What does it really mean to “step outside one’s comfort zone?”
Does it simply mean that you are able to slip into new situations, with little, to no, effort? Or, does it mean that you have an unusually high tolerance for personal, emotional, or professional risk?
How often do we actually place ourselves into uncharted territory – places we’ve never been, among people who aren’t like us; with absolutely no safety net to catch us, when we fall?
It’s definitely not for the timid or meek.
Change is how we grow, and is to be found amidst the strange and the unfamiliar.
Testing new boundaries. Learning new skills. Accepting new challenges. Meeting new people. All part of maturing as people, and as professionals.
Once our lives and careers reach a certain point, many of us learn to settle. Our attachments, responsibilities, and our fear of losing everything we have attained, keeps us frozen in time, and space.
Our comfort zones are merely baffles that keep us from being buffeted by the winds of change; but they don’t really stop change from happening around us. Change just flows around our comfort zones – until circumstance or happenstance removes our flimsy protection, and we are forced – perhaps, for the first time – with facing the new, without the comfort of the old.
Being comfortable in the unfamiliar doesn’t come easy for anyone. Those who appear effortless in their ability to face the new become so, only through studied practice, and experience. Like anything in life, one has to work at it, to become competently proficient. To be a Pro.
The old saying goes, “need never made a good bargain.” The best time to learn to stretch your comfort zones, is when you can, and not when you need to.
So: go and learn a new language. Take a trip. Join a new group. Do something that is totally outside your realm of experience. While you can. Not when you need to.
Step outside your comfort zone.
Go, and be you.