How many times have you heard “step outside your comfort zone” or “get comfortable being uncomfortable”? This is language you use when you’re trying to get ourselves (or others) to grow. If you want to grow, you have to learn to be uncomfortable being in that area of uncertainty.
There’s a lot of uncertainty when you go where others haven’t. So how can you expand your comfort zone? Here’s what I did: Last weekend I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane – yes, skydiving. I’m terrified of heights, so this isn’t something I’d normally be interested in. My daughter asked me to go and my initial thought was NO. Then I thought, how can I continue to ask others to get comfortable being uncomfortable if I am not willing to expand my comfort zone? Time to walk the walk.If you want to grow, you have to learn to be uncomfortable being in that area of uncertainty. Click To Tweet
Here’s how I made it through:
- I controlled my focus. I thought about all those who have gone before me. I thought about folks like our military who do this in situations requiring far more courage than this highly controlled jump. Thinking about that, I said to myself, “If you don’t do it, you’re a wuss!” I used some negative leverage to help control my focus.
- I changed my story. When fear creeps in, I change my story…I create a mantra. Something like “I am strong, I am resourceful, I am fearless” which swells to keep fear and negative thoughts from entering my mind.
- I changed my physiology. I stood up strong, I acted brave, I put my shoulders back and just stepped into it. And then I jumped.
I’ve used this process for twenty years in various situations. What’s your process? What works for you? I challenge you to intentionally expand your comfort zone this week: Where do you need to step outside your comfort zone this week? What scares the heck out of you, but you know you need to do it to get better? The one thing I know is that if you practice stepping outside of your comfort zones, you will get better at it.
PS – I go into more detail in the video above. And if you want to experience the jump with me, the check out my video on the Skydive Dallas site!