Sometimes I don’t push myself hard enough; I’m not as ambitious on the outside as I am inside my head; I don’t like to be outside of my comfort zone. I mean, who does…
It’s called COMFORT for a reason.
Remaining Comfortable Will Keep You Stuck
For as long as I can remember, I stayed firmly in my comfort zone… I did what was expected of me, I outwardly cared about things that I was told I should care about, I didn’t do anything that would appear as embarrassing to others. Until I almost had a meltdown at work…
I was traveling about 75% of the time and doing so much for the company (ahem, relocation) and my clients but was not feeling the love in return. One day, I literally had enough – I went home and for some reason, I JUMPED outside of my comfort zone and booked a cruise to Alaska, leaving in two weeks. By myself.
Go ahead and gasp out loud. It happens every time I tell someone that. I felt prepared for my seven days of vacation bliss by myself in the middle of the ocean.
At the time, I didn’t really question it – if felt as though it was something I could do, within my small zone of comfort since I had traveled on my own before. Until I arrived at my room and it sunk in. I was not going to have contact with anyone I knew, for seven days.
Being Uncomfortable, Brings Results
I was SO uncomfortable – I tend to be a bit shy in typical social settings; I did not know another human being on the ship; it felt like I was the only person traveling on my own; and people were making comments and muttering about it to my face! But I was DETERMINED. It was the first time in ages that I felt energized and engaged. I was uncomfortable as hell, but I turned it into a game – I refused to let others tell me how I “should” be vacationing, or have their judgments influence MY first real vacation. I learned very quickly that being uncomfortable, forces you to start doing something.
When you’re stuck – either on an issue, questioning how to move forward, which answer to go with, what your passion is – whatever it is, you need to start with doing something that nudges you outside of that safety zone. Being uncomfortable provides you with a new and different perspective about… everything. With your new perspective, answers will seem to just appear. But more than simply solving something, you will change your perspective about YOURSELF.
I have never been so proud of myself in my life – there may have been a tear or two in my cabin after the first dining room experience, but I finally saw myself as a strong, brave, courageous person. It was the last time I ever cared about what someone else thought of me – truly, I have not cared an iota since; because I saw my own truth shining brighter than their judgments. This one act of being uncomfortable has propelled me on my mission to live the best life FOR ME that is possible.
Here are few of the ways that I’ve pushed myself out of my box I call comfort… not at all inclusive:
- Attended a speed dating event
- Plan a weekend trip to a city – along with activities and sightseeing planned
- Went to a piano bar by myself on a Saturday night while out of town
- Walking tours – one of my favs was the coffee walking tour in Seattle
- Comment on your favorite blog
- Take an exercise class with other people
- Invite a coworker that I don’t interact with much, out to lunch
- Go to a movie by yourself – if that feels just too awkward, I found that going on Saturday or Sunday morning during the first showing, is typically less busy
- Go to a museum – it’s a good way to be around other people while still doing your own thing and taking in amazing scenery
- Go on a hike with someone who’s more fit than you
- Attend a networking event (I think I just heard you groan), and make it a goal to speak with five people
- Go to a community/religious “open house” event – this one still kinda freaks me out
- Join an adult kickball league (or any sport)
- With a smile, say good morning to the person in the elevator
I’d love to hear some of the ways you’ve pushed yourself… and how that may have helped kill your comfort zone. Let me know in the comments below!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Loosen Your White Collar!
About the Author: Melissa Anzman is a career coach, blogger and author of How to Land a Job and Stop Hating Your Job. A Gen Y entrepreneur and former human resources leader, Melissa founded Loosen Your White Collar, where she helps people fall in love with their jobs and understand how Human Resources works. Contact Melissa on Twitter.