No one looks forward to stepping out of the comfort zone. But if we want to change something, have better experiences or grow, then we need to.
But so many of us wait until the ship is sinking until we do so. When we feel at our worst and just want to feel better as quickly as possible. And then of course we take a massive leap in desperation and it can sometimes be in the wrong direction.
The personal development narrative often teaches that to create change we have to take a massive leap out of our comfort zone. But over the years I have found that to be the most unhelpful belief.
A few years ago I started running for the first time in my life. I’d never considered myself to be a runner, preferring to have a gentle walk instead. To tell you the truth I do still prefer to walk. But the difference is that I now know I can run a fair distance. And that’s empowering.
But when I first began to run, it was a step out of my comfort zone. And if I had taken a massive leap by jumping into it full throttle, I would have given up before I’d barely started.
This is because I wouldn’t have built the stamina to sustain myself. I also wouldn’t have developed the belief in myself either.
Self-belief comes through repetition
As we do something gradually and regularly, our unconscious mind begins to believe that it’s possible. This means our habits and behaviours support us and our ego mind doesn’t get in the way.
As I taught myself to run all those years ago, I realised that I achieved my milestones in the same way I do most things. I broke them down into parts and then I kept repeating the same actions until I moved to the next part.
Working in my own business has taught me how to step out of my comfort zone often. But I still don’t do it in big steps, because I’ve learned it doesn’t work for me. I’m not the only one either; I’ve discovered it doesn’t work for other people too. This is because it can bring up intense feelings of fear and doubt.
I know how this feels and it can seriously keep you stuck.
Taking strategic action is a much better plan. Breaking things down into parts allows us to take smaller steps and feel much more comfortable in the process.
Those smaller steps begin with having a clear target
For me, I didn’t even think about how far I wanted to run initially, I just got clear on what I wanted to feel and that was my target. This was more about why I wanted to run, not about the running itself. When you get clear on the reason why, it gives you more motivation.
Apply this to your career or business for example. Think about why you want to make that change. What will it give you personally and how will you feel when you have it?
Break it down into parts that are not too far out of your comfort zone
Going back to my running project; I started with just 60-second plods. At this point I didn’t even consider what I had to do next.
When you break things down into smaller parts that are not too far out of your comfort zone it can feel a lot easier. In this way you can focus on taking those first steps without worrying about what comes next.
Bringing this back to your career or business for instance, break your target down gradually. Take it down to the smallest task that needs to be completed first and just focus on that. This can even be applied to starting a new business too.
Find a strategy that feels the least uncomfortable
The first step can often be the most challenging. Once you are past that mark it gets easier.
I eased myself in from the start. Choosing a place to run that I find peaceful meant it was inside my comfort zone. This is the beach for me and has been for years. So for me personally it was choosing the best environment that made if feel more comfortable. But it can be a number of things that make the actions you take feel more effortless.
This strategy can be used for any areas of life. For example changing your career or building your business can be achieved through networking. If you have never done this before then you could choose an event that feels the least uncomfortable. Or you can ease the discomfort by tagging along with someone you know.
Socrates wrote ”If you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you always got”
This is true, but these days you get what you always got if you are lucky. This is because everything is changing at such high speed.
I’ve learned that if we don’t make the change ourselves, then life will do it for us. And when we allow change to happen by chance, it may not be what we want. Steering your own ship keeps you in control and that’s the kind of change we do want. Begin with just one small step.
By working with an experienced good coach who will have your back, it feels easier to make changes and so what you’ve never done before. Or do what you feel like you’ve failed at before. If you are ready to see how coaching can support you in changing or achieving what you want, Book Your Complimentary Initial Connect Call HERE