We have all heard the wisdom that it is necessary to step out of our comfort zones to achieve great things, but this does not mean that we should spend all our time outside of our comfort zones. Having family or friends around or recharging on our own is very important for one’s sanity.
However, there are also times when it is necessary to do things that may feel uncomfortable at first to become more successful. This could take many forms, such as running your first race or taking the lead in an important work situation for the first time. When you recognize that it is time to leave your comfort zone, there are a few things you can keep in mind to ensure that you perform at your peak.
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- Understand the limits
Once you leave your comfort zone, particularly when you make a conscious decision to go outside your comfort zone, you enter the optimal performance zone. Because you leave your comfort zone, you are slightly anxious, which also means that your senses are heightened, priming you to give your best. However, beyond the optimal performance zone, there is the danger zone, where you put yourself under so much pressure that you risk making lots of errors, or burning out. Therefore, when you leave your comfort zone, manage your expectations so that you are always remain at your best. There are many ways to do this, such as getting enough sleep and exercise, setting realistic goals, and being honest about what can be achieved – both to yourself and those depending on you.
2. Resilience works like a muscle
Leaving your comfort zone may feel daunting, particularly at first, but if you work hard at building your resilience, leaving your comfort zone becomes easier over time – it’s almost like training a muscle. We are all more adaptable than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.
3. Baby steps
If you have taken the decision to step outside of your comfort zone to achieve a difficult goal, there is no need to make it any more difficult. Break down something big into smaller steps that you can achieve more easily to get to the prize. And do take the time to pat yourself on the back when you achieve these steps.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself
When you are outside of your comfort zone, you will obviously be more prone to making mistakes, but that is not the end of the world. These are not failures – they are lessons. As long as you can see your progress over time, you are heading in the right direction.
Because you are heading into unknown territory, stepping outside your comfort zone can sometimes be a bit like an amusement park ride – just because it is scary, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and exciting at the same time!