It’s said that to be your best, you must get out of your comfort zone.
So then, the place you are looking for must be your … discomfort zone?
So how do you find it? Where is it? If you’ve not been there before, how do you know when you find it?
And lastly, once you’ve been there a while and adjusted, does it simply become your “comfort zone” again?
It takes planning. So it helps to have little signposts to spot along the way to let you know you are on course. Here are four:
1) Don’t Ignore ‘Check Engine’ Light
You know you’re ready to embark on your journey to discomfort when you realize you’ve been ignoring that little “Check Engine” light that’s been on in your life, highlighting your feelings of discontent.
That’s not necessarily negative. It’s true the “check engine” light tells you something is wrong. But it also comes programmed with a series of steps to fix the problem, if you use the proper tools.
In much the same way, those feelings of unease can lead to a new life of purpose.
If we’re paying attention, discontent tells us that something is amiss. And that might be exactly what we need to redirect.
2) Swim Away From The Reef
One of the best analogies about how people end up in enormous comfort zones is a lesson from my college Psych 101 course about coral reefs. Reefs start tiny, being built by teeny coral as they create their exoskeletons.
But they end up by building massive barriers of rock all around them. Life in and around the reef is safe, productive, friendly. The environment came about so gradually, who noticed?
But those that did realized things outside appear rough and stormy, full of great unknowns.
Leaving the reef is leaving the zone. New things await.
3) Break The Habit: Un-know Yourself
The ancient Greeks long ago cornered the market on the popular philosophic phrase: “Know Yourself.”
But when you want to leave your comfort zone, you must un-know yourself.
That can be even harder. Here’s why.
The traditional maxim of “know yourself” represents your past success and strengths. It means you have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again.
That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.
But now, to explore the idea that new and greater success lies ahead, you may have to give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits, and try new ways of thinking and acting. You must “un-know” yourself.
4) Dare To Kiss A Few Frogs
It’s big. It’s ugly. It’s scary.
Who wouldn’t naturally hesitate when staring down such an unappealing task, like kissing a slimy, cold, croaking amphibian.
But what a payoff! And what’s the worst that could happen?
Don’t answer that. Just dive in.
Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: Do one thing every day that scares you.