I saw this quote flying around Twitter yesterday and it got me thinking – what does life feel like once you leave your comfort zone, and how can you get comfortable in that space?

I’m in my comfort zone, so what?

Maybe you’ve finished work for the day or you’ve finished all your chores this evening.

You’ve got a glass of wine or a cuppa on the go, your favourite programme’s on the TV and you sit back on the sofa…take a deep breath…and relax, content that the world is at peace. It’s a fairly nice place isn’t it?

Then you remember you’ve been meaning to hang that curtain pole, fix that loose cupboard door or start searching for a new job because you leave the office every day thinking “I don’t want to be here”, and your relaxed state somehow becomes slightly tainted.

As I talked about in my last post Procrastination…Procaffination…Proactivation it’s our nature as adults to do things we enjoy doing and stay in our comfort zone, putting off the things we don’t like doing or don’t want to do but know we have to do.

So what’s going to push you out of your comfort zone?

How much do I want that end goal?

One of the biggest drivers is the emotional value you place on achieving the end goal.

When this emotional value is high enough you go that extra mile, you make sacrifices and compromises, you drive really hard towards achieving what you want to achieve. In short you push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

But the path towards that goal is not always a road of positives. There are times where things don’t go to plan, you end up down cul-de-sacs, you feel unfulfilled. Some things along that road are in your control, others aren’t.

Either way, that road is a path of ups and downs, lefts and rights and some dead ends. However if you want to get to your destination – your end goal – you keep on striving to find a way to get there, some way some how.

So how can you ensure you get comfortable being uncomfortable as the US Navy say?

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

For a start you know that there will be uncomfortable moments beyond your comfort zone. Accept that fact. Knowing what lies ahead always helps you feel more comfortable about any situation.

Next instead of seeing what’s ahead as a path of positive and negative experiences, see them as experiences which you can learn from. To help with this ask yourself these 3 questions each time you feel you’re stepping out of your comfort zone:

  • What did I learn about myself?
  • What did I learn about my environment and how it reacted to the actions I took?
  • How am I going to implement what I learn to help me hit my end goal?

Life is a road of continual learning and only by stretching ourselves can we learn more about ourselves and what we are capable of. Reflecting on your learning experience will help you be better prepared for the next step on that road, and your answers to these 3 questions will help you do that.

Finally, share what you’re doing with someone you trust. Could be your partner, your best friend, your coach. Whoever it is, sharing your story as you walk that path will help you feel like there’s an outlet for you to discuss your experience, which is always a positive and motivating thing when it comes from someone who cares about your success.

Graham

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