Even the most confident of people have moments where self-doubt creeps in or they feel out of their depth. Some people can overcome this quickly and more easily than others but some people let these feelings hold them back. What is it that causes us to be scared or anxious about leaving our comfort zone and how can we overcome this?
What is a comfort zone?
Confidence means different things to different people. For some, confidence is about how we interact with people. Being able to walk up to someone and start a conversation, leading a presentation or even just raising your hand to ask a question can be perceived as having confidence. For others, confidence is about belief in our skills and abilities; putting yourself forward for projects, taking on new challenges or setting up a business.
A comfort zone is a behavioural space where we are only faced with tasks or activities that we feel confident with. There is minimal risk, minimal stress and a state of mental security. We feel comfortable.
Leaving our comfort zone causes us to feel anxious, nervous or scared because we are forcing ourselves to do something we don’t feel comfortable with.
What makes us feel anxious?
When we are faced with new people, new tasks or new situations, we may question our capabilities and this causes us to feel anxious. Depending on the situation, this may pass quickly but other times our confidence is really tested.
For different people, the discomfort is a result of different insecurities.
- People might not like me or the things I say
- What if I do something wrong or mess things up?
- I might make a fool of myself or say something stupid
- What if I can’t cope with the task or I fail?
- What if other people don’t think I am good enough?
Often our anxiety is caused by our own inner critics; we doubt our own abilities. Other times our anxiety is caused by our concern about what other people think of us; a need to please people and be liked.
Once you figure out what is causing your fear, it will be easier to overcome it.
Why leave your comfort zone?
You might question why you should leave your comfort zone; after all, why would you do something that causes negative feelings such as stress, anxiety, fear and discomfort? However, leaving your comfort zone is very beneficial.
If you are willing to try new things then you don’t restrict yourself. If you want to get ahead in your career then putting yourself forward and learning new skills will improve your chances of promotion. If you want to make new friends and find love then attending events increases your chances of meeting people.
Easier to deal with unexpected change
When you purposely put yourself out of your comfort zone, you learn how to deal with your anxiety and stress more effectively. This makes it easier for you to cope with unexpected or new changes that occur. Give yourself practice in dealing with negative feelings on your own terms so you are more prepared to deal with situations that are out of your control.
After we have done something we are scared or nervous about we get a great sense of achievement. This boosts our confidence and makes it easier to push our boundaries again in the future. The more we achieve, the more confident we become.
How to leave that comfort zone behind
Say “yes” more often – Agree to more opportunities. If you get invited to an event, say “yes” even if you don’t know anybody.
Don’t make excuses – If an opportunity presents itself, don’t make excuses for why you can’t do it. Instead of talking yourself out of things, talk yourself into them.
Learn to view fear differently – Instead of feeling scared about what could go wrong, get excited about what could happen when everything goes right.
Create challenges for yourself – Set yourself small challenges to push your boundaries. If you find talking to people hard, set yourself a challenge to speak to one new person every day.
Embrace your mistakes – Don’t let it put you off when things go wrong. Learn from your mistakes or from bad experiences and use them to do things better next time.
Record your achievements – Keep a journal and every day, record everything you have achieved no matter how small it may seem.
Take the next step today
If you struggle with your confidence or don’t know how to move to the next stage then I can help. Together, we will explore what is causing your fear and unlock the skills you need to overcome it. I can help you build your confidence, make the changes you want in life and leave your comfort zone behind.
Take the first step out of your comfort zone by contacting me today.