Doing things that we’re not used to doing or making us feel slightly out of our comfort zone is difficult, but it can make us grow as people and feel stronger in the long run.
Empowering yourself to step out and break out of the comfort zone can help you gain self-esteem that you didn’t think was possible for you to have.
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What Is A Comfort Zone?
The term “comfort zone” dates back to 1908 and was coined by psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson. They used it to explain the state of steady performance as individuals in relation to a state of relative comfort. That’s your comfort zone in a nutshell.
According to Yerkes and Dodson, in order to break out of that comfort zone and make yourself more productive, you have to achieve a state of “optimal anxiety.” Does that make you feel anxious already? It should.
If you want to break out of your comfort zone and start unlocking those next levels of yourself you never thought were possible, you have to experience some amount of anxiety. It’s been scientifically proven.
Comfort Holds You Back
In order to break out of your comfort level, you have to be somewhat uncomfortable. That’s the thing.
However, if you’re able to break the comfort barrier, you can expect greater things from yourself. For example, you can increase your productivity.
Pushing yourself to do things faster and with people you don’t normally do them with forces you to come up with creative ways to get the job done. It can even unlock fresh ideas and send you in brilliant new directions.
Identify What Scares You And Why It Does
You don’t have to run away or shut down the feelings you’re having that are holding you back. Explore those emotions and lean into them.
Identifying why you have those fears and being open with yourself about them is productive.
Simply telling yourself that your fears are irrational doesn’t go far enough to help you achieve the long-term results you’re looking for. If you don’t identify those fears and figure out where they might be stemming from, chances are the fear will reappear when you least expect it.
Realistic Thinking Makes A Difference
You don’t want to hold yourself back by dreaming small because the whole point of breaking out of your comfort zone is to get to that next level. However, starting with some positive affirmations and realistic thinking should be a part of the plan.
Especially if you’re really down in the dumps in terms of self-esteem, it’s absolutely fine to walk before you run.
As long as you’re moving, you can move at your own pace. Just don’t get yourself stuck back in that comfort zone!
Self-confidence exercises are a great place to get started and get your anxiety to the optimal point instead of unmanageable levels. If you’re stuck at those unmanageable levels, you won’t break out of your comfort zone.
Baby Steps Or Bold Moves?
How fast and hard should you run out of your comfort zone? That depends on the individual. Everyone has their own pace and their own fears that they feel are holding them back.
Breaking out of your comfort zone does not mean that you have to dive into the deep end of the pool all at once. In fact, starting out slowly can be best for long term results that stick.
Dip your toe in the water. For you, getting started on breaking out of your comfort zone may be the scariest part. That wet toe may be a big victory for you!
Productive Discomfort Makes You Stronger
There’s good news for people who don’t break out of their comfort zone very often but want to start doing it more often. Once you break out of your comfort zone, it becomes easier to continue to break out of your comfort zone.
You will start to recognize your “productive discomfort” which can be an incredibly powerful force if you harness it correctly. That feeling that once felt totally uncomfortable for you to feel can start to feel like a driving force, steering you to greatness.
Identify A Support System
You don’t have to leave your comfort zone on your own — ask others to help!
Your spouse, for example, may just be waiting for you to ask them to be your biggest cheerleader. Unconditional love is not overrated and it can be a tremendous asset to have when improving your self-esteem.
In addition, you may want to recruit others. This may be a therapist, a best friend, or a coworker. Having people to talk to about your fears and how you plan to overcome them to achieve greatness is important.
You may be surprised to find out that many people have the same fears that you do and the same barriers to breaking out of their comfort zone as you do. First, you have to open up about those fears that you’ve identified.
Having people along with you on your journey to motivate you, hold you accountable, and having someone at hand to listen can be invaluable.
If you share your journey out of your comfort zone with others, you’ll be able to share the victories with them as well. Newly gained self-esteem is something that shines and people will want to celebrate with you.
Make a Plan
Set small and large goals for yourself and give yourself credit each time you achieve them. By looking at the bigger picture in terms of breaking out of your comfort zone, you can make more progress than you realize you’re making.
You don’t have to “wait to feel confident” by achieving all your goals before taking a moment to pat yourself on the back. Let people know how great you’re feeling. You may inspire someone else in the process.
Taking a step back and realizing how far you’ve come is huge when it comes to successfully breaking out of your comfort zone. Especially if you’re not exactly where you’d like to be yet, you can boost your self-esteem by acknowledging how far you’ve come!
When was the last time you broke out of your comfort zone? Share your success story in the comment section below.