“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Fear is what holds us back – fear of the unknown, fear of making a choice, fear of indecision. As Roosevelt said, it can paralyze you.
Fear reared its ugly head for me in the latter half of 2015, when I held an executive position with a technology company. I was looking at stepping out of my comfort zone from having a well-paid job to launch my own coaching and consulting business. I had a strong desire to follow my passions – but I had no solid prospects or promise of income!
I took the leap in December 2015 and branched out on my own. What followed was a glorious year of ups and downs (mostly ups), and much learning. I don’t regret a single moment.
Here Are 5 Ways To Help You Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
1. Face Fear Head-On
Listen to your voice from deep within.
Before I took the leap to start my own business, my fears showed up in the form ‘what ifs’. What if I didn’t make enough money? What if I didn’t get any clients? What if my business failed? What if I wasn’t a good coach?
My voice from deep within was telling me that I had to make a change in my life. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my job at the time. I began to look at the ‘what ifs’ to provide answers.
Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen?
So what if I failed! So what if I didn’t get any clients! Then what? I knew I wasn’t dealing with life or death. If it all fell apart, I would still be alive and healthy in the end.
I had already worked with a number of clients during my first year of training. I chose to focus on the truth in the form of positive feedback I received from them, rather than the fears in my head. Fear is fueled by false beliefs.
The more I faced my fears head-on and challenged them, the more I realized they didn’t have power over me anymore.
Truth versus lies.
The next time you want to step out of your comfort zone to make a change in your life, step through each scenario and imagine a positive outcome. Challenge your fears and ask yourself if they are based on truth or lies.
You can challenge your fears on your own, OR you can seek out help, as I did.
2. Ask for Help
Find a coach.
I began working with a life coach in September 2015. She was a non-biased supporter in my corner who reminded me of the gifts I had to offer the world. She helped me to clear my limiting beliefs and encouraged me to focus on the positive aspects of myself. Focusing on the positive helps to quash the little voice of fear that wants to creep back in.
I sought out information online and also connected with others who had already accomplished what I intended to do. I attended networking events with other social entrepreneurs to feel supported within my new community. People were encouraging me to take the leap into the unknown.
We are all connected.
We all have something to offer. We often share many of the same hopes and struggles. When we come together as a community, we share our wisdom to learn from one another and to grow together. Connecting with others will help you find the courage and support to step out of your comfort zone.
3. Stay Grounded Through Personal Practice
Find stillness in meditation.
I have daily meditation and yoga practice that keeps me grounded and connected to my heart. Sitting quietly on my yoga mat each day enables me to discern the many voices in my head and to listen to the ones that are speaking from my soul.
My meditation practice helped me to become comfortable with the idea that I could leave my job when I was truly ready. I’ve been impulsive in the past and have pressured myself to make rapid change. Knowing that I had the choice to leave whenever I wanted took the pressure off. It helped me ease into the transition of entrepreneurship, allowing me to take the leap when it felt right.
Observe your mind.
For me, meditation is not about sitting still until my mind clears. It’s observing its inner workings and detaching from the thought process itself. You may still have thoughts, ideas, and emotions arising in your mind when you are in a meditative state. However, you will be less disturbed by them and they won’t distract your focus. This will come in very handy once you step out of your comfort zone.
Don’t give up.
If you’re new to meditation, trying sitting for 2-3 minutes at first and focus on your breathing. If you notice yourself getting distracted and wanting to do everything but sit still, this is completely normal. Don’t give up at the first sign of discomfort. The benefits of meditation are experienced over time.
4. Trust in the Divine
Have faith in something bigger than you.
It wasn’t just my meditation practice that gave me the courage to step outside of my comfort zone, it was my faith that no matter what, I know the Universe has my back, that everything is always working out for me.
Balance effort and allowing.
I’m an action-oriented person. Thus, I have challenges giving up control and waiting for the allowing part to happen. I knew that I would have my own business one day and that I didn’t have to force it to happen.
The allowance came from slowing down to make space for a greater force of creation to support me. Whether you call it Source, God, the Divine, or something else, is up to you. I think of this force as an infinite presence that exists all around me, within nature and within myself.
Feel the outcome before it arrives.
Imagine that everything is possible and there are no barriers holding you back. See yourself as if you have already found the courage and taken the leap into the unknown. What does it look like, feel like, smell like? Revel in the feelings that you already have of where you want to be. You are sending a message to the Universe that you are ready to step out of your comfort zone.
5. Take Action
Take the next smallest step.
At the end of November 2015, I woke up one day and decided it was the day I was going to hand in my notice at my job. My next smallest step towards taking the leap was to write my resignation letter. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was looking forward to the future.
On the practical side, I had saved up enough money to survive on for a year. I knew I would not have to sacrifice much in the way of lifestyle. Having savings meant I could focus on my new business and not let financial worry creep in.
Have a plan.
Nothing will happen in your life if you don’t take action. If you have a plan in place and can break it down into small, manageable steps, it helps to take away the feeling of overwhelm when you are faced with making a change. Tackle your plan one step at a time and make adjustments along the way. Plans are meant to be flexible.
Let go of the idea of failure.
Coming back to fear, fear of failure is what commonly stops many people from taking the first step. Failure exists only if you let it. You are NOT defined by mistakes.
What if failure could be considered an opportunity to learn and a chance to change course on your path? Since there are many different ways to reach the end goal, your cue as to when you may be off course is when you are NOT feeling at ease with yourself.
When this happens, stay still and ask yourself what is the next smallest step you can take. Take it, and then step out of your comfort zone today!