Each of us has our own individual comfort zone, but the defining characteristics vary greatly from one person to the next. The characteristics of our comfort zone can include physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual traits. Regardless of what our comfort zone may or may not be, the question we need to ask ourselves is, “What are we missing out on by not venturing out of our comfort zone?” Focusing on this question can open our eyes to a world full of new and exciting adventures waiting for us to explore. Bringing us to one more question we must address, that question being, “What are the things keeping us contained to our comfort zone?” Although the list of things holding us back can be endless, let’s examine a few common reasons.
1. Fear Of Failure. Any task that we take on that is new to us, comes with the possibility that we may fail. Since failure is never pleasant, it becomes easy to allow the fear of failure to keep us from stepping out of our comfort zone. Despite this it is a well known fact that many successful people failed numerous times before experiencing success.
Recently, I spoke with a man named Jim who is a self-employed businessman. Jim makes wooden cabinets and other wooden accessories for the home. He told me how much he loves his work and how much he enjoys working from home. Jim hasn’t always worked from home, he quit a 40 hour a week job to go into business. At one point Jim’s mother asked him, why he hadn’t gone into business sooner? Jim told her he was afraid he couldn’t make ends meet financially. Jim’s business is doing well and it appears he has overcome the fear that kept him bound in his comfort zone.
2. Venturing Outside Our Comfort Zone Is Uncomfortable. Doing things we are not used to doing, or doing things differently than we are used to doing them, is bound to be uncomfortable. Fortunately, the uncomfortable feelings usually only last for a short time. One of the basic fundamentals I taught as a basketball coach was proper shooting form. Many of the players who had poor shooting form, complained about the corrections we tried to make to their form. They claimed that this new style of shooting would not work for them. The truth is, it felt uncomfortable and took some time to get used to, but those who continued to shoot with more correct form, eventually made significant improvement. Don’t allow an uncomfortable feeling to prohibit you from living out your dreams.
3. I’m Just Too Busy. Whenever we are trying to avoid something we don’t want to do, the easiest excuse in the world is that we are too busy and don’t have time. We can think of 50 things that need to be done before we could possibly even think of crawling out of our comfort zone. We rationalize by thinking that those who are more successful than us, aren’t nearly as busy as we are, after all we are completely overwhelmed. The truth is we aren’t any more busy than highly successful people. Each of us have the same number of hours in a day. How productive we are in those hours is our own individual choice. I can still remember the words often spoken by my 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Brainard who said, “Utilize your time to the maximum amount of efficiency.”
4. Fear Of Success. For years I wondered why someone would be afraid of success. Success is so much more enjoyable than failure, accomplishment feels better than not accomplishing anything. I asked myself, “Why would anyone fear success?” Eventually, I realized that success often carries new and greater responsibilities. For those struggling with the fear of success, I have a simple message, the gratitude of success far out weighs the extra responsibilities brought on by success.
5. Someone Tells You That You Can’t Succeed. Most of us have probably experienced this at least once in our lifetime. After developing some real excitement about a project, we spend a significant amount of time studying the subject, using our newly discovered knowledge we develop a plan to pursue this project, then we make the fatal mistake of sharing our idea with someone close to us, and they tell us we are crazy! It could be a family member, a close friend, or someone we work with, but regardless of who it is, when they tell us we can’t succeed our zeal is instantly deflated. Despite the certainty of this individual that we will fail, it is likely that the one giving us advice has absolutely no knowledge of this subject, no experience in this field, and they most assuredly didn’t share your passion for this project. If we listen to the advice of such uneducated experts, we are certain to remain in our comfort zone for a long time.
6. Procrastination. Although, procrastination is similar to being too busy, it is not the same thing. A person can procrastinate whether they are busy, or if they have all the time in the world. It is just so easy to put things off until another time. Many good ideas have never come to fruition simply because today doesn’t seem like the right time to take action. Don’t allow procrastination to control your life, get started with things outside of your comfort zone and keep trying until you succeed.
7. Fear Of Rejection. Suffering rejection is never enjoyable. However, certain activities that we attempt in life carry a high risk of some form of rejection. Learning to deal with rejection without forfeiting our positive attitude is a key element in the success formula. Jack Canfield endured 144 rejections before a publisher agreed to publish his first book in the series, “Chicken Soup For The Soul.” This proves that rejection of an idea, product, or service, does not mean that the idea, product, or service is not creditable. Therefore, we must find a way to overcome rejection and continue to pursue our desired victory.
if you are trapped in your comfort zone for any of these reasons, or for other reasons, I urge you to break free. Allow yourself to attempt new things and experience new and exciting times. There is a world of adventure awaiting.