Growth is outside the Comfort Zone

How to get out of your comfort zone

There’s a centuries-old proverb that says: “No Pain – No Gain

It essentially means that if we don’t involve in new experiences, we don’t gain new standpoints. And this still holds true today.

From the sailors who travelled across oceans to explore new lands to the modern-day start-ups and entrepreneurs who’ve built businesses, life continues to reward those who venture into the unknown. Why? Because they’re the ones who have made a choice to get uncomfortable. They’re the ones who’ve chosen discomfort and have moved with the times, learned new lessons, and experienced the ever-evolving journey, called life.

But then, not everyone makes those choices and that is why we see a lot of mediocrity in the ways the majority of the population on earth lives. Not everyone creates success stories, not everyone becomes extraordinary and not everyone grows!

But why is it so?

Because most of that majority is happy with the status quo, and they enjoy being in the state (of affairs) that they are in. It is because they refuse to get uncomfortable. They are not growing because they refuse to engage in new experiences. Actually, they find themselves being ‘safe’ at the place, where they are. They happily cuddle in their cushion, which in all probability is fulfilling their basic needs.

Those, whose basic needs are also not being met, consider it as their destiny and therefore find themselves incapable of change. But this article is not about this set of people, it is about those, who are stagnant (but have aspirations), those who want to grow but fear the risk of losing what they already have in their comfort zone.

At the onset, I would need your attention to realize that to achieve the goals we need to acquire new skills, habits, knowledge, and experiences. To go from where we are to where we want to be, we must do things we’ve never done before. We must be willing to get uncomfortable because discomfort is the only path to growth. There is no other way. This is what I find very transformational, and for me, that has been the way of life.

The reality says that to truly rise above our former self, and completely change our lives, we have to not only be okay with discomfort, but we also have to fall in love with the journey it bears with it. Discomfort doesn’t happen at a particular moment, it’s the way of living – of continuously and consciously choosing to work through uncomfortable situations.

Simply said, it demands you to make a choice, transform yourself, and live through the process.

What holds us back to take a leap?

The temptation of being in the comfort, snugged in the comfy couch, wrapped in the warmth that pulls us deep to enjoy the moments where we don’t have to take difficult decisions, get involved in tough conversations and we don’t have risks, of losing what we already have.

This is the place we don’t want to move out from; so, we stay there, wherever we are. Is this what is called the space of stagnation? Surely, it is. One is neither in motion nor taking any action. That means, if one is not moving, one is not exploring. And the one who doesn’t explore doesn’t experience new things and therefore, doesn’t evolve.

But you know, why do we like being in our comfort zones? Let me share, what I have learned through my experience of transformation; there are three important reasons – lack of an inspiring goal, fear of failure, and a lack of action.

Lack of Goal: If we have a goal, then we are motivated to get up and take a run toward the achievement of that goal. Therefore, we need to introspect about whether we have the mindset for growth, do we really have a goal that inspires us to take the leap? Because for a goal to matter, it has to stretch you. And for you to stretch with it, you have to first believe that you can achieve that goal.

Check out for yourself if right now, you’re thinking too small to get inspired to leave your comfort zone. And also check if you’re working from a fixed mindset, which doesn’t empower you to get up and arise.

How do we address this? The answer is, by nurturing a Growth mindset. That doesn’t restrict us from learning, doesn’t stop us from exploring and it surely pushes us to challenge our existing and fixed belief system. It makes us say, “I can do it”.

It is a vast subject that has been widely covered in books and articles and would need reams of paper to put it here. You may read the book Mindset, authored by American Psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck, to learn about the subject.

Fear of Failure: Fear of the unknown. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of failure. Fear of judgment. Fear is the second reason why we don’t move out of our comfort zones (even if, we have an inspiring goal)

We’re generally afraid of the unknown that change will bring with it. But haven’t we heard the saying, that change is the only constant in life? Whatever we choose to do, change is inevitable, whether we ask for it or not. Could we ever imagine that pandemic will ever happen in our times? But it did, and it altered our ways of life.

On social media, one message keeps showing up, which means to say, “Failure means gaining experience and learning” and that it is not the end of the road, but a bend in the road. But then why do we have the fear of failing? Possibly because, we overthink about ‘how’ will we do what we intend to do.  We get worried about, “I don’t know how to take that leap.”

I would say that we need to focus on ‘What’ ‘Why’ and “How” will happen. Don’t let the How to kill the process of exploration. Don’t let it discourage you from taking the action.

Lack of Action: Either because of our fixed mindset or because of our fear of failure, we become disempowered to take action. And therefore, for these reasons, we don’t step out and take the action and keep procrastinating the action. We keep ‘enjoying’ our comfort and keep waiting for the ‘right time, which never comes.

How to move out of our comfort zone?

I read it in one of the articles online, and I found it so interesting that I can’t resist sharing it:

“You will most likely not be willing to step out of your comfort zone and into discomfort until you are extremely uncomfortable with the comfort zone itself.”

If you observe the successful entrepreneurs, brands, start-ups, or some of the people in your network, who are exploring new domains, and new ways of being, you will notice how true the above statement is.

One of my friends (and a client in past) Yogesh Mittal, left his comfortable corporate job to begin his journey as an entrepreneur and launched his successful brand Laintimo, an innerwear brand. One of my cousins got so uncomfortable with the hustle and bustle of city routine life, that he has chosen to be a farmer and found his peace in agriculture and cooking.

And when my offline sales workshops were not happening regularly, thanks to my busy consulting career, I chose to convert them into a workbook.

When the comfort zone becomes stifling and uncomfortable, that is when we get up and put the vents on. And that’s when we need to step up and breathe into the new realm that opens up for us. That’s when the new version of you needs to show up.

Remember, it is inside of you. Get up and disrupt the status quo!

From Comfort Zone to the Growth Zone

10 steps for getting into Growth Zone

  1. Introspect Invest time in yourself and introspect to observe your motivation to move out of your comfort zone. Work on your ‘why?’ Write down, what is that you want to be, what is it that you want to contribute, and what will you lose, if you don’t take an action. This will help you identify ‘inspiring goals’ for yourself.
  2. Keep your Goal alive Not only do you need to identify your inspiring goal, but you also need to document it, write it clearly, and put a structure in place thatkeeps reminding you of it on an everyday basis. My goal of being a Possibility of Contribution is my status on all my profiles.
  3. Declare to your peer group Not only do we keep our goal alive for ourselves, but we also need to declare it to the world, our peer group, and our network. By declaring it to them, you are doing two things, one, making yourself accountable and two, making them responsible for the achievement of your goal. For me, this has been very empowering. There have been people in my life who have stood by me and pushed me toward the achievement of my goals. And that is why it is important to keep good company.
  4. Visualize the new you A While you have chosen to move beyond your fears, and you have declared your goal, start visualizing the person that you will become once you achieve your goal. Visualization motivates us and it helps us to take action today based on the possibility of the future.
  5. Choose and confront fear Your inspiring goal, your peer group, and your visualization of the ‘New you’ will help you confront the fear. Believe me, you will start enjoying being uncomfortable because now you know what you are causing. Every new, challenging, uncomfortable step in the journey will give you new experiences. Keep collecting the pebbles on the road to build the castle of your future.
  6. Say positive affirmations every day Very basic but very powerful. Positive affirmations are reminders to yourself that keep your declarations alive. They help you build up confidence and a growth mindset. They remind you that you can do it and that you have the power to achieve what you set out for. Check the box for the positive affirmations that I make every day.
  7. Build up your growth mindset. Start believing that you can do it. The idea of making it happen should not trouble you. Once you take one small action in the direction of your goal, all the “unknowns” will start to reveal themselves to you. Train yourself to value growth over comfort, learning over familiarity, and failure and effort over never trying.
  8. One step at a time Create small milestones, don’t jump too fast. Keep the process of experiencing progress, picking up learning, and then taking the next step. It will be transitional and every achievement in the process will give you confidence, which you may consume for adding energy to the next step.
  9. Get yourself a Mentor Creating a structure of learning and taking advice from the experience of mentors can create a conducive environment for transformation. At times a little hand-holding opens up new perspectives
  10. Don’t take yourself too seriously. During the process of moving from your comfort zone to your growth zone, you are bound to make mistakes. Laughing at our own mistakes and failures saves us from judgment from others. Don’t forget, every mistake that you make is a new experience and new learning. 

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.

Be Unstoppable!

My Positive Affirmations

  1. I am confident & powerful.
  2. I am getting better and better by learning every day.
  3. All I need is within me right now.
  4. I am a living, breathing example of motivation.
  5. I am inspiring people through my work.
  6. I can be whatever I want to be.
  7. I am not defined by past; I am driven by my future.
  8. Today will be a productive day.
  9. I’ve made it through hard times before, and I’ve come out stronger and better because of them. I’m going to make it through this.
  10. I finish what matters and let go of what does not.
  11. My life has meaning. What I do has meaning. My actions are meaningful and inspiring.
  12. Happiness is a choice, and today I choose to be happy.

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