Take a moment to think about the safe place you go to feel emotionally secure about your work; the place where all your decisions are always right; and where life is always the same. That place where everything is okay, where work is predictable day in and day out with a steady paycheck, that place where you feel safe, warm and secure.
You know, we all started out in a place that was safe, warm and secure. Then life began, and we had to leave the comfort and security we called home for nine months and face a strange unfamiliar bright new world. Our first breath was painful but, without that painful moment how different would our life be.
As we grew from being an infant to a young child each of our accomplishments involved leaving a place of comfort. From that safe familiar place in our mother’s arms into the unknown exciting place of possibilities. The first time we crawled, our first step, our first bite of solid food, our first day of kindergarten all required leaving comfort behind and taking a risk. Each time we ventured out of our mother’s arms we gained a little bit more independence, became a little bit more unique and continued to build on our character.
As we grew from being a young child into an adolescent then into a young adult we still needed to step out of our comfort zone and into unknown new experiences. But, as we grew older and wiser we began to realize that there is risk and discomfort in the unknown. At some point in each of our lives, we began to hold back and resist taking risks. It became easier to remain the same rather than stepping out into the unknown risking our comfort. It became easier to stay in the dead-end job or bad relationship just because it was familiar, it was secure and besides the thought of change seemed so daunting. After all, why break a routine if it’s comfortable.
Fear is not comfortable. Fear is natural; it can warn you; it can enable you, and it can stop you dead in your tracks. Jack Canfield said “Everything you want is on the other side of fear…” but many have difficulty setting aside their comfortable to challenge their fear. They have too much going on in their head. They have voices telling them “don’t you do it,” “don’t you dare change the routine,” “stay where it’s nice and comfortable,” “you’re doing okay no need to rock the boat.” The voices stop them dead in their tracks way before they ever get close to stepping past their imaginary boundaries in their head. Having a comfort zone is not bad but, it will eventually keep us from learning, it will hold us back from experiencing new things, and overtime it will keep us from experiencing a full and exciting life. In the end it will provide us with a boring fearful life.
When we took our first baby steps we didn’t know the risk. We kept trying to take that first step until we finally did. The risk was high yet what a transformation in our lives once we mastered those first steps. Those first steps opened limitless possibilities in our lives. The falls and stumbles were soon forgotten. It’s easy to look back at life accomplishments to see they were the result of facing our fears, accepting risks and stepping past the imaginary comfort boundaries we have built in our head.
I remember when I got on stage for the first time to tell my story. It was the first time my wife heard me speak. It was the first time she had heard my whole story. IT WAS HARD! It was uncomfortable. That day I learned that we can achieve anything we set our minds to if we are willing to step out of our comfort zone and face our fears.
Whatever goals we set for ourselves, at some point we will have to make a choice that will be uncomfortable, that will require facing our fears and stepping outside our comfort zone. The good news is we have already been doing this our entire life. From the time we took our first breath, to our first steps to our first day in kindergarten to who we have become today, we have been doing this.
Maybe it’s time to be a kid again. Maybe it’s time to stretch the limits just like a child does taking his first steps. Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens; it’s where we grow; it’s where we learn and it’s where we expand our horizons beyond imagination. Maybe it’s time to step outside your comfort zone and experience magic once again.
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