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Dolores G Wix

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Are You Ready To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone?
By Dolores G Wix   

Last edited: Friday, September 05, 2003
Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

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Find out what the consequences are for not stepping out of your comfort zone.

If you want to reach your full potential, you’re

going to have to step out of your comfort zone.

What’s a comfort zone?  In her article, “Getting

Unstuck When You’re in a Rut,” personal and business

coach (http://www.instacoach.com), Dr. Sharon House,

defined comfort zone as “That cozy place we hang out

at that’s routine, predicable and safe.”  She further

defined it as “a trusted beaten path for us to

follow.”  So, what’s so bad about that?  Plenty!


Susan Pilgrim, Ph.D. says in her article “Leaving

The Comfort Zone (AKA the Danger Zone),” “The comfort

zone can become a danger zone.  When we continue to

function on a daily basis the same way we have over

time, our thinking becomes rigid.  We can see things

from only one perspective and we forget there are

many ways of looking at the same situation.”  She

goes on to explain that thinking only one way causes

our creativity to be inhibited.  “Literal plasticized

ruts in the brain are created. Parts of the brain

eventually die when they’re not used over time.

Thinking and doing differently create new neural

pathways that can keep the brain functioning at an

optimal level,” she says.


I’m sure you’re aware that wanting to make changes

in your life is easier said than done.  This is

especially true if your life is not what you want it

to be.  It is easier to think of yourself in the way

you’ve always been.  A good example is my husband,

Dave.  Dave has 15 years of commercial insurance

experience and has worked in both the agency side

and company side.  He doesn’t particularly like it,

though. 


As I have taken steps to finally do the work I’ve

always wanted, I’ve asked Dave what kind of work he

would do if he could do anything he wanted.  Each

time I’ve asked Dave this question, I’ve gotten

different answers:  historical writing, photography,

raise exotic birds.  Not once has he answered

commercial insurance.  When I asked him why he won’t

start doing what he would rather do, he’d say,

“I know insurance!”  And I’d say, “So what?  You

can learn something else.”  But Dave was in his

comfort zone. 


Dr. Sharon House continues in her article quoted

earlier, “Often what we call procrastination, a lack

of motivation or boredom is really just being trapped

in the shell of our own comfort zone.  Like a turtle,

we pull inside and stop moving.  Stop growing.  Stop

seeking.  We rationalize our position with excuses

and justifications and put a limit on it.  We lock

it up with a ‘guarantee’ that consists of two

extremely powerful words:  ‘I can’t.’


“We paint ourselves into a corner with our fears and

inhibitions.  We resist change.  We avoid risk.  Our

senses dull.  We may feel as if we are suffocating.

We notice the dull ache of emptiness.  We feel

paralyzed by our fears, real or imagined!  Pretty

soon, living inside the safety and comfort of our

shell, devoid of challenge or change, becomes a habit

just like brushing our teeth in the morning or tying

our shoes.  Easy, effortless, familiar!  We’ve retired

from the excitement and challenge that purposeful

living offers.  Our comfort zone has become our

liability zone!”   


If you recognize that you are in your comfort zone

and you want to get out of it, how do you do that?


First, start slowly.  Start by making changes in

your everyday life activities.


*Drive to and from work a different way.

*Rearrange your furniture

*Change your hairstyle

*Update your wardrobe

*Learn a foreign language


Next, if you want to make bigger changes like a career

or move to another state/country, use visualization

techniques.  See yourself doing what you want and

being where you want.  What you think about you

bring about.


Lastly, recognize that fear is the greatest threat

to us, according to Brian Tracy.  In his book,

“Maximum Achievement” he states that before age six

we are all programmed with the fear of failure and

the fear of rejection.  “These fears usually set

the upper and lower limits of your comfort zone.

Because of them, you do enough not to be criticized

or rejected on the low side, and you stay well

within your limits so you can avoid risk or failure

on the high side.  Once you’ve slipped into your

comfort zone, you stay there, attempting to avoid

any feeling of fear or anxiety.  Your fears hold

you back from most of what is possible for you.”


Mr. Tracy goes on to say that the opposite of fear

is love, beginning with self-love, or self-esteem,

and that is the way out.  “There is an inverse or

opposite relationship between self-esteem and fears

of all kinds.  The more you like yourself, the less

you fear failure and rejection.  The more you like

yourself, the more willing you are to reach out and

take the risks that will lead you on to success and

happiness.  The more you like yourself, the more

willing you are to take the actions that propel you

out of your comfort zone and toward the achievement

of your real goals and desires.”


To begin liking yourself or increasing your self-

esteem, Mr. Tracy suggests repeating,  “I like myself”

(or “I love myself”) 50 to 100 times a day until

these words penetrate your subconscious.  I have

used this technique for many years and it works!

If you use it consistently, you will quickly see

and feel differently about yourself and notice an

improvement in your relationship with others.


I’m very happy to say that Dave has stepped out of

his comfort zone and has enrolled in the Travel

Writing Course of the American Writers & Artists

Institute.  If you’re interested in their travel

writing and other writing courses, their web site



Copyright 2002 Dolores G. Wix


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Reviewed by Hiren Shah 8/30/2005
Very relevant article. Though one should always be on one's toes, it is sometimes really difficult to get out of one's comfort zone. If the meaningful work that you intend to do is not paying enough, you have to be careful in stepping out of your comfort zone.

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