We all know where our comfort zone is – it is the place we often live where we feel safe and everything is easy. Not only is it easy to live here, it’s easy to stay here for a long time – days, months, years… then all of a sudden we look back and realize how many days/months/years we’ve wasted - time we just can’t get back. The “muscles” that keep us in this place are super fit and strong and keep us tethered here.
But what about the muscles we need to get out of our comfort zone – the ones that when we stretch allow us to feel STRONG and FREE? How often have you used yours lately? Just like our other body parts, we need to start by making a decision to kick off the dust. We need to figure out what we really want for those muscles, and then set out a real plan to make them strong.
Recently I’ve been stretching out my freedom muscles all over the place, and I thought I’d share with you some of my ideas for what could work for you! The cool thing I’ve discovered is that the more I stretch and the more chances I take, the more comfortable the next stretch seems to be!
Here are 5 tips I’ve discovered that can help you get out of your own comfort zone and build up your freedom muscles…
#1 - Be impulsive
When you want to try something new, don’t over-think the decision. Most of the time you don’t have to leap far to get out of your comfort zone, and it is usually safe to “Just Do It”. By not spending too much time thinking, you won’t give that little gremlin inside you the chance to stomp on your freedom muscles.
#2 – Plan an exit strategy
Before you head out the door (or pick up the phone, or whatever), plan (for a moment only) what you will do if things don’t go as expected. This doesn’t mean thinking so much that you won’t do it or that you’ll stop or leave, it just gives you a chance to consider (for a VERY SHORT TIME) what some alternatives might be if your original plan has to change once you’re out trying something new. The only caveat here is that if you start to over-think, you need to go back and start at tip #1 again! (And finally, if you really do need to exit, make your exit good - maybe call a good friend and go out for ice-cream!)
#3 - Go out on a limb
Don’t sell yourself short by making the step too small. Make sure that what you decide to do really does feel like a stretch – if you don’t get that queasy feeling in your stomach (e.g. it seems too easy), add to the challenge – maybe you need to make 5 calls instead of 3 or you need to plan to talk to 10 people at that event instead of the first two people you see. Again – GO FOR IT – you deserve it!
#4 - Trust Yourself
You can do this thing, whatever it is! You’re capable, strong and smart and you deserve all the great things that come from really stepping out, stretching and leaning in! Trust in your ability to manage even tough situations, and remember that trying and failing is better than not trying at all!
#5 – Have Fun (or implement your exit strategy if you have to!)
In most cases, by following steps 1-4 you will automatically find yourself having fun (or at least feeling accomplished)!
And, if you find that you’ve done all the above steps and you’re still sitting outside the zipline after letting 30 people go ahead, or your head is spinning from anxiety, either go find a good friend to lend you some support, or implement your exit strategy – if you followed the tips above, you’ll certainly have learned something new about yourself so it will be easier the next time, and in the worst case scenario at least you’ll get to enjoy that ice cream sundae!
I live in Kelowna, BC, Canada but coach people from all around the world.
Connect with me and we'll figure out what will work the best!