Self

Step out of your comfort zone

Tips to help you step out of your comfort zone personally and professionally
Montreal
Montreal, Quebec Canada. I’m afraid of heights, maybe one day a Ferris wheel again!

It’s a long weekend in Canada so I thought this was a good time to post a piece about doing something different! Your comfort zone includes things that are familiar to you. When you need to feel safe, you retreat to that center point. Try stepping out of your comfort zone to think differently. Some people find that following a routine helps life run relatively smoothly, and while following a routine may help keep you organized, and on track, it may also decrease your ability to see new ideas or take some risks.

Sometimes you need to change it up to challenge yourself. This activity can help you determine what’s in your comfort zone and what you consider risky.

Create three columns

Flight from La Gaurdia airport
Clouds over New York. Traveling alone is a fear for some. 
  • In the first column, write down the things you feel totally safe doing (e.g. exercising at home, going to a friend’s house, getting take-out food).
  • In the second column, write down some things you feel a little uncomfortable doing (e.g. joining a class, cooking new things, going to an unfamiliar place).
  • In the last column, write down the things you feel extremely uncomfortable doing, and would only do if it’s absolutely necessary (e.g. starting a conversation with a complete stranger, or traveling alone to an unfamiliar destination).

Check off the items in the second column that you can try to incorporate into your life, one at a time.  See if there’s anything in the third column you think you could get yourself to do, even if it’s with someone else’s support.

Quick tips

Professionally or at school

St Patrick's Cathedral, New York
St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York. Afraid to fly, I had to force myself to do it for work. New York was the first place I traveled alone.
  • Speak to someone you see every day but have never talked to before, even if you just start by saying hello.
  • Rearrange your work area; changing your environment can sometimes spark something.
  • Take an alternate route to or from work or school.
  • Eat lunch in a different place or with someone new.
  • Pretend it is your first day and see if you react any differently to things or to the people you’re usually around.
  • Look around for something you haven’t used before, or in a long time and see if you can figure out a new use for it.

Personally

  • Try a dish you haven’t eaten before.
  • Look for inspiration around you.
  • Try learning a different language.
  • Learn a new skill, e.g. ballet, boxing, skating, art class, or photography.
  • Read a book about an unfamiliar topic.
  • Watch a different movie genre. Do you usually only watch comedies? Try a drama or sci-fi movie instead.
  • Take a look at your everyday surroundings and see if you can take some unusual photos. It will help you look at them from a new viewpoint.
  • Rearrange some of the items in your kitchen or tackle a bigger change like rearranging your furniture.

 

These are some of my ideas for stepping out of your comfort zone. What are some of yours?

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25 comments

  1. Hey Samantha! I really liked your piece on stepping out of your comfort zone. I’ve personally struggled with doing things that I find too awkward for me to do. Whether it is socially or professionally. I think your three column idea is a great start for people like me who are trying to make a change in their life.

    I completely agree that stepping out of your comfort zone leads to new ideas and growth. However, it can also lead to new experiences. I also like how your piece breaks discomfort into professional and social settings.

    I will give your tips a try and see how they work out for me!

    Thanks for the tips!

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