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6 Steps to Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Here’s the scary truth: leaving your comfort zone is HARD. You’re living your nightmare in real life. But if you don’t take the first steps to challenge yourself or allow yourself to feel vulnerable, you will never leave your comfort zone. When you leave your comfort zone, you grow. You’ll open yourself to new experiences and opportunities. The crucial moment is to take that first step.

1 Identify your comfort zone

To leave your comfort zone, you need to identify the boundaries of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is where you feel safe, surrounded by what’s familiar to you. For example, if you don’t feel comfortable giving presentations to a group, you may feel more secure sitting in the audience. If the thought of traveling to a new city scares you, you’ll feel more relaxed watching a show about the place you want to visit.

In your comfort zone, you don’t have to take risks or face challenges. You don’t have anything to cross off your bucket list. Your major challenges and goals are those that you’ve achieved before. After you find the outer boundaries of your comfort zone, you’ll know when you’re about to step outside of it.

2 Set goals

When you’re ready to leave your comfort zone, set goals, starting with one small goal to get you started. Make sure that it is realistic and challenges you. If you fear public speaking, making a speech in front of 500 people is not a realistic first goal. The gap between where you are now and where you want to be is too wide.

Small steps are easier to achieve. Your goal gives you direction and purpose and can help you stay motivated when things get tough. But you need to first break your goal into manageable steps, and work on just one step at a time. Begin with a well-practiced speech to a picture or toys in a room. They are a captive audience. Join groups such as Toastmasters, which is a supportive group that works on speaking skills.

3 Face your fears

After you get your goal or goals, you will face the hardest part: facing your fears. Planning is easy. Working on the plan is hard, which is why working on conquering your fears one small step at a time is so important.

Before speaking in front of an audience of strangers, practice speaking in front of supportive peers. By repeatedly putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation, you will slowly become comfortable. People who speak to an audience of thousands didn’t become professionals at public speaking overnight.

4 Welcome change

Change is scary. It’s why most people take the same route to work or dine at the same restaurants and avoid new types of cuisine. Leaving your comfort zone means embracing the unknown. When you are open-minded, you’ll try new things and explore new places. The results can be exciting.

When you challenge your public speaking skills, you’ll discover a confidence you didn’t know you had. In turn, this confidence will give you the confidence to leave your comfort zone for something new in the future.

5 Surround yourself with supportive people

Facing challenges alone can be overwhelming. Having a support system can make a big difference in your self improvement. These people include friends and family, even coworkers.

When making a presentation at work, you can ask supportive coworkers to give you feedback o your speaking skills. Join a group with similar goals to provide you with an encouraging environment to grow and get advice from people who have been where you are now.

6 Celebrate your successes

Remember to celebrate your successes at each step, not just when you have accomplished your goal. Each step to achieving your goal is equally important.

After giving your first speech to five friendly faces, celebrate what you’ve achieved. After you’ve given your first major presentation to a new client, reward yourself.

Key Takeaways

Leaving your comfort zone is not easy. People love to be where they are comfortable because it is safe. But safe doesn’t bring you new experiences or help you grow as a person. You don’t develop new skills by repeating what you’ve done before. To leave your comfort zone, you need to take that first small step.

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