At last week’s sold-out Happy Black Woman Happy Hour in Chicago, we talked a lot about pursuing our dreams, taking risks on ourselves and not being afraid to ask for help when we need it. My lovely co-host Patrice Grell Yursik (aka Afrobella) shared in her remarks that in her career as a journalist, blogger and brown beauty maven, she has had to “rise to the occasion” many times to meet the challenges and expectations placed in her path. Patrice’s words were so inspiring to me and the ladies in attendance because it was a much-needed reminder that for us to succeed, we have to be willing to step outside of our comfort zones.
It can feel really good when you find your comfort zone – especially when it comes to your business or career. But that cozy comfort zone can limit you in life. You might be missing out on opportunities without even knowing that you’re missing out! Expanding your comfort zone can bring a whole new world of excitement, passion and fulfillment into your life.
Use these reminders to help you break free of the limits of your comfort zone.
Change is good and necessary for growth.
Some of us have been conditioned to think that change is a bad thing. But the truth is, life is FULL of changes. Change is inevitable. In fact, one of the few constants in life is that things will always change. It’s important to remember that by holding onto things as they are, you are preventing yourself from getting to where you really want to be. But when you get into the habit of finding the good in every change, you become more comfortable with the idea of change and begin to anticipate the new adventures that lie ahead. When you have a positive attitude about change, you’ll see it as necessary and good. Things NEED to change in order for you to evolve and grow personally and professionally. Know that the changes you make now will bring even greater opportunities into your life in the future! By adopting this mindset, you become ready, willing and able to step outside of your comfort zone.
It’s better to imagine the best that could happen instead of the worst that could happen.
Instead of stressing yourself out by thinking of all the things that could go wrong when you step outside of your comfort zone, think about all the things that could go right. When you’re starting to make changes in your life, you’ll most likely feel scared of the unknown. So one thing you can do to alleviate your fears is to actually visualize scenarios that have the best possible outcome for you. Sit down for a few minutes, close your eyes and imagine how you would feel if everything worked the way you want it to. Stretch your mind to envision doing things you’ve never done before and getting results you’ve never experienced before. This practice can help you develop positive emotions to override the negative emotions associated with your fear. Tap into your faith that taking advantage of new opportunities will bring you closer to where you want to be.
You have to do things you’ve never done before to get results you’ve never experienced before.
The world’s most successful people all have a story of hard work, failure and triumph. There’s no better way to achieve your big goals than to challenge yourself over and over again. Because each time you try something new, you step outside your comfort zone and build the courage to live your ideal life. Every baby step can lead to a bigger opportunity down the line. And you don’t even have to do anything extraordinary to start seeing significant results. Just do something you’ve never done before. If you want to advance in your career, you can start by creating a LinkedIn profile and attending at least one networking event per week. If you’re striving to lose weight, you can begin by learning how to cook more of your meals at home to cut down on calories and processed foods. If you want to experience a new romantic relationship, you can put yourself out there by creating an online dating profile or joining a social group for singles in your city. Just don’t use your age or circumstances as an excuse to stop you from trying new things that can get you closer to your dreams. It may feel uncomfortable (OK, it probably will!), but you have to make changes in your behavior if you want to manifest changes in your life.
It’s OK to be vulnerable and ask for help along the way.
It may seem like most of your friends and family don’t quite understand what you’re going through as you try to change your life. But if you ask them for help, they’ll usually try their best to be there for you. Call up your best friend or favorite family member to talk to if you’re feeling uncomfortable in a new situation. They might be able to help alleviate your stress just in the process of a short phone conversation. Remember that you are never alone. It might feel like that sometimes, but it’s just not true. If you’re having an especially hard time dealing with the discomfort of stepping outside of your comfort zone, you should feel no shame in asking for help. Sometimes, all you need is to get out of your head for a few moments and lean on someone else for support and encouragement.
You may have to make new friends with like-minded people who can support you.
I know firsthand how difficult it is to make new friends in my journey to find like-minded women who are on a similar path. After age 30, it can seem like everyone already has a tight group of BFFs that’s hard to join if you haven’t known them since high school or college. The truth is, you may have to extend yourself and make that extra effort to connect with people who can support you in reaching your goals. Be open to approaching new acquaintances and incorporating them into your existing circle. Follow up with interesting people you meet at networking events. Invite people you admire to lunch or dinner. Strike up casual conversations with people around you. You never know when you might be able to form a great relationship with someone.
As you walk the path toward your ideal life, it will likely require you to step outside of your comfort zone. But the possibilities that open up when you try new things and meet new people are totally worth the temporary discomfort you will feel along the way. If your main goal is to be happy, staying within your safe little bubble may cause regret because of missed opportunities. Use your time wisely by taking chances on yourself in service to your big goals. In this way, you make the most of the limited time you have here on earth.
Leave a comment: When was the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone? What was the result of you taking a risk or trying something new?