It was only recently that I came across a metaphorical tale. It chronicles the father of a poor family with no more of a resource in possession that a cow that milked. The milk was only used to feed, and not for barter nor sale. In a sudden twist of events, this struggling family had unexpectedly reached wealth. When questioned, the man replied, ¨We had a cow, but she died. And when we realized that we had nothing, we had to develop skills neither of us knew we had¨.
The comfort zone is applicable to all aspects of life (including labor, of course) which has always existed be it in innate or a conscious nature…though it was only in recent years that a well-deserved relevance was made to the concept. The comfort zone has many definitions (like in Wikipedia or QueAprendemosHoy), but in summation, we could define it as a mental state of comfort that does not require any complications. Make no mistake, it IS a comfortable bubble…but it does not mean that it is the best place to be, and it is certainly very difficult to get out of it. Sure, what´s beyond our sphere of carved knowledge? The unknown, danger (real or imaginary), failure (possible or not)…i.e. fear. In retrospect, the comfort zone of the family in the story, before the cow dies, is poverty.
Feeling obligatory to accommodate (note, not find comfort in) in the workplace hardly produces positive consequences. Who knows of someone who has occupied the same position for more than ten years and yet still feel unhappy and unaccomplished? Who knows of companies who were doomed to failure because ¨We´ve always done this way¨ and refusing to change, break a cycle or even innovate.
In this post, we will study the 5 ways to step out of your comfort zone and the benefits you can reap from what is sowed.
Mind Over Matter
It may seem obvious, but often we are still deceived. We don´t want to leave the jobs we are tied down with because, perhaps, we may be resigning ourselves off the settlement we have built. Or because maybe, it might be worse off with the next job. If we are entrepreneurs or businesses, maybe we fear in delegating people who know more, and instead we either increase a safe measure of knowledge in our insular sphere or sticking to the safety net ´we have always worked this way´. Taking it to another level, maybe even allow a partner to mistreat us ¨because I deserve it and I won´t find anyone else.¨
The first imperative step to leave our comfort zone is to realize that we are in it (to be with wealth or a parent with a cow)..of which we had created for ourselves and how it thus affect us. These are limitations (physical, emotional…) we are placed in, and no one else can overcome this but our very own initiative. Hence from self-assessment and self-questioning, we will know what we want (or what we don´t want) and fully trust ourselves with the beckoning of any changes.
Make Small Changes
If you are to break away from the comfort, the only way to do so is to do new things. Once we establish a clarity of what has transpired, which is our comfort zone and the want (and/or need) to leave, we have to start acting on it. Afraid? Of course. The fear will always be there, it is what maneuvers the survival of mankind, but it should also not serve to be an excuse. Perhaps it is something new that is not black and white. Maybe a radical change is not the best in every case, but from a place of small changes or new things, greater results can be achieved. In despair of not knowing your tasks? Take the trouble to ask. Hate traveling in the metro amidst body odors, lack of space and claustrophobia every single day? Revert to the bus or ride a bicycle, and more so, exercise. Whatever it may be pertain to do something new.
Seek A New Challenge
The changes in point two is what leads us to create new habits, routing us to proceed to major changes.
Once accustomed to this uncertainty and the kind of fear that spurns from these changes, look no further that an area that involves real change. Has it come to ten years of the same job that only brings you frustration? Change or set out on a self-search (with thought of course). Are you afraid of being alone? Go on a trip with you and only you. Noticing a monotonous routine? Learn a new hobby…be it diving, parachuting or meeting new people.
This step is to bring closure to the second point. Do new things. And, with practice, attempt on new things that scared you initially.
Climb To The Top
We have arrived to doing new things. Before you had a phobia of the sea and now you find yourself in a diving course to lap it up with the fishes. We´re doing well so far…but not enough just yet. It has now come to reach to the top of the novelty, to the summit, to the ultimate maximum of your capacity, over and over again.
Do you get a panic attack when it comes to public speaking? Start by speaking to a small audience of ten people. But, then gradually expand to 50 people, then to 100, and then to an entire audience. Keep doing so until it doesn´t feel like a challenge. What would it be like to not feel afraid anymore when giving a lecture to 500 people?
Restart the Process
Once the chosen activity has completely been taken over, we then incorporate it into our comfort zone. It may even be something bigger than what was previously chartered (or smaller, depending on how you look at it), but it is still the unchartered. Thus we will have to restart the cycle, understand that new comfort zone and accept it. Once we have reached the point to advance from there, we can then find another new activity and take it to the limit.
Have you already incorporated a dive in your life? Parachuting, running a marathon or learning to ski even? A provoked challenge (be it initially by fear, defiance..) begins with practice and taken to the limit until you incorporate into your zone. And then auto-analyze it all and advance to the next challenge.
Who says that even at the ripe ol´ age of 50, it is too late to make change? All you ever need is no more than just a teensy push…
Awaiting Your Comments!