In life, if it is not growing, it is dying!
So what is a comfort zone? It is doing things that you are comfortable doing. It doesn’t stretch you anymore and you could most probably do it with your eyes closed. Things such as cooking, typing, riding a bike or driving a car. At first you may have some fears around it, but after doing it several times and seeing that actually ‘I can do this’ it becomes second nature to you.
Living within your comfort zone, feels comfortable the ego feels good because this is where you are great but it doesn’t help you to grow as a person.
Stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new and challenging things, can definitely be scary, but when you do, the rewards will be priceless. Fear may surface but if it does, embrace it, as this is a great sign that you are stretching yourself. If there is no fear, or anxiety, it means that you are living within your comfort zone still and may need to find something a bit more challenging.
Confidence Comes After
Speaking to an arena of 500 people is well within my comfort zone, but you may find yourself running out of the room screaming ‘oh hell no’.
Whereas, you may manage to run a household, hold down a job and look after your 2 children and this is within your comfort zone but for me that would be outside my comfort zone – at first.
And those are the key words ‘at first’.
Most things we try for the first time, are going to maybe feel awkward, uncomfortable, painful but eventually the more you do them, the easier it will get.
Confidence comes after you do something and then realised, ‘hey that’s not too bad.’ Then you do it again and again until eventually you master that skill and it gets put into the arena called The Comfort Zone. So remember, confidence does come at first, it comes after you try something.
The Stand-Up Comedy Challenge
In 2011, I decided that I wanted to challenge myself as a speaker and gain new skills. I wanted to step, if not jump outside my comfort zone because I know that is how we humans grow the most. So, I decided to take up stand-up comedy. I know, what was I thinking!
I enlisted on a 9 week comedy course with David Jones, a Toastmaster that I knew. It was definitely challenging and completely took me outside my own comfort zone and that was just the workshop.
The end objective of the course was to deliver a 5 minute sketch in a local comedy club. I had been working on my material in class and hey, I was use to speaking in front of people. But the night of my performance, my hands were sweaty, my breathing short and my nerves thoroughly shaken. There were 12 comedians that night and I was standing at the back of the room taking in deep breaths in readiness for being called on stage but my heart wouldn’t stop pounding no matter how deeply I breathed.
My name was called. I couldn’t run away, I had to have courage and walk to the front of the room. I mounted the stage, lights blaring in my eyes and I look down at the crowd. I smiled, took a deep gulp and launched into my set.
I felt I started off shaky, trying to find my timing, the pace of the audience’s reactions but as my set progressed, the easier it became and the less my heart felt like it was jumping out of the my mouth. I received several laughs throughout, which is always a good sign and left the stage with my head held high.
I continued to do several more comedy sets around London in the following months.
Now, am I still outside my comfort zone in comedy, most definitely YES.
But as I continually push myself, I am learning skills, gaining valuable insight about myself and am now able to share some of these skills with others.
When you stretch yourself, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Your talents, skills and abilities are locked away in a treasure chest and unless you allow yourself the risk of falling down a few times, trying new things and learning from getting it wrong, you won’t get the key to the treasure chest.
What is in the treasure chest I hear you ask? Well, it is the most amazing people you will meet, the mind blowing experiences and adventures you will have, the phenomenal opportunities that will come your way and the sense of achievement that boosts your confidence sky high. Your treasure is hidden within you and the only way to open it, is to try new things and to not entertain fear.
So, I challenge you to continually challenge yourself and change your beliefs to “I Can Do This and I Will” and very importantly remember that your confidence will come after you step outside that comfort zone.
All successful people learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.