Origninally published on LinkedIn February 6, 2020
I empower women to SHATTER their limiting beliefs
After years of playing small, and achieving the same results, I began to take courageous steps outside of my comfort zone and here is what I discovered.
#1 –You’re going to be uncomfortable and with each step, you will gain courage and clarity.
Every time I step outside of my comfort zone, I am usually met with resistance, from myself. At times, I am my worst critic and I can talk myself in and out of many situations. Without much effort, my brain will automatically loop me into this negative conversation about how I don’t know what I am doing. What if I fail? What if people laugh at me? What if I make a mistake? What if they reject my ideas? And down the What if trail I go. One thought at a time.
I have had to work on my mindset and the limiting beliefs that we’re keeping me stuck in a negative loop. Through a consistent meditation practice, I have been able to retrain my brain to let go of what I was resisting and open my mind up to the possibilities. This allowed me to gain clarity on why I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone; to learn more, to try new things, to get to know myself better. When I identify the reasons that I am pushing myself further, it provides me with the courage to push past the comfort, to embrace being uncomfortable in the short-term, and to continue on my path. Each time I want to give in to the disbelief, I remind myself that these are my old beliefs surfacing and that I am working on developing new habits now that keep me growing and learning and that’s going to be uncomfortable. I don’t have to give up on my plan, rather, I have to give myself time for my plan to work.
#2 – You will learn something new about yourself and this will increase your confidence.
With each step I have taken outside of my comfort zone, I have learned something new about myself. I wanted to join a fitness class with a trainer to learn different techniques, however, I had never joined a fitness class before. Doing so, would take me right out of my comfort level and would throw me into a new environment, with new people, learning new things. Again, the old beliefs and thoughts would start to pop into my mind. What if I can’t do the exercises? What if I can’t run with the group? What if I look out of place? What if I feel like giving up? And the doubt started to flood in, only this time, I reminded myself how I have been able to step outside of my comfort zone before and have achieved success. Despite being nervous, scared and full of doubt, I showed up to the first class and it proved to be a challenge. She asked me to run the track a few times in which I responded, “Who Me”? Oh no. I’m not a runner”. “I understand”, she said, “only I am here to push you past your limits.” Try it and you can stop when you want. And off I went. Here I was, running as part of my exercise routine for the first time since I was a teenager and I was able to keep up with the others! After that day, I continued to show up and each time I pushed myself past my own physical limits, I began to get gain more confidence in myself and my abilities. Since joining that class, I have completed over 30 sessions and have made new friends and my confidence continues to grow.
#3 – You will learn to embrace getting comfortable, being uncomfortable.
As my confidence and courage began to grow, so did my willingness to push past the discomfort. One skill I have been wanting to increase, is my public speaking. This has always been an area that I have struggled in and yet, I know that if I don’t push myself past the discomfort, I will stay in my comfort zone. Staying comfortable means every time I am asked to present; a rush of anxiety will come over me and I will shy away from the opportunity. Instead, I want to be proactive and begin to learn how I could express my ideas in front of others, without giving in to the anxiety and losing my train of thought. With a lump in my throat, I signed up for and attended my first public speaking class. That night, I thought I was going to pass out from the discomfort. When I was called up to say a few words, I could feel the sweat dripping down my back. I managed to say a few things and quickly sat down; mentally exhausted from the fear. And as I looked around, and heard others speak, I recognized that they were just as scared, just as awkward and had just as much anxiety. No one in that room felt completely comfortable, yet here they were, showing up, despite the discomfort. I thought to myself, “if they can show up, so can I”. Since becoming a member in April 2019, I continue to show up to practice and gain new skills along the way.
I have come to learn that each time I push myself past my level of comfort, I grow in confidence, courage and clarity and these traits allow me to learn more about myself, to trust myself and to believe in myself. When we possess that inner belief in ourselves, that is when the real magic happens as we begin to take chances on ourselves and believe that we can achieve the results we desire.
No one said it was going to be easy. No one said it was going to be comfortable. What many others have said and do say, is that by going out of your comfort zone, you begin to learn more about yourself. You begin to take risks, you begin to lean in to the discomfort and grow past your current level of success.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to step outside of their comfort zone? Share the lessons you have you learned.
If you are interested in stepping outside of your comfort zone and want some coaching along the way, send me a DM as I offer 1:1 coaching sessions via zoom.
One step at a time, I left my comfort zone and discovered myself along the way.