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4 Tips for Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone


We’ve all seen those inspirational memes encouraging us to step out of our comfort zone and try something new, but the reality of getting out of your routine can be daunting and hard work. The definition of comfort zone is “a situation or position in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control In our comfort zone, we have a sense of security, familiarity, and certainty. When we step outside of it we’re taking a risk, we’re exposing ourselves to the possibility of stress and anxiety and we’re unsure what will happen and how we’ll react.

In 1908, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson explained that a state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance. However, in order to for us to maximize performance, we need a state of relative anxiety, where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. This is called "Optimal Anxiety," and it sits just outside our comfort zone.

The idea of optimal anxiety isn't anything new. Anyone who's ever pushed themselves to get to the next level or accomplish something knows that when you really challenge yourself, you can turn up amazing results. However, pushing too hard can actually cause a negative result, too much anxiety and we're too stressed to be productive, and our performance drops off sharply. This then reinforces the idea that challenging yourself is a bad idea. It's our natural tendency to return to an anxiety neutral, comfortable state. So it’s understandable that we can find it so hard to get your head to step out of your comfort zone.

But experiencing a little stress and anxiety now and then is a good thing, too. If all you ever do is strive to stay cocooned in your world, keeping warm and cozy, you may be missing out on a lot.

Here are our tips for stepping out of that comfort zone:

Challenge Yourself

Challenging yourself pushes you to discover your untapped knowledge and inner resources. You have no idea what you’re made of unless and until you venture outside of your own familiar world. You know what they say about tea bags? You never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.

Take Risks

Taking a risk, whatever the outcome, is a growth experiences. You may make mistakes or not get it right the first time, but you’re storing up experiences to tap into for the future. You haven’t really failed if you got something out of the experience.

Building Resilience

Leaving your comfort zone will ultimately help you to deal with change and help you to make changes in a more positive way – this is resilience. Life is all about change and each time you face a change you move to another phase of your life. Inevitably, these changes will change you as a person and you’ll be more resilient.

Get Creative

Creativity is naturally risky, whenever we share creative work, we open ourselves up to criticism and possible rejection, making us feel vulnerable. That said, risking failure can help you to increase your creative game, so to speak. Steven Kotler wrote a piece on Einstein for Forbes and said “Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often”.

The trick it to take small steps, envisage it as taking stepping stones across a stream, and remember, you can always step back in if it gets too scary.

Building resilience


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