone, I was able to fall in love with travel, experience an incredible culture, and establish a life-long friendship. Do any of those things sound bad to you?
Scared of heights? Start at the littlest jump! (Chiang Mai Grand Canyon)
It Pays Off
Side effects of leaving the comfort zone may include:
- Increased confidence
- Better reaction to change
- Less anxiety
- More creativity
- Living a fulfilling life
- Learning to deal with and avoiding regret
- A more relaxed, go-with-the-flow mentality
Don’t Wait – Embrace the Unknown
If you are always waiting for the perfect moment, or waiting until you’re absolutely sure, you’re going to be waiting a lot, and essentially wasting a lot, of time.
A life outside the comfort zone is so much more colorful. It’s about reaching your fullest potential and going for your dreams. It’s about exploring your endless curiosity. It’s about living your life with no limits. It’s about staring down change in the face and knowing you can handle it. You get the most out of your time on this Earth by living this way, and in the end, you’re the only one responsible for the path you take. Be bold and be brave. Be your authentic self.
Just Be Smart!
You know you better than anyone else. Trust your instincts, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself! This isn’t an overnight change, but a way of living you should strive to work towards. Be kind and patient with yourself- always practice self-care!
WHAT WAS THE BRAVEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE?