Monday, August 18, 2014

Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone

But I'm comfortable
The Comfort Zone ~ a safe place where we have fun, feel confident and safe, and can pretend we’re really accomplishing our dreams. The truth of the matter is that dreams are accomplished outside of our comfort zone, where we are nervous about taking the risk and exposing ourselves–and our fears– to the world. We don’t always feel confident. Most of the time we’re too nervous to know we’re having fun and we leave the world of pretend for the reality of do or die. The time for talking is over. It’s now time to muster up the guts and jump. However, you don’t need to drop blindly into those deep waters.

During your stay in the comfort zone, you should use that security to build the skills and strengths you’re going to need to finally break past those barriers. The more knowledge you acquire and abilities you develop, the more confident you will feel stepping out. You won’t know everything, because there is quite a bit we learn as we move forward. That’s growth. However, we can gain a solid foundation upon which to build. This way, you may wobble, but you won’t fall down; you won’t be overwhelmed. That is one of the main feelings that keeps us in our comfort zones, the feeling of being overwhelmed as we try something new.

I was safe and secure writing stories for my filing cabinet. I didn’t risk anything. However, by practicing I grew as a writer, so that by the time I did publish my stories, was willing to risk public criticism, I felt a little better about exposing myself. I didn’t have it all down pat. I still don’t and I still get nervous as hell with each piece I produce. Yet, I do have a stronger foundation, which is allowing me to risk more, to write about things that takes me out of my comfort zone and into new genres.

It’s the same with anything. Once you make the decision to push yourself out of your comfort zone, making the decision that it’s not really safe to stay there, but rather stagnant, you will gain the courage to reach for other goals. You’ll no longer be comfortable playing it safe. You’ll desire more, to achieve more, to reach greater heights, to see your dreams become a true reality.

In order to do this, you have to be your biggest motivator, your biggest cheerleader. What’s in it for you if you step out of your comfort zone? To see your name on book jacket? To go for that job promotion? Maybe it’s to start your own business or change careers. Perhaps it’s to go back to school so you can do all of those things. Figure out what your benefit is–more money, security, a warm, fuzzy feeling–and keep those motivators before you as you develop whatever it is you need to step out and go for it. Then, make a plan to have something solid to look at over and over. Make sure you write it down. Don’t worry if it changes. Most good plans do. However, it offers you a starting point, a path to walk until another path comes along.

It’s worth it to step out of your comfort zone. With a working knowledge of what you want and a written plan to guide you, you can motivate yourself into the deeper waters of the unknown. The waves will be rougher, but don’t worry, the ride is well worth it.

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