Is Staying In Your Comfort Zone Holding You Back?
We’ve heard a lot about getting out of our comfort zone. But have you ever thought about why you should? After all, our comfort zone is where we feel in control and safe. It’s where we can predict what will happen and how we will feel. There won’t be any surprises, that we can’t deal with.
So why would you feel compelled or even want to get out of your comfort zone? You need to do it because getting out of your comfort zone is the key to your personal growth and happiness. Stepping out of that zone helps you build up your self-confidence and the way you view yourself.
Is being there holding you back for living a fulfilled life and growing in our career?
The answer is yes. Being in your comfort zone and staying there is keeping you from realizing and achieving what you desire. Staying safely within your comfort zone keeps you from being challenged and you don’t have to rise to any new occasions.
Here are 3 ways staying in your comfort zone is holding you back.
- It’s keeping you from growing personally. When you are afraid of something, staying in your comfort zone keeps you from facing that fear. Then you suffer from it forever or until you do face it. You stay away from situations that would put you in a position of having to face the fear in order to overcome it. For example, your fear of public speaking keeps you from taking a job that requires you to speak in front of others, even though it’s a step up on your career ladder.
- You comfort zone is keeping you from being happy. Maybe you struggle with self-confidence and self-esteem issues. These problems can grow unless you take steps outside your comfort zone to begin addressing them. Stepping outside your comfort zone helps you build confidence in your self and see yourself in a better light. When you are confident and have good self-esteem, you are happier. For example, if you’re not confident in your abilities, you tend to stay in your comfort zone instead of trying something new. This drags down your confidence making you feel less competent and making you unhappy.
- Staying in your comfort zone can make you feel trapped and unhealthy. Often our comfort zone keeps us doing bad habits out of fear. You might want to be more active, run a marathon, feel less aches and pains and go on adventures. But to do any of these things means doing something that is outside your comfort zone. For example, you want to run a short marathon. It’s always been a dream of yours, but you procrastinate and make excuses why you can’t. You’re too out of shape. You don’t have time. You’re too old. But the real reason is because you are afraid to get out of your comfort zone and begin training with a trainer. As a result, you continue to eat unhealthy, gain weight, lose muscle tone and put your dream on the back burner until eventually, you’re health becomes a problem.
When we stay in our comfort zone, we are holding ourselves back from living a life we love, from being happy and from growing. We end up letting our fears rule and settling for mediocrity.
Struggling to achieve your goals? Maybe your comfort zone is the reason.
We all have high aspirations. However, it can be hard to turn those dreams and goals into a reality. The truth is many of us struggle to reach our goals. The reason frequently involves our apprehension about step out of our comfort zone.
It’s true that nothing ever happens in our comfort zone. It’s the place that keeps us in the “someday” mode of pushing our goals to the side until the time is right, for another day or when you have more skills, money, and time.
Unfortunately, “someday” never happens. Eventually the life you dreamed of becomes a memory, a wish-I-would-have thought. Our fear of trying something different, putting ourselves out there and going for it keeps us from taking action. We let our comfort zone keep us safe.
Your comfort zone keeps you paralyzed from attempting what you desire. You may have goals and dreams but are afraid of the what-if’s that might happen when you do try. Instead, it’s safer to stay where you’re comfortable instead of getting hurt or humiliated by attempting your goal.
Maybe you’re afraid of speaking to a large group of people so you don’t go after the next level in your career, even though it is what you desire. You keep to yourself and stay in your current position instead where you’re comfortable.
Maybe you don’t go after your desire to start your own business because you’re afraid of failing. You stay in a job that you hate instead. Maybe you don’t try new adventures because you have an aversion to meeting new people and looking foolish. So you stay at home in your comfort zone.
Some of the reasons you stay in your comfort zone might be from
- Fear of the unknown, uncertainty
- Anxiety over change
- Negative mindset, pessimistic outlook
- Lack of clarity and focus
- Fear of failing (or succeeding)
No matter what it looks like, your comfort zone is keeping you trapped. You stop advancing professionally. You don’t grow and develop personally. You eat the same way, live in the same place, drive the same kind of car, and associate with the same people.
Your comfort zone lets you willingly passing up important opportunities. Because of this, you might lose touch with your relationships, your health may begin to have serious problems, and you end up living a life of mediocrity.
Your unwillingness to take action and step out of your comfort zone for whatever reason directly impacts your goals. If you are afraid to take the next step, and never do, you’ll stay where you’re at. If you worry what will happen if you go for you goal so you end up not going for it, then you won’t ever reach it.
When you see yourself struggling to achieve your goals it’s often because you are stuck in your comfort zone. You are afraid of change, of doing things differently and being someone different.
Fear: The #1 Thing Standing In Your Way Of True Happiness
“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” Dorothy Thompson
Imagine this: you are sitting on the beach watching the sunset as waves lap the sand as you bask in the glow. A book lies in your lap as you lose yourself in thought of how wonderful you feel at this moment.
Now imagine what the reality is: You’re dreaming of traveling to the beach, sitting on the sand watching the sun set. But instead of taking the steps to go, you feel fear. What if you’re needed at your job, by your family or any of your other obligations? What if the plane crashes? What if you get lost? What would happen if you let down your guard? What if…?
Living in fear, keeps us form taking the risks and chances to go for what we truly desire. It keeps us from finding true happiness.
Happiness isn’t defined by what you have; where you live; where you go; or the people you love. True happiness is a feeling. It’s something you feel deep inside about yourself and believe yourself to be. But to find it you have to face the fears keeping you paralyzed.
When we have fears, we feel unsafe. Facing our fears and getting out of our comfort zone is hard because of how humans naturally expect the worst-case scenario. Our brains naturally send us negative information because it is trying to keep you safe.
So how can you live a life free of fear and be truly happy?
Everyone has fears. It’s normal. It’s how we react to them that makes the difference in how we feel. But you might find yourself weighed down with too much fear that’s preventing you from being truly happy. If that’s the case, it’s time to get familiar with your fears and find ways to work through them.
Here are 4 common fears and ideas to help you deal with them.
- Fear of failure. This is a common fear, often stemming from our childhood. Fear of failing a test, for example. This fear brings on the feeling of being judged or embarrassed. In reality, failing is part of success. Overcome this fear by not worrying about the outcome and only focusing on the process of getting to success.
- Fear of success. This fear stems from many different fears: fear of change, responsibilities, attention, vulnerable and many others. The best way to overcome this fear is to focus on one step at a time while moving forward.
- Fear of rejection. The fear of being rejected is a reaction to our innate need for belonging. It can include fears of being judged, not being liked, or being alone. To overcome this fear put yourself out there, reminding yourself that the right people will respond to you favorably.
- Fear of not being good enough. This fear is rooted in how we feel about ourselves. Our low self-esteem keeps us from not trying because of a lack of confidence. You can overcome this fear by starting small with things you know you can accomplish. Keep doing more steps to build your self-confidence.
We all have fears of some kind. They may seem rational to us but appear irrational to others. To overcome your fears you need to understand why you have them and then work on facing them so you can live a life of true happiness.
The Unknown: Where You Find Your True Self
You’ve probably heard the saying by Roy T. Bennet, “You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
It’s true that during the times you step outside your element, you experience who you really are. It’s about facing our fears and doing things we are passionate about.
We often live our lives with the “I cannot,” “I don’t want to,” or “it’s too difficult” thoughts that keep us stuck and unhappy. It’s only until we realize that when we stop letting our negative thoughts control us, that we find our true self.
Stepping into the unknown is frightening, the place just beyond where we can see the outcome of doing it. That’s the part that makes our hearts pump faster, make us break out into a cold sweat and yet, we yearn to see what’s there.
Staying in our comfort zone keeps us from stepping into that unknown. It keeps us secure and safe. Your comfort zone is the basis of your life now. It’s how you define who and what you currently are.
But what would happen if you stretched outside that zone? Would bad things happen? Or would you suddenly be excited about life?
How do you know if you should step into the unknown? Begin by writing down 10 things that doesn’t scare you and you do often. This could be things like traveling by bus, giving a public speech, or whatever it is that doesn’t scare you. It’ll be different for each person, because we all have different comfort zones.
Describe how it feels to live within your comfort zone. Be as detailed as possible using feeling words. How does it make you feel to be in your body, your mind, and your life?
Then ask yourself these questions:
- Are there things you want to achieve but haven’t yet?
- Are you dissatisfied with your daily life?
- Do you want to achieve big things?
- Do your goals and passions keep appearing, tugging at you?
- Are there material or immaterial things you want that you don’t have?
- Are you struggling with finding meaning in your life?
- Are you feeling jealous of others who have achieved or done things you secretly want?
Once you’ve answered these questions, think about what’s keeping you from going after what you want. What makes you uncomfortable? Is it fear? Are you reluctant to take chances or make changes?
Write Down 10 Things That Scare You.
Now describe how it would feel if you were living outside your comfort zone. Be as detailed as possible. Describe in detail how it feels, what you see, hear or where you are. Use images, color, or visualization to help you create your life.
Take your time with these steps. Once you realize what’s keeping you from stepping into the unknown you can begin taking small steps outside your comfort zone to get there.
Your life can be as fulfilled and exciting as you desire it to be once you step into the unknown where you find your true self.
What’s Wrong With Staying In Your Comfort Zone?
Why do we stay in our comfort zone? Because our comfort zone is the stress-free zone we are used to. It’s what is familiar. It’s also the place where we are the most dissatisfied with our life.
When we stay in our comfort zone, we are forcing ourselves to stay stagnant. We’re afraid to change for fear of what could happen. Our brains are trained to keep us safe so we stay in our comfort zone instead of facing the unknown.
Staying in our comfort zone though can cause problems as well. Here are 8 reasons it’s wrong to stay in your comfort zone.
- Not reaching your goals. If you stay in your comfort zone, you are less likely to follow through on reaching your goals. Your fear, procrastination, or any other excuse keeps you from taking action toward your goal.
- Lack of growth. Staying in your comfort zone will probably keep you from growing into more than you are right now. You’ll always be stuck, never going forward and never growing and changing. You might end up not achieving your goals because you’re stuck on doing things the same way you’ve always done them, even when you’re not seeing any results. You don’t step out of your comfort zone to explore what you’re capable of doing or what you can accomplish.
- No or lost passion. Staying in your comfort zone makes it harder for you to discover your passion. Your passion can only be found outside your comfort zone.
- Feeling left behind. When you stay in your comfort zone you will feel like you are being left behind your colleagues and others you relate to. They might have been behind you in terms of your life or career but because they stepped out of their comfort zone, they have passed you by.
- Settling for less. By continuing to live in your comfort zone, you push yourself to settle for less than you desire. You put your passion or things you love aside.
- Your self-confidence lags. When you don’t move out of your comfort zone, you aren’t building the confidence you need to grow and take on new challenges.
- Your health suffers. Sometimes when you are not getting out of your comfort zone you aren’t taking care of your health either. It can be from fear of going to the doctor, not wanting to change your routines, avoiding going to the gym for some reason such as being looked at or trying something different.
- You’ll be unprepared for changes. You are inflexible and set in your ways when you stick to your comfort zone. Life can be difficult, throwing all kinds of things at you. Things can happen that will pull you out of your comfort zone even if you don’t want to. Staying in your comfort zone keeps you from being open to new possibilities.
The reasons we stay in our comfort zone are the same ones that we should be using to step out of our comfort zone. Staying your zone may feel comfortable but it’s wrong to limit yourself to settling for mediocrity.