Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Like air conditioning, we all have a favorite place we like to keep the dial set on the thermostat of the comfort zone.  Most of us are so settled into the same way of doing things that when we have even a minor disruption to our routine, it throws our entire day off kilter. Change makes most of us nervous and unsettled and, given the choice, we’d rather hunker down and do nothing than embrace even the most simplistic of adjustment than deal with change. When it comes to life, we’re just fine to keep things the same old way, thank you very much, instead embrace a situation where the outcome came be fantastic, but the steps to achieve it uncertain.

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” –Max DePree

Not long after college and into my first job, I turned down relocation to Omaha, NE with my company for a move to Dallas. My employer was moving its corporate headquarters — and its entire staff — to its new campus in what I thought was the middle of nowhere. In my early twenties, I couldn’t imagine a bleaker outlook for my personal or professional life than the cornfields of Nebraska. One of my suppliers, who were evidently impressed with something I had to offer at the time, offered me a position with a small company they had just acquired in Dallas, TX. Dallas was a long way from home; I knew absolutely no one and the technology this little company offered was definitely a niche solution in my industry.

After some thoughtful consideration, I decided I was ready to take the step to go beyond the comfort of the familiar:  a company I knew, work friends and a reasonable drive to home. I was rewarded with almost 20 years with a great organization, an incredibly successful career path and a worldwide network of friends and colleagues. In hindsight, that was one of the best experiences for me and I’m glad I found the strength to break out of my comfort zone when I did; it opened up my world to a future of opportunity and experiences I could have never imagined.

Breaking out of the comfort zone of life — whether it is at home, in a relationship, or in your career — requires courage and work.  It can be as simple as a little cold, hard self-actualization about what’s holding you back.

Identify your fear.  Knowing your fear is the first step to overcoming it. You have to be honest with yourself about the real reasons something is holding you back from making the change you know you need to make.  Once you indentify your fears, you are one the road to overcoming it!

Do what scares you.  Most of our fears are unfounded and end up being invisible handcuffs in life.  If you have a fear, stare it down and take it to the mat!  Doing what scares you — even in a small way – to allow you to experience the thrill and exhilaration of success and build up the courage to make the changes you want.  Small steps lead to big changes.

Make it a habit.  Those little things can become big things by pushing you each and every day to strive for a little more.  Run ten more steps.  Speak up in the meeting one more time and be heard.  Send one more resume.  Before you know it, you’ll be exactly where you wanted to be!

Most people stay in the same old rut either out of sheer old habit, or worse, because of irrational fears about what they can or cannot achieve. False thinking is akin to condemning yourself to a life in prison. Don’t fell prey to the unfounded fears and lies being peddled inside your head. Face your fears and worries with honesty, accept the truth about what is truly possible and get a fresh outlook on life. When you do, there is a marvelously wonderful and outrageously real life awaiting you!

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