Stepping out of your comfort zone.
Taking a chance.
Entering your growth zone.
While these concepts sound exciting on the surface,
When it comes time to actually do the thing, it can feel pretty…scary.
We start second-guessing our choices.
We doubt our abilities.
And we worry about what others will think.
But we also know the path to reaching our biggest goals takes us directly through this discomfort.
The river of misery, if you will.
As the saying goes, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
So if you want to start living, it’s time to get uncomfortable, my friend.
This week on the podcast, we’re exploring 3 powerful ways to help you step outside of your comfort zone and into the growth zone.
Give it a listen, and start taking your life to the next level.
Check out episode 54 below, or stream it from your favorite podcasting app:
Prefer to read? Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE!
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL DISCOVER…
- Why we struggle to step out of our comfort zone
- 3 Powerful comfort zone examples
- Proven strategies to help you move forward and get comfortable with being uncomfortable
LINKS FROM THE PODCAST
- Sign up for your free strategy session with me here
- Check out the Mastering Your Motivation training here
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3 Easy Ways to Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone & Enter Your Growth Zone (Transcript)
Hey everybody. Welcome to the podcast. What’s going on with you today? I am super excited to dive into today’s topic, which is all about getting uncomfortable and stepping into your areas of growth.
It’s all about strategies to continue moving forward even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when you’re afraid. And even when you’re discouraged.
I was inspired to do this episode based on three different conversations I’ve had this past week. One with a friend of mine, one with my husband, Ryan, and one with a client.
Each one of these individuals really opened my eyes to the beauty of “doing it scared” and embracing the discomfort of things being hard but following through on what they want to do anyway.
Today I’m really excited to share with you what I learned from each of them and how we can take these lessons and put them into practice in our own areas for growth. We can learn how to let things be hard and still show up ready to do the work so that we can continue taking our lives to the next level.
So if you are a person who sometimes finds yourself in analysis paralysis because you’re not sure whether you want to step into something new or scary. Or if you are someone who is debating moving forward on a plan or a goal because of what others might think. Or if you find yourself getting discouraged because things aren’t going according to plan all the time, then this episode is absolutely for you.
Your Comfort Zone And Evolution
Now before we talk about these three different interactions in lessons that I learned, I want to talk more broadly about this concept of growth and doing things even when you’re scared and letting things be hard. This is a theme that you’re going to hear throughout all three of these stories, and I first want to explore why doing something new so uncomfortable.
Because the reality is this: when you do something that’s unfamiliar or uncomfortable, your brain is going to freak out a bit. It feels uncertain. It doesn’t know what is getting into. And your brain has evolved over thousands of years to keep you safe.
Our lizard brain – that part of your brain that’s been with us the longest, is designed to constantly lookout for danger. It wants to seek pleasure and avoid pain. And when you consider doing something that is different, or new, or that stands out from the “norm,” your brain will try and pull back to keep you protected. It wants to preserve energy, avoid the hard stuff, and do as little as possible.
Now, this was necessary way back when we were living in caves. Food was scarce, and stepping outside of the cave often meant potential death due to the danger of the elements and predators in the world. Similarly, being cast out from a group of people also meant potential death, because we relied on our group for survival.
These Fears Still Exist
These same fears remain with us even today, but the difference is that we don’t actually need to be so afraid all of the time. Because now our lizard brain freaks out if we want to go live on Facebook, or pitch a new client at work, or make a presentation to our boss. We know objectively that these things are not going to kill us or get us cast out from the group to perish in the elements. But the anxiety and fear and panic are real. And they do feel uncomfortable. So when we feel them, we think something’s gone wrong.
Negative Emotion Doesn’t Mean Something Has Gone Wrong
And I wanted to talk about this objectively in the big picture sense first, because so often when we feel negative emotion, we think it means that something has gone wrong. We think it means that we need to turn back and go to the cave. But most of the time this isn’t true. Most of the time, this is just your lizard brain in overdrive. It just is a little bit confused thinking that that promotion you’re applying for might mean danger.
So as we go through these examples, I invite you to think about where you have had similar situations in your life. When was your brain telling you to play it safe, to hold back, to go back to what was familiar? And when we talk about the strategies to move forward, I encourage you to think about how you can use them any of your situations so that negative emotion isn’t a reason that’s holding back from your dreams.
Comfort Zone And Big Goals
So the first story I want to share with you that I found so inspiring was from a friend of mine. I was on a Zoom call with a group of three or four friends last week, and this particular person is working toward a huge goal this year. In fact, she is working toward her impossible goal, which is something that we talked about back in episode 21. And her goal is incredible.
Now first of all – I have to say how incredibly inspired I am simply by her dedication and determination to see it through. She is constantly going all-in. She is taking massive action. She’s taking risks and putting herself out there. And she’s doing every single thing she possibly can in order to make this goal a reality.
With that being said, when you are taking risks and dedicated to massive action — which is simply the idea of going all-in no matter what until you reach your end goal — this also means that you’re opening yourself up to potential setbacks. You’re open to obstacles and the dreaded negative emotion.
My friend had just taken another big step forward in her goal, but she didn’t get the results you wanted. And what’s more, she had already tried it once already. So she had done a bunch of work. She put herself out there, and didn’t get the results you wanted. And then she did even more work, put herself out there again, and didn’t get quite the result she wanted again.
Now I know I’ve been there. And I’m guessing you have been, too. And of course, it doesn’t feel good. But the way that she handled the negative emotion was both remarkable and inspiring.
As she talked with us about her experience, and she shared the smorgasbord of negative emotions she was feeling, it was clear she was working through a lot. She was feeling disappointed, sad, discouraged, she was doubting her abilities. She was questioning whether she was even on the right path and whether she should keep going.
And while I have no doubt in my mind that she is going to make the goal happen, she did seem a little bit shaken.
This Is Normal
I want to pause right here and point out that when you go all-in on something. And when you put your heart into it but it doesn’t go as planned. It’s totally normal to feel discouraged. It’s totally normal to feel frustrated or doubt or sadness or whatever emotions that are coming up for you.
And I think there’s so much power in allowing yourself to experience and process those emotions – even when you know they are caused by your own thoughts. Because when you can process your emotions and allow them to run their course right your body, rather than resisting them, you can release them as well. And you can move forward without dragging them along with you.
So again, my friend was really feeling discouraged and frustrated, and someone else on the call asked her why she doesn’t just consider something else? Why doesn’t she take a different path or shift her focus a little bit? No one is forcing her to continue moving in this direction.
And her response literally gave me chills.
This Is My Impossible Goal
She paused for a moment and consider the question, and then she said simply, I’m not going to quit because this is my impossible goal. This is what I set out to do. This is the challenge that I created for myself, and I’m going to follow through on it no matter what. And then once I reach the goal, then I’ll decide if I want to stick with it or try something different. But this is my goal. This is what I decided I would do, and I’m not going to give up on that.”
And her response was so certain. It was so resolute. It was so inspiring.
She is such an incredible example of determination and resilience. This was such a powerful reminder of not only sticking with things when they don’t go as planned but also keeping the commitments you make to yourself even when it’s hard. Even when you don’t want to. Even when you are questioning whether you have what it takes.
And it’s such a powerful example of working through negative emotion, allowing it to be there, and moving forward anyway. Just because things don’t go right doesn’t mean you need to turn back to the cave. It just means you need to pick yourself back up, perhaps try a new tactic, perhaps learn some new information, and keep moving forward. Because each time you do you learn.
Remember Your Why
And another important lesson that my friend reinforced was the importance of remembering your why. And I talked about this a bit on other podcasts, but there is so much value in remembering WHY you’re deciding to put yourself out there, do the hard thing, and grow. Why is it that you are going after that impossible goal? And why are you stepping into an unfamiliar situation?
In fact, whenever I am working with a client on a goal, one of the questions I like to ask is: “Why will you work toward this goal or follow through on the steps no matter what? Why will you stick with this even when it’s hard? Even when it’s frustrating. Even when you’re scared. And even when you’re doubting your ability to move forward?
Because as we know, it’s so easy to feel afraid or discouraged and back away from the hard stuff. But when you can dig deep and tap into your bigger reason why your goal is so important, it helps you stick with it even when things are hard.
And my friend had this “why” so deeply instilled in her that she is absolutely willing to continue stepping into the discomfort and allowing it to be hard until she makes it happen. It’s worth it. And that’s so beautiful.
You Get To Choose Your Hard
So if you find yourself feeling frustrated or discouraged or you’re doubting your abilities as you work toward a goal of yours, spend some time thinking about why it’s so important to you. Think about why you are willing to stick it out. Think about the negative emotion you’ll feel if you decide to quit.
Because that’s the flip side, right? You can either choose the discomfort of growth and expansion, or you can choose the discomfort of staying stuck when you know you have that bigger dream waiting for you.
Comfort Zones and Vulnerability
The next story I want to share with you has to do with my husband, Ryan.
This past week he spent some time writing a post to share on his personal Facebook page. It was a pretty vulnerable post, which talked about some obstacles that he had to overcome this past year. And it also discussed the beautiful growth and opportunity that came out of it.
It is an incredibly moving post, but as I said, it was very outside of Ryan’s comfort zone. Especially since most of his posts have to do with updates of sports scores and memes about 90’s pop-rock bands. Love ya, Ryan.
He thought about the post for several days, and he finally decided to share it with his friends on Facebook. He wanted to offer these words of inspiration for anybody who might be feeling stuck or frustrated or discouraged. And he definitely succeeded in that goal. He had a huge response from his friends with tons of hearts and likes and comments on the post, which is great. And in fact, he had someone asked him if he’d be willing to make the post public so that she could share the message.
Sharing A Message
Now keep in mind, Ryan was already a little bit nervous to share this post. And now someone wanted to share it publicly. And he froze up. His lizard brain came out, and told him no! Go back in the cave. What if people judge you? What if you get a negative comment or bad feedback? No no no, stay safe.
So initially, he decided not to make it public. He sent the woman a personal message, and he let her know that he appreciated her message, but wasn’t quite ready to make it a public post.
But at the same time, he didn’t feel very good about that either. That was also a little bit uncomfortable. And so we talked through this back and forth that was going on in his brain.
Liking Your Reasons
I used one of my favorite strategies that I want to offer you here in case you’re ever trying to make a decision about whether or not to do something. And it’s simply asking yourself the question, “do I like my reasons for doing this thing?
So in Ryan’s case, we first explored his reasons for why he would share the post. What would be his reasons for making the post public? And he shared that it would be a source of inspiration for more people. He’d be able to connect with others. And it was a message of hope and possibility that he believed was important to share right now.
Then we explored his reasons for why he would not share the post. He was worried about what others might think. He was concerned about unkind comments. And he was worried that he might regret sharing it.
After he explored his reasons for both making a post public and keeping it private for his friends, he had a much easier time making a decision. He realized that stepping into the discomfort of growth and expansion, and being willing to share a more vulnerable side to inspire others, was worth it to him. It was enough of a reason to step out of the cave.
So if you ever find yourself vacillating between decisions, think about your reasons for each option. Ask yourself; which reasons do you like best? And move forward from there.
Comfort Zones and Your Purpose
Now the last story I want to share with you has to do with one of my clients. She has been thinking a lot about her Purpose with a capital P recently, and she’s been feeling dissatisfied with her career.
And as a side note, this is a topic that has come up a lot for my clients over the last several months. I think with the pandemic and the current state of our society, a lot of people are asking questions. They’re thinking about what they really want to be doing, where they want to spend their time, etc. At the same time, there’s a lot of fear. Fear of the unknown. Gear what others will think. And it’s been a great opportunity to really dig in and start figuring out what our priorities are right now. What do we want to be doing with our life? How do we want to be spending our time?
So anyway, my client decided she wanted to leave her current big job and start working at a smaller start-up where she believed she could really put her strengths to use.
But at the same time, she found herself feeling pretty anxious and uncertain because she got stuck in questions of “what if.” What if the startup fails? What if I don’t like my colleagues? What if I don’t do the job well?
And we’ve all been here, right? We get stuck, unable to move forward, asking ourselves: What if I can’t do this? What if I’m not good enough? Or what if I fail? What if someone laughs at me? What will they think of me?
We’ve all been there. And in fact, if you’re anything like me, the what-ifs come along more often than you’d like.
How to Handle the What-Ifs
And one of the ways that I love to counteract the what-ifs and move past the anxiety is to answer each of the questions.
Don’t let your brain run wild.
If your brain is asking you, what if the startup fails? Answer it. So what if it fails? What will you do? How will you decide to move forward?
If your brain asks, what if you don’t like your colleagues? So what? How do you want to think about that?
Allow yourself to go to those worst-case scenarios and answer each one. Because then your brain can stop spinning out. You have a plan. And what’s more, you know you will survive each scenario.
Because as we know. The worst thing that can happen is an emotion. And you, my friend, can feel any emotion.
So, find your why. Get clear on your reasons. Answer those what-ifs. And move forward.
Because if you’re finding yourself discouraged and doubting your abilities. Or if you’re afraid of judgment or letting down your guard. If you’re worried about not being ready or fearing the unknown. It doesn’t mean that something’s gone wrong. It doesn’t mean that you should stop what you’re doing and return to the cave.
Because that discomfort might also be an incredible sign of growth and expansion as you take your life to the next level of Awesome.