Comfort zone or same old same old?

I swallowed hard and pressed the button.

A countdown appeared in the middle of the screen… 3… 2… 1… and that was it.

I was broadcasting live to the world.

Cue a suddenly-dry mouth and completely fumbled intro, closely followed by the split second dilemma of, “Do I just abort this now and look like a complete idiot? Or do I carry on… and look like a complete idiot?” What a choice.

I carried on.

So far out of my comfort zone I needed binoculars to see it.

I gabbled my way through it, pressed the Finish button and slumped in my chair with a massive sigh of relief… coupled with a massive sense of achievement and satisfaction.

As Facebook Lives go it definitely wasn’t going to set the world on fire, but after hiding behind regular page posts for years, I knew it was what I needed to do. So I pulled on my big girl panties.

Comfort zones are all well and good, but if you stay in them for too long you begin to stagnate. You begin to wonder why you’re feeling bored and fed up, why nothing exciting ever happens to YOU. It’s all just the same old same old. You know?

Comfort zones keep you safe.

It’s known territory.

Contemplate stepping outside of that comfort zone and that little voice in your head gets itself a microphone and starts shrieking, “WHAT are you THINKING? Here are ALL the reasons why that is A VERY BAD IDEA!” And so, very often, you’re persuaded that your little voice is the Voice of Reason and you give in.

Back to the boring same old same old.

But if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to sneak a toe outside of your comfort zone every now and then, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to become a better version of you. Without personal growth, nothing is ever going to change and you’re going to stay stuck in the mire of mediocre.

This is something that affects grown-ups way more than children. When you’re little, every day brings you new opportunities to try something you haven’t done before. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s not, but crucially, even if you decided you really didn’t enjoy it, it doesn’t prevent you from having a go at something else because that’s just what you do. That’s life.

As an adult, however, you’ve built up a whole library of experiences that you didn’t enjoy, ranging from the small I-wish-I-hadn’t-said-that sort to full on oh-my-goodness-I-NEVER-want-to-do-that-again type. The memories of these experiences pop up whenever there’s even the merest hint that something you’re considering could… maybe… possibly result in a similar situation.

Choosing to ignore that memory and carry on regardless takes determination, often with a healthy dose of courage thrown in.

But what if there was an easier way to go about it?

The trick is to acknowledge that the discomfort that exists outside of your comfort zone is simply a stepping stone to better things. That discomfort opens up a whole new world of possibility. And what’s more, that feeling of discomfort doesn’t last.

Think about a time when you did something out of your comfort zone. I can pretty much guarantee that afterwards you felt proud of yourself, you stood a little taller, you felt a little more confident… am I right?

When you prove to yourself that you CAN do something different to the same old same old, even if it scared you, it expands your world. Your beliefs about what is possible for you move up a level.

You feel more ALIVE.

So make friends with that discomfort. You don’t have to dive headlong into the depths of what lurks outside your comfort zone… start small, just lean up against it and push out the edges a little.

Decide on something you’ve been wanting to do for a while, but haven’t because it scares you a bit. That fear is just a story that you’re telling yourself about what might happen if you go for it. Just a story. Not an indisputable fact.

To conquer the fear, rewrite the story. Consider all the things that could go right. Think about how amazing you’ll feel when you’ve done it.

Write it all down as if it’s already happened and focus on that instead. Then, as Nike would say, just do it.

Rewriting the story will change the way you’re thinking about venturing outside your comfort zone. And if you change the way you think… you can change the way you act.

You’ve probably heard this quote:

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Neale Donald Walsch

It sure does. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Oh, and if you want to add a bit of extra zing to the experience, I recommend broadcasting live to the world while you’re doing it!