The Comfort Zone. The place regularly referred to by people in all walks and different stages of life.
The place where we feel comfortable and safe and sure. So if comfort is what we seek, why do we often want to scramble out of our comfort zone? The answer for me is for fulfillment.
Are we, in our comfort zone challenging ourselves and experiencing new things even if we are frightened? Do we feel adrenaline pumping through our body as we overcome a huge milestone? No we don’t. That only happens once we step out. And to step out takes courage.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines courage as..
“The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”
I hadn’t previously associated courage with bravery in my own circumstance. I’d left bravery with my 4 year old son for when he falls over or when he says goodbye to me at the classroom door. But of course, to step outside of our comfort zone does take bravery. This can be incredibly challenging to do when we let our fears get in the way. Fear of getting it wrong, fear of not being good enough, fear of failure perhaps.
When I first made the decision to start my Social Media Coaching and Consultancy business I actually felt sick. Not something you would necessarily associate with the excitement of starting a new business. I knew I wanted to help people, I knew I had knowledge and expertise but I had been stuck for far too long in a system or employment and seriously doubted if I had it in me to go it alone.
Everything from valuing my worth in terms of hours I worked to second guessing each idea I had was completely ingrained in me.
I worried a lot, I procrastinated for months and pretty much danced around the idea of starting my own business without actually starting it. Yes I was busy but when I look back I’m not entirely sure what I was busy with.
I can remember watching a training webinar on how to get started with a consultancy business one evening. I was in desperate need of inspiration on how to get started. The trainer was talking about self worth and self belief.
He said that his success only started when he found his self belief. He said that so many people don’t ever get started with their own business because they will never believe they are good enough.
I broke down in tears. It was like he was talking directly to me. My husband hugged me (he’s good like that) and I made the commitment to myself that evening to make just one small step.
That small step for me was to right down all the things I knew I could do. I had everything on that list from cheering up a crying child to being a good listener. From making the best thai noodle soup to generating business leads using LinkedIn.
What I realised through writing this list was that everything on there I had learnt and refind. I hadn’t just woken up one day being a good cook or having an army of leads on LinkedIn. I had gradually learnt, improved and refind my craft.
I knew then why I was so stuck. Because the next part of my learning journey was scary. I was going to have to talk to people on the phone and ‘pitch’ my services. I was going to have to go into an office and train a team of people. I was going to put my work out there for people to see, to read, to watch and possibly criticise. This is what stops so many of us from stepping outside of our comfort zone.
The fear of being judged, not being good enough and failing. But as Brene Brown so eloquently put it..
“You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”
So with this in mind here are 5 suggestions to help you choose courage over comfort. They helped me, I hope they will help you..
Ask yourself the question “How will I feel when …” Really take the time to consider how you will feel when you have accomplished that step no matter how big or small.
How will you feel once you have picked up the phone and spoken to that potential client? How will you feel once you have done your first live social media video or delivered that presentation?
The chances are you will be buzzing, proud, relieved and ultimately better prepared to do it the next time.
If you don’t ever do it, how will you feel then? It’s probable that by not doing it, you will actually feel worse than if you did do it and it didn’t go to plan.
Write a list or tell yourself all the things you know you are good at and have confidence with. The intention here is to give you a boost of confidence and give you the courage to take your next steps even if they are a little scary.
Break things down into smaller steps. So many of us don’t succeed with our goals because they were just too big and overwhelming to begin with. By breaking the steps down we are more likely to succeed and find that courage we need to step out of our comfort zone.
Remember that being vulnerable is OK. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. We all feel it, many of us try to hide it. Please don’t. Own it, and acknowledge it.
- 5Work with a coach or someone/ a group of people who will encourage you and hold you accountable.
Remember, we are more likely to regret what we haven’t done rather than what we have done. With this in mind I encourage you to dip a toe into the water, even if it’s just your little toe :-).