18 January 2013

Ways to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone (Part 1)

To step outside your comfort zone you must be willing to experiment with new and different behaviors, and then be ready to experience the new and different responses that occur as a result.

It is easier said than done and for those of you who are still unconvinced about the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zones I conducted a small study among my readers and friends here on the blog,  on Facebook and on Google Plus. I asked people to share the steps out of their comfort zones and the way they have changed their lives.

Today I am sharing with you the first part of what became an inspiring list of ideas that will surely inspire you and prove to you that while it is comfy in your comfort zone, the real life starts outside of it. As I said on Tuesday with that major step you get the bonus of:

  • the increased heartbeat of excitement, 
  • the discovery of unsuspected (positive or negative) feelings and abilities, 
  • and most importantly, the growing out of your old shoes, getting better, out-jumping yourself, developing!
Keep on learning
Lynette shares a truth which we find hard to admit: As we get older we become less inclined to learn new skills and experiment. Knowing this she tried to keep on learning. One year she took a class in pottery, another year screenplay writing, then crochet. Learning new things keeps us sharp and creative.

For me, learning happens naturally. I often find myself in the middle of a new learning period without realizing but that doesn't take the comfort zone moment away. I think the secret to not being scared to step out if it is to keep your interest in life. For example, at the age of 33 I learned knitting with the help of the Internet. Long live all the people who share their knowledge on the Internet for free! I must admit this was one of my greatest leaps in the direction of slow living.

Today I can do perfectly well what seemed impossible to accomplish. And I love it! I admired people who could knit but I never had the courage to try having been afraid to fail.

Do things that scare you
Christina admits that a few months ago she and her partner realized need a change in their life. The bought 2 pistols and started going to the range every other weekend. She met her fear, but along met interesting people as well.

Stepping out of her comfort zone is the approach that Porsha is taking with her weight loss journey. She is juicing fruits and veggies every morning, and to her surprise, she actually likes it! She admits that she doesn't like going to the gym but she purchased some workout equipment to workout at home and to keep herself accountable she blogs and tweets about her weight loss journey - a very scary thought to a private person like her. But I figured that this will help me stay on it and I could possibly help at least one other person at the same time.

Fight for a cause
Danielle made a decision to help get smoking banned on her local beach. She started doing beach clean ups and documenting the amount of cigarette litter she found. Her original plan was to hand over what she was doing to someone else, let someone else push to make it happen because she feels uncomfortable with public speaking.

What happened instead was that she won the Brita FilterForGood Film Project which in turn, put her in the front and center. She became the "face" for the movement. Speaking at town meetings, doing interviews, public hearings was her life for 2 years. She completely stepped out of her comfort zone and as she admits it was completely uncomfortable until one day it wasn't. Because Danielle didn't fight the path that she was (so apparently) supposed to take. She was part of something big. Her local beach is now the first smoke-free beach in NC.

Free yourself from the expectations of society
After following all of the "expected" steps that a "successful" person should take with her life: pursuing a practical university degree versus a career in performing arts, getting a Master's degree in teaching, creating a solid career, buying a home, marrying, having a child, trying to be a working mom, and ending up as a stay at home mother, Gretchen was truly unhappy with life. (Ditto goes for her husband, who had done all the successful "man" things, like continuing his education, climbing in his career, planning appropriately for retirement, being fiscally responsible, providing for his family, etc.) When an opportunity arose to completely change their situation, they took it. They moved from the East Coast to the Southwest, an area they had never visited, in just over a month after deciding to make the change.

The family left with no jobs lined up, only a vacation rental property to stay in for 3 weeks, and spent a lot of that money they had been saving by being "responsible" to get out of the situation. Gretchen admits being an introvert, and moving to a new city literally forced her OUT which resulted in making a lot of new friends, in fact way more than in her previous life. They no longer have the safety net of family nearby, so they are forced to make decisions based on their gut and a splash of luck. I wholeheartedly recommend you to read Who Am I to be Brilliant by Gretchen for an additional source of motivation today.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Ways to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone to get even more motivational ideas on getting out of your comfort zone.