The comfort zone is a phrase first coined in the 90s by author Judith Bardwick. She described it as a risk-averse place of routine, and the enemy of progress. In other words, growth never happens inside the comfort zone.
It’s true we need a certain amount of intensity to stir us to action or change. But not too much, or we cross over into anxiety and fear which paralyze or make us run and hide.
As we know, fear is a necessary precursor to growth. But too much fear can sabotage us.
That’s why it takes emotional intelligence to understand whether the fear we’re experiencing should be overcome or heeded. Is this fear coming up because we’re simply not ready yet?
Public speaking comes to mind because it’s most people’s biggest phobia and one we’re wise to overcome. But attempting to conquer your fear by giving a keynote speech to thousands would be disastrous.
We have to tackle fear a little bit at a time. As we level up we learn from each experience and those lessons help us perform on the next rung of the ladder. For example, working up courage to address an intimate group of 10 makes more sense as a start.
What are the benefits of leaving the comfort zone?
Leaving your comfort zone means challenging what people might think and doing it anyway. Rather than wearing a social mask, you have the courage to be yourself.Leaving your comfort zone means challenging what people might think and doing it anyway. Click To Tweet
You risk rejection from small-minded people, but gain the privilege of personal fulfillment and self-knowledge.
2. Mindset shift
When you get outside your comfort zone, you experience the power of a mindset shift. That can mean a shift from lack to abundance, from believing you can’t to ‘yes, I can’.
You realize the world won’t end if everyone doesn’t accept you. Setting aside what others think is the key to freedom and becomes easier the more you do it.
3. Courage lies outside the comfort zone
Courage becomes a way of life when you start stepping outside your comfort zone. It’s brave to look fear in the face and do things that scare you.
Courage begets courage. The fears you’re capable of overcoming get bigger and bigger as you demolish them. This helps you grow and expand more and more toward reaching your full purpose and potential.Courage begets courage. The fears you're capable of overcoming get bigger and bigger as you demolish them. Click To Tweet
4. Success comes outside the comfort zone
Stepping outside your comfort zone often results in success, whether that’s professional or personal growth. If you look at pillars of accomplishment in our society, none of them played small.
It would seem obvious that achievement and fulfillment depend on getting uncomfortable and taking big risks. That’s why it’s surprising how few people do it. And how many shame those who do.