For most of the time, we live in a very steady state. We do our things the same way, day after day, and life seems to be peaceful, comfortable and easygoing. However, occasionally we have to do something that we don’t feel too comfortable about. For example, you have to make a presentation for your colleagues at work – even if you hate doing presentations or public speaking. What about meeting a new person, with whom you can only communicate using English language (while you native language is something else)? No matter how bad your English skills are, you have to do it, because you don’t want to give a rude impression of yourself. Stretching your comfort zone is mandatory for your own development’s sake. Here are six reasons why you should love stretching your comfort zone – instead of hating it.
1. You grow – and so does your comfort zone When you stretch your comfort zone, you grow as a person. For instance, two years ago my job description changed and I wasn’t too happy about it. I was resisting the change for some time, until I realized that this was a great place for growth. Now, two years later, I have learned new skills, gained more confidence and I know that I’m ready for the next situation like this in the future. Something that you were once afraid of or felt impossible to do is now part of your skillset. Your comfort zone has grown in the process.
2. You feel more confident I mentioned about this already, but once you get past your limits, you will feel more confident and very good about yourself. If you had to give that presentation to your colleagues, I bet you were quite nervous before the presentation. Your heart was beating like crazy and you were sweating – yet you knew you had to do the presentation. Well, how did you feel after finishing that presentation? I bet you felt good about yourself! You were relieved of course, but at the same time you proved yourself that you can do such a thing if you want to. This good feeling is great capital for the similar events in the future. If you have to make that presentation again, just remember the great feeling you got after finishing your presentation earlier. Focus on the good feeling – instead of worrying how the presentation will go this time.
3. You learn something new The whole process of stretching your comfort zone is very educational. After my job description has changed, I’m now able to do things in more confident manner than before – like speaking on the phone in a foreign language. I know that if I had turned down this new job opportunity, I probably wouldn’t be that good doing it. When you go outside your comfort zone, you will also learn something about yourself – how you act in certain situations. In my scenario, even if I had kept myself very positive and productive person, I had some occasional moments, when I was less optimistic and I wanted to give up. Also, I did procrastinate on certain tasks. However, this was all part of the process – stretching my personal comfort zone. Since I learned how I act in a particular situation, it helps me to prepare for the similar situations in the future.
4. You are doing things that most people are not To be more successful in life or in business, you have to take bull by the horns and do something different than others. In my personal life, running a marathon was something that none of my friends had done. They had talked about it, but I was the first one to do it and felt really good about myself afterwards. When the business is concerned, getting out of your comfort zone is one way of being different than your competitors – you are doing stuff that others are not willing to. For example, if you get a chance to speak in front of an audience and your competitor is not willing to do that (because he/she is afraid to do it), you will be better known for larger audience, thus it may even spark new business opportunities.
5. You move faster to your goals You can take the step-by-step approach of doing something or you can take the “stretch your comfort zone” route. Especially when you take the latter one, you will reach your goals faster. For example, if you own a blog and you want to make it known for bigger audiences (thus gaining more followers), you have to do things that you don’t like doing. This could be starting a YouTube channel and recording new videos on a regular basis. Or, it could be writing a guest posts for other blogs, whose audiences have a bigger reach that yours. Whatever the situation is, if you are willing to step outside your current comfort zone, you will cross your finish line earlier.
6. You get new opportunities You are more likely going to get exposed to new opportunities, if you want to get outside your comfort area. For example, couple of years ago I made a change in my lifestyle and I lost weight. Not only did I feel good about this, but I also got some unexpected publicity – in the form of magazine articles. I know that this wouldn’t have been possible, if I hadn’t first stretched my comfort zone. If you are willing to go outside your zone, there is much bigger change for something good and unexpected to happen. New opportunities start to show up and you thank yourself for stretching your comfort zone.
Timo Kiander is a productivity and time management enthusiast who blogs at http://www.timokiander.com. Visit his blog and grab the free e-book: “101 Tips For Becoming a Productivity Superstar” Don’t Forget To Follow PickTheBrain on Twitter! Related Articles: The 21 Habits of Healthy People The Benefits of Meditation