How Staying in Your Comfort Zone Can Hurt You
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Life Strategies Coaching
We all know about comfort zones. In speaking of one's comfort zone, we are talking about engaging in activities that feel safe. Generally speaking, it's where we can easily predict what will happen. There are no surprises. We feel comfortable.
So, why is there all this talk of needing to get out of your comfort zone?
The short answer is that your comfort zone is generally not where you will find the most success, fulfillment, or even happiness. Stepping out of your comfort zone builds self-confidence. It also changes how you see yourself as well as how others see you.
Is staying in your comfort zone holding you back from living a fulfilled life and growing in your career?
The short answer is, probably, yes.
Staying in your comfort zone keeps you from realizing and achieving what you want. In addition, staying within your comfort zone keeps you from being challenged.
Here are three ways staying in your comfort zone is holding you back.
It keeps you from growing personally.
When you are afraid of something, staying in your comfort zone keeps you from facing your fear. Then you suffer from it forever or until you do face it. This is because you stay away from situations that would put you to meet the fear to overcome it.
For example, your fear of public speaking can keep you from taking a job that requires you to speak in front of others. As a result, you stay stuck in a position that doesn't help you stretch and grow.
Your comfort zone keeps you from being happy.
Maybe you struggle with self-confidence and self-esteem issues. Unfortunately, these problems can grow unless you take steps outside your comfort zone. Stepping outside your comfort zone helps you build confidence in yourself.
When you are confident and have good self-esteem, you are naturally happier.
On the other hand, if you're not confident about your abilities, you tend to stay in your comfort zone instead of trying anything new. That drags down your confidence. It makes you feel less competent and makes you unhappy.
Staying in your comfort zone can make you feel trapped.
And it can be unhealthy. Often our comfort zone keeps us maintaining bad habits out of fear of change. For example, you might want to be more active, run a marathon, feel fewer aches and pains and go on more adventures.
But doing any of those things means leaving your comfort zone.
For example, let's say you want to run a marathon. Maybe it's always been a dream, but you procrastinate and make lots of excuses for why you can't do it. You're too out of shape. You don't have time. You're too old. Blah, blah, blah.
The real reason you don't run that marathon is that you are afraid you might not be able to do it. What if you can't stick with the training regimen? What if you try it and fail?
That's the thing about comfort zones, though. You don' know how restricting they are until you are ready to leave them. However, the reward for leaving them is that you start living fully for the first time. You will begin to feel more confident. You begin to attract new people to yourself.
And you start living a life you love without reservation and fear.
Breaking free of your comfort zone is the first step toward a bigger, fuller, happier life. Look at all the people you look up to. Are they living in their comfort zones? Chances are they are not. They took a shot and went for their dreams, and they were successful. So what's to say that you can't do that, too?
Until next time.