I had something on my to-do list for nearly 5 months.
I just kept staring at it, avoiding it, and making any excuse in my mind not to do it.
Some reasons were valid. Some were accurate. But my excuses were just that: excuses.
The fact was that I was afraid to step outside of my comfort zone.
I was afraid to take even this small risk.
I was too comfortable staying inside the zone, rather than venturing out.
Early this week, I finally checked this task off my to-do list.
And guess what? It wasn’t so bad at all. I was actually pretty good at it.
Why Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone is Crucial for Personal Growth
Staying in our comfort zone is just another form of procrastination.
We are avoiding doing the hard things. Even when the hard things always lead to personal growth.
And while it’s clearly obvious that staying in our comfort zone is fear based, we are all guilty of staying in our comfort zones for far too long.
Because the fact is that you won’t know if you are any good at something until you try.
And even if you try and fail? So what?
Failure is a part of life.
You can’t and won’t find any success until you are willing to fail.
Accepting That You Will Fail
A while back, I wrote about and listed out my failure resume, both professional and personal.
The sure number amount of times that I’ve failed at something is almost laughable.
But ultimately, failing is simply a part of the path to success.
If you aren’t failing, or at a bare minimum willing to fail, then you are hiding in fear.
Because there is no such thing as failure.
True failure only happens when you give up.
So long as you never give up, you can never truly fail.
Accept that you will fail. And then go and do it anyway.
Pushing Past Our Comfort Zone
Most of our fear, I’ve found, comes from inaction – from staying in our comfort zone.
Dale Carnegie has a great quote about how inaction and fear feed off each other:
The truth is that every time I have finally pushed myself to do something, not only do I get a huge relief, but I find that it was never as bad as it seemed in my head at the time.
For years, I had dreamed about getting back on the slopes to snowboard, but it seemed too daunting to plan, and too scary, especially after I tore my meniscus.
How would I fare? How would my knee fare?
After 15 years of inactivity, I finally decided that enough was enough. I had to get out of my comfort zone.
So I planned a day trip, and got back out there – and I loved every minute of it.
My knee didn’t hurt. Not one bit.
Like Carnegie says, inaction breeds doubt, doubt breeds fear, and so I never stepped outside of my comfort zone to do what I used to love doing.
Success or Failure: The Results Don’t Actually Matter
- Does the result of what you are doing actually matter?
- What is the worst that can happen by doing this?
- If I start this and fail, will there still be learnings?
Because when you really think about it, the results of what you are doing don’t actually matter.
Be it a failure or success, you’ll have learned something.
So in the end, the result of whatever you are nervous about doesn’t actually matter.
There is Only Action or Inaction
When I started my first business, I had literally no idea what I should or should do.
But I acted, and I kept momentum.
Over time, I learned what I could do, and what I should do.
And that action eventually led to some success.
Today, I continue down that same path.
When I started AR, I had no idea how to be a writer. I had no idea how to grow a Twitter account. I had no idea if it could be a success or not.
When I fired my financial advisor, I had no idea if I could manage my finances myself. I was uncertain if I should put my family’s success or failure in my hands.
And even more recently I participated in J. Money’s 100/day pushup challenge. When I started, I had no idea if I could actually complete 3,000 push-ups in one month.
But in all cases I acted, and I figured it out.
There is only action or inaction.
And in life, there is comfort or discomfort. We all seek comfort – that much is clear.
But if you break out of your comfort zone, nothing bad will ever happen. Not in the long run.
Because you’ve acted.
Because you’ve overcome your fear and doubt.
Because you’ve become unstuck!
Getting out of your comfort zone leads to personal growth. And that alone is worth it.
I would argue that some people are “busy being busy” so that can
use the excuse “of being too busy” to have time to think of the
direction they should take, IF , they were to leave their comfort zone.
100% James. So many people are so busy being busy that they can’t see the forest through the trees.
But what can you do? I figure we can only control what we can control and that is pretty much yourself and your own actions.
I’m done with being busy for busy sake, and now am working on building a life that is rewarding and fun!