The comfort zone is the warm and fuzzy place where everything makes sense, and nothing is particularly challenging. But the comfort zone is also the place where nothing life changing happens, so if you’re looking to move forward and make progress, you have to step outside of your comfort zone.
I believe that if you can consistently do this one thing, if you can consistently push your own boundaries and get uncomfortable, you’ll continue to grow and you’ll continue to move forward in life. Every time you break out of your comfort zone, you move one step closer to your goals.
Breaking Down the Different Zones
The Comfort Zone
The comfort zone is defined as “a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.
Let’s break down that definition.
The comfort zone uses a “limited set of behaviors” and it delivers a “steady level of performance”.
Neither of those are a formula for professional and personal growth. Using a limited set of behaviors means that you’re not developing any new skills. When’s the last time you saw someone make it to the top with same old skill set?
And you’ve probably never seen someone make it to the top with a steady level of performance. All the masters, and superstars continually improve. That’s what makes them great. The ones who give steady performances are the average people that don’t get talked about, or even worse, they get forgotten all together.
The Growth Zone
The growth zone is where the magic happens. This is that space just outside of your comfort zone where the goals are attainable, but only if you push yourself past your current limits.
“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
It’s that tension between what you can currently do and what you’re capable of doing that really allows you to achieve amazing things in life.
This is the zone you want to constantly operate in. This is the zone that’s going to take you from where you are right now, and move you one step closer to your life’s most important goals.
The Panic Zone
The panic zone is on the opposite end of the spectrum to the comfort zone. In the comfort zone, you’re “anxiety-neutral”. In the panic zone you’re, well, panicking.
You know you’re in this zone when you feel you’re in way over your head. I’m not talking about a little stretch here, I’m talking about going from pitching at the local park to playing in the major leagues.
You want to push yourself, but not to the point where the stress is preventing you from actually growing. It’s a bit of a balancing act between the panic and growth zones, but if you feel you’ve stepped out a little too far, don’t be ashamed to admit it.
How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
It’s okay to take baby steps here. Get a clear idea of what it is you want to accomplish, and take small steps in that direction. The gradual change makes leaving the comfort zone easier.
Understand That It’s Okay To Fail
The main reason people have such a hard time stepping out of their comfort zone is that they’re afraid. They’re afraid of failing. They’re afraid of stepping out into uncharted territory and landing flat on their face. They’re afraid
Failure is not fatal, and most of time it’s a necessary step on the way to success. I’ve come to embrace failure because I’ve realized that I learn the most when I fail. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not failed a thousand times along the way.
So don’t shy away from failure, it’ll build you up to be a better person.
Look to past experiences for evidence of your ability to succeed in new and unfamiliar situations.
Have confidence in your ability to learn new skills and adapt to changing environments. It’s so much harder to break free from your comfort zone when you’re constantly second guessing yourself and your abilities.
Tony J. Robinson is the founder of DoReallyGood.com, which is the place to go for the information and inspiration necessary to take your life’s most important goals and make them a reality. You can pick up a copy of his free eBook, “8 Killer Resources to Streamline Your Personal Development” here.