It’s a funny thing about comfort zones. First when you think comfort, you think “good” as in a cozy place like on your favorite sofa wrapped up in a blanket on a cold, snowy night. When you think of comfort, you think of your bed or your Mom’s house or being among good friends and family. These are the feel good kinds of comfort that make us relish in the abundance of our lives.
Then there is the evil twin sister of comfort and that’s the comfort zone. Comfort zones are the areas of your life that keep you from advancing certain goals or overcoming obstacles and taking on challenges. Comfort zones have a way of slipping into your psyche before you ever see them coming. That comfortable sofa and snuggly blanket become a place that you never want to leave because of fear of what might happen if you do. Comfort zones always say “no” to the things that you desire to be present in your life but can only be achieved if you actively pursue them by exiting the zone.
One day it seems you awaken from a long sleep (years even) wondering how you ever fell into this “comfort zone” trap. More importantly if you are ever going embrace life again, you’re wondering how you’ll ever exit out of its grip.
Why Discard Comfort Zones
Comfort zones only present a problem if they keep you in a position of not pursuing your purpose, passions, desires and goals. If your comfort zones don’t prevent the pursuit of the aforementioned, then consider yourself lucky. However if you are on the opposite end of the spectrum, your comfort zones may be standing in the way of you and true happiness in your life. In essence, you sacrifice your happiness for what you perceive to be comfort but in reality, comfort zones are rooted in discomfort.
If this is the case for you, then you should make every effort to discard comfort zones and make your exit out of the zone and enter into a life filled with your purpose, your passions, your desires and your goals. Unlock comfort and throw away the key. But first you have to have a plan.
Enter the Exit Strategy
It might take you a short while to make your exit, but it is absolutely possible to do so with the aid of a little courage and an exit strategy. At the root of all comfort zones is fear and that’s where the journey begins to make your exit. Here are a few steps to help you take the next exit and get out of the comfort zone:
- Admit the fear exist (without this step you cannot go any further).
- Reach back and think about how this fear came to be in the first place (if you can).
- In retrospect, ask yourself does it seem as big of a deal now as it did when it occurred
- Did the origin of fear involve a clear and present danger (I pray that it did not)?
- If it did not present a clear and present danger, reduce the situation to the fact that sometimes things don’t go as planned. Reduce it to an inconvenience or slight embarrassment which everyone encounters from time to time
- Give a good amount of consideration as to the likelihood of a repeat and what are the best measures that you can take to prevent the isolated event from happening again.
I don’t want you to think too long or too hard about the negatives that have kept you in your comfort zones. Shift your attention to the joy that lies on the other side of the zone(s). Make a top 10 list of things that you would do if it were not for being trapped in your comfort zones. Ask yourself “what would I do if I were not afraid?”
Think about how exciting or rewarding it would be if you could exit out of your comfort zones in pursuit of the pleasures and peace that are just a threshold away. Think about stepping over that threshold as if you were stepping out of a blizzard and into the warmth of a sun soaked beach. If you could only manage to take that step over it, visualize the big picture of what your life looks like outside of the zone. Feel the feeling of life outside of the zone.
In order for you to be able to overcome the comfort of the zone, the reward has to be much greater than the comfort. When you visualize, make the vision as real as you can possibly capture it and then ask yourself these questions:
- What would make exiting out of the comfort zone so worthwhile, that you’d risk the comfort for the sake of the reward?
- How rewarding would it be if you could get to this vision of life outside the zone?
- Would the quality of your life be enhanced if you crossed the threshold?
You don’t have to answer “yes” to all three for it to be worth the risk. You only need to answer “yes” to just one. You are so worth the life outside your comfort zone. Say no to the zone and yes to your life by design.