It can be a challenge in itself actually getting ourselves into a routine, holding it together, being Project Managers to our own lives. It can feel like a never ending hamster wheel of keeping up with the to-do lists, family events, staying in touch with friends, being a supportive partner, all whilst trying to stay in employment and living in a fairly respectable, clean and tidy house (maybe evenings only) all at the same time.
And yet, we are surrounded by inspirational quotes everywhere, telling us to challenge ourselves by taking a step out of our comfort zone, try new things, pursue new interests and break from routine.
But being within our comfort zone offers security and steadily gets us through life with hopefully minimal stress as we seek to accomplish and achieve what we know and feel comfortable with.
However, there are studies to suggest that stepping out of our comfort zone and increasing the levels of anxiety we feel, makes us able to maximise how well we perform and motivates us to push to the next level.
Too much anxiety though can lead to a negative effect, causing too much stress to perform – so it’s a fine balance.
I was recently asked to do something that pushed me out of my comfort zone which involved public speaking. Now, to many this is something they do regularly and relish the opportunity. Having been put on the spot, my heart was racing and a sea of faces looked on expectantly, awaiting to hear me deliver a (completely unplanned) speech on why I was there.
I started small, tried to relax and as I went through it found myself talking for a few minutes on a subject I am very passionate about.
Despite feeling I was out of my comfort zone, I did start to enjoy it!
Yes, I sat down afterwards feeling like I could have elaborated on some points, articulated my views a little better but I tried to remain unfazed and calm. The best part… I had a number of people from the audience come and seek me out afterwards to say they found my words inspiring. This made me feel completely different about being out of my comfort zone. I left feeling like I had achieved something that day and learnt that when you speak from the heart, you are you, stripped down, open to all and sometimes planning isn’t needed when you speak your mind.
Increase your sense of achievement and try to step out (or at least expand) your comfort zone every once in a while and see what it teaches you.
For when those inspiration quotes spur you onto to embrace something new, here are our YOU ARE YOU top five tips:
- Switch up the everyday routine. This could involve taking a different route to work or taking your kids to a new playground. Refresh what you see on a daily basis to keep your senses stimulated.
- Change your pace. If you are rushing here, there and everywhere it can feel uncomfortable to slow down a little. If you take a different pace you have more time to observe and think. Allow yourself thinking space and discover how you really feel or react to the world around you.
- Identify your fears. If you know what you dread the most, you can start to challenge whether that is something you would like to change. Take small steps, it doesn’t have to be a big jump. If you find you are socially awkward or shy, aim to chat to one other person before you leave, not everyone! Remember, that it’s not about making mistakes or failure, it’s about trying.
- Learn a new skill or language. Setting ourselves goals and trying something new means we venture into the unknown and learn what our likes/dislikes and strengths/weaknesses are. Look for a local art class or book club to see if you could find a new interest.
- Utilise the YOU ARE YOU community for support with life coaching. Improve your lifestyle through many different therapies and support groups which can help banish fear and anxiety over anything from public speaking to career changes.