Challenge your limits and get out of your comfort zone; Overcome fears and open yourself up to a transformative journey.
In this content we will talk about the main barrier to your productivity, which is the comfort zone.
What we will see in this article
What is it to be in a comfort zone?
Being in the comfort zone means being for a period of time without fear, anxiety or discomfort.
In other words, your routine in this period is not challenging, new or rewarding.
This makes you feel more unproductive, dissatisfied and unhappy. How is it possible to know that? We will explain in the next topics.
Why is it so difficult to leave the comfort zone?
It is difficult leave the comfort zone because our body was created to run away from danger or energy expenditure for our survival.
In this way, any uncomfortable situation we avoid precisely because of this mechanism within our brain.
With this, you will realize that when you want to change something in your routine your brain tries to create excuses.
Precisely because any change, means expending more energy than normal and possibly feeling uncomfortable.
Is it necessary to get out of the comfort zone?
Yes, it is necessary to get out of the comfort zone, because there is a big problem with this survival mechanism that we talked about.
Everything that is rewarding in life there is effort, naturally effort is uncomfortable and you have to go through it.
Studying for your undergraduate or graduate degree takes effort, and if you don’t want to leave your comfort zone, you give up.
Obviously, you got rid of that initial discomfort, but you are also not going to be happy to have a master’s degree, are you?
This is just one example, but everything in our lives that is truly rewarding requires effort and often risk.
How do you get out of your comfort zone and explore the unknown?
The first step out of the comfort zone is to understand that your brain has this mechanism and it has helped us to survive.
However, today we do not have to live as our ancestors did.
So this mechanism is still important, but it cannot be a barrier to new and better horizons.
What strategies for facing challenges beyond the comfort zone?
The best strategy for facing new challenges is to start small; don’t set the goal of changing the world from the start.
In the famous book by William H. McRaven “Make your bed: Little things that can change your life… And maybe the world.”, the author tells us that we should start with the basics, even with great inspirations.
So if you want to run 1Km, for example, start with 100 meters.
How to overcome fear and expand the protection zone?
The best way to overcome fear is to think of the worst possible scenario. That is what you have just read.
By thinking about the worst-case scenario you will be able to understand the risk of taking that action, whatever it may be.
Since fear is nothing more than the fear of discomfort and the unknown. If you know what the risk of that action is, you know if it is worth it.
For example, when starting a diet, the worst-case scenario is that you will not eat fatty foods.
However, this is not life-threatening, is it? However, the reward is a healthier life.
How to develop a courageous mindset to explore new horizons?
In the previous topic we talked about there being a worst case scenario and a reward, so what you must do is endure the worst case scenario.
So you need to have a lot of motivation to endure this and develop a courageous mindset to stick to the goal.
The best way to develop this mindset is to use fear. Think about the risks of not supporting the challenge you have chosen.
In the diet example, the risk of not supporting it would be to live a sick life, with complications in old age, wouldn’t it?
Think about the risks every time your mind bargains with you to get back to the comfort zone.
What skills are needed to deal with challenges outside the comfort zone?
The skills needed to deal with challenges outside the comfort zone are?
- Resilience to accept feedback and adapt to situations
- Perseverance to keep motivated to continue
- Be judicious with the people you live with the most, because they imply the way you see the world
- Be curious to always seek more knowledge and gain new skills to get out of the comfort zone
How to avoid self-sabotage when looking for new opportunities?
Have realistic and small goals in the beginning, when you achieve these goals you gain more and more confidence.
Auto-sabotage is nothing more than lack of confidence in yourself, to build self-confidence you need to have goals and achieve them.
However, it is not possible to achieve goals that are beyond your theoretical and practical knowledge.
What are the advantages of leaving the comfort zone and growing personally?
The biggest reason to leave the comfort zone and grow personally is to understand that the world is constantly changing.
Your profession has small innovations every year, the job market itself has changing trends every year and so on.
The comfort zone traps all of us in already known information, like a photograph, but the world is a dynamic movie, isn’t it?
So to stay in the comfort zone is to be left behind in all areas. But to grow personally is to keep pace with how the world evolves.
How do you set challenging goals and overcome limits?
The first step in setting challenging goals is to verify that you have the technical and practical knowledge necessary to execute them.
For example, to be promoted you need to have a high level of academic knowledge and the experience required for the promotion position.
You have to understand that there is no point in setting challenging goals if you don’t have the technical and practical knowledge to achieve them, right?
However, when you identify the gaps in your knowledge and experience, these become your actual goals.
Whereas the challenging goal only becomes a long-term goal after achieving these current goals.
Where can you find inspiration to explore beyond your comfort zone?
The best inspiration you can have to get out of your comfort zone is the reference of what you want to achieve.
For example, if you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to have a reference entrepreneur that you are inspired by.
By having this reference, you can use his story as an inspiration for yours. Looking for the knowledge he has, the sources of inspiration from his reference and so on.
Most of these living references we can access through his social networks, and older references we can access through his books, movies and students.
What steps do you take to expand your comfort zone and live new experiences?
You have to understand that the comfort zone is not bad, after all the comfort zone is when your knowledge and experience are comfortable.
For example, you can be a great executive, the best in the market. However, if you overnight went into acting, you might not be one of the best.
In other words, when we talk about leaving the comfort zone, we are only talking about expanding your knowledge and experience, and for this you should follow the steps below:
- Research what is new in your market or knowledge that you want to improve
- Search for the fundamentals of this knowledge to understand the basics, you can find them in youtube videos or articles like this one
- When all the fundamental concepts are clear, gradually deepen your knowledge with denser materials (books, courses, lectures)
How do you turn fear into motivation to explore the unknown?
You can fight fear with fear itself, think about the worst case scenario of not exploring the unknown.
Maybe you become stagnant in your career, maybe you don’t understand new technologies, maybe you don’t take advantage of new opportunities that will arise and so on.
Meanwhile, try to be more rational about fear of the unknown. Think of solutions for every bad scenario you imagine.
What resources do you use to face challenges beyond your comfort zone?
Everything that we have difficulty with today has in some way been done by someone else before. Thus, one of the essential resources to face challenges is knowledge.
Look to old authors for what you want to achieve, but don’t forget the great new authors.
Another interesting resource to use is visualization; try to surround yourself with people who have achieved what you are trying to achieve.
Look at all the fruits that these people have reaped from facing these same challenges, it will surely bring the inspiration needed to keep going.
How do you adapt to unfamiliar situations outside your comfort zone?
If you are facing too many challenges by trying to get out of your comfort zone, you may be speeding up your progression too much.
You have to understand that the big goal is progress, not speed, right?
So try to slow down and strengthen your knowledge and experience. Think with yourself about:
- If you are skipping any steps (both theoretical and practical)
- If it is not necessary to readjust your goal
- If your knowledge sources are really the best possible
By doing this re-evaluation, you will be able to adapt much better to the new challenges you are facing.
What strategies for dealing with uncertainty when leaving the comfort zone?
Every uncertainty can be solved with preparation, that is, by preparing yourself you will understand what you are up against, won’t you?
When we know what our challenges will be when we step out of our comfort zone, we learn to prepare for them.
Naturally, the uncertainty goes away because we neither over-increase the difficulty of our challenges nor underestimate them. For this you need:
- A reference: Anyone you can watch or consume your content with and who is a person who carries a wealth of knowledge about the subject of your interest
- A community: People who want to achieve the same goal that you do and who are willing to share knowledge
- Studies: You need to know where to research the subject you want to evolve as well as the best sources for this subject
- Practice: Practice can be teaching other people in your community or simply practicing the subject you are developing
How do you strengthen your courage and seek new opportunities beyond your comfort zone?
To strengthen your courage, you need to start with small goals and seek more challenges as you evolve.
You can’t start with big goals because that will create dissatisfaction and you need challenges to increase your knowledge more and more.
As you increase your knowledge, your courage and security on the subject increase and naturally new opportunities will arise.
Therefore, you need a step-by-step plan of what you need to do. Obviously, this planning needs to come out of your accumulated knowledge.