The magic happens outside of your comfort zone.
I bet you’ve heard that more times than you’d like to count. While there’s definitely some wisdom and value in this, I think it could use some tweaking. I mean, who doesn’t want to be comfortable, am I right?
Forget stepping out of your comfort zone. Try expanding it, instead.
Let me explain.
By stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something when you’re not feeling aligned, you’re often setting yourself up for disappointment. No one’s saying wait until you’re feeling 100% absolutely ready to do something (and sometimes, things do work out when you just take the leap) – but there’s a place in between.
When something makes me scared AND excited, I know it’s going to be great for me. So I start aligning myself to the idea of doing it with meditation, visualization and just overall happy thoughts. By doing this, I don’t need to “step out of my comfort zone” – because I’ve expanded it.
As soon as I have the idea, I start to feel good about it, before I take action. Except of course, for the times when the pull of that idea is so strong I have no hesitation at all.
Something that’s really helped me was an idea that Liz Gilbert shared in her book, Big Magic. She explains that your fear is never going to leave you, and that’s ok. You can let it take the back seat in your ride – just don’t give up the driver’s seat to your fear.
Again, this falls into the notion of aligning to a new idea. You gotta take a moment to say, “fear, listen I know you want protect me but I’m ready to spread my wings. You can come along for the ride, but you’re not making the decisions here.”
So how can you start expanding your comfort zone today? Do little things to shake up your routine.
If you tend to be more sedentary, get moving.
If you tend to be on the quiet side, start speaking up when you’re really passionate about something.
If you tend to play it on the safe side, take a small risk, today.
No one’s saying you should stay hidden away until the day you feel ready to do something that scares you – which may be never. But you don’t need to jump right in either if you’re feeling more than shaky about it.
Aligning yourself to the vision of that thing, before taking action on it, is a big and important step in expanding your comfort zone.
For example, a few months ago, I was considering working with a business coach. I’d thought about it for so long, and every time I’d have a consult with someone, I’d chicken out and run away. I’ve kept my business expenses lean, so the thought of investing a relatively large amount of money for a month or two of working with someone scared me.
But I let the thought marinade in my mind. I thought about all the success I could experience by working with someone who was more experienced than me and who knew things I didn’t.
When I had the consult with the latest coach prospect, I got feeling good about all the possibilities before our call. Then afterwards, I journaled and meditated to line up with the decision of working with her. The conclusion I came to was that investing in myself was definitely not a waste and that this would be as good of a decision as I make of it.
And it was.
Had I gone in with an attitude of this may fail, I may be wasting my time and my money, etc. I wouldn’t have been open to all that I could learn, because fear would be in my way.
You might do the same when it comes to dating for example. Let’s say that going online really freaks you out, but you know deep down there’s something in it for you, you could take baby steps.
First, start telling yourself that this isn’t so serious and that you can simply shut down your account if it doesn’t feel right to you. Then be frank enough to say, there’s really nothing to lose. Then have a girl’s night and setup your account with a friend and a glass of wine. Have fun with the idea, lineup with the idea, feel good about it and then go for it! This is the process of expanding.
It’s a simple perspective shift from stepping out of your comfort zone, to expanding it.
Try new things that challenge you, and take the time to align to those things. You don’t have to feel completely ready, but it’s a good idea to have some good feelings about it, first.
Peace, love and expanding your comfort zone,