Your comfort zone is a place where you feel safe and in control. This refers to a psychological state where you are familiar with your surroundings. This could include; people, your environment or your emotions. However, your comfort zone may be hindering your personal progression and development.
Have you ever heard of the saying "Life starts outside of your comfort zone"?.
The visual below represents how breaking out of your comfort zone can be a step towards achieving things you never thought were possible. The four stages in this diagram include:
1. Comfort Zone
2. Fear Zone
3. Learning Zone
4. Growth Zone
Each zone represents progress towards achieving a new mindset. The majority of people are happy to be in the 'Comfort Zone' where they feel safe and in control of their situation. Whilst in your comfort zone you may be faced with a variety of challenges which have lead you to the 'Fear Zone'. Once faced by the 'Fear Zone', you may have felt a lack of self-confidence and made an excuse to return back to your comfort zone. This is the most common mindset to have and it is within out nature to want to feel comfortable.
However, what you may not realise is that the 'Fear Zone' is a temporary place that is going to lead you to an improved mindset. If you can find the courage and self-belief to stop making excuses and over come the affects of other peoples opinions, you will soon find yourself in the 'Learning Zone'.
The 'Learning Zone' is a place of experience. It is where you are out of your comfort zone but have found a new confidence to deal with challenges and problems head on. Whilst doing this, you will be gaining new skills and experiences that will allow you to expand your comfort zone and begin achieving things you never thought would be possible.
The final stage of this process is the 'Growth Zone'. This is where you are living with freedom and a sense of purpose. Not many people are brave enough to make it to this point. Getting here is uncomfortable and takes a lot of resilience. As a human, we are built to stick to routine and the emotion of fear often directs our actions. However, to ensure personal growth, it is imperative that we begin to make a change.
A key sign that you have made it to the 'Growth Zone' is that you have a new mindset. At this stage you will be thinking differently and beginning to live with freedom. In the 'Growth Zone' the sky really is the limit. You will have the motivation to set new goals and objectives that you are confident you will achieve. Alongside this, you will be attracting more people who are also experiencing the 'Growth Zone'.
It is important that this process is reflected not only in you, but the people around you. If you are surrounded by people who are happy to be in their comfort zones for the rest of their lives, then it will be harder for you to create a positive change. The best thing to do is to experience new environments and experiences. These new places will often help you to meet like-minded individuals who are on the same journey to the 'Growth Zone' as you.
Remember, your success is often influenced by the 5 people who you spend the most time with. Think about whether your friends and family members are hindering your growth and having an impact on your mindset.
The first step to help you break out of your comfort zone is always going to be the hardest. We recommend trying a small activity that you would never normally want to do. If you can't do this, try switching up your normal routine or try saying 'Yes' more often.
Below are a few quotes to inspire you to take the first step!
- "If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you"
- "Old ways won't open new doors"
- "We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are"
- "A comfort zone is a great place, but nothing ever grows there"
- "A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it was built for"
- "If you want something you have never had, then you have to do something you have never done"
Need more inspiration? Watch this TED TALK: 'Get comfortable with being uncomfortable' by Luvvie Ajayi