Staying in a secure and known space. Is it good or bad? It is simply monotonous. We become static or passive as we don't develop our skills. We don't grow. So the question is: is your comfort zone making you happy or are you simply staying there because of fear?
Getting out of our comfort zone is scary as it is a routine change, a step towards the unknown and this makes us feel weak. Nevertheless, it is also a way to make mistakes and learn new things, which is the positive part that we never see.
Wearing always the same clothes style, consuming the same kind of content (books, movies, etc.), keeping our boring job because it is well-paid, not listening to others opinions just because we disagree, not trying any new activity as we think we won't be good at it, etc. Do you relate to any of these? Then welcome to the comfort-zone club!
Why are we afraid of getting out of our comfort zone?
- Uncertainty: we don't want to take different decisions or change our way of thinking.
- Face discomfort: we are reluctant to new learning processes.
- A comfort zone simply means comfort.
- Face problems when there is no choice. For example, If we have a boring but secure job, we simply keep it. Nevertheless, if our job doesn't pay enough to manage our expenses, we hunt for another one no matter how much effort we need to put on it. The same happens with health. We will keep eating unhealthy and gaining weight till we get health issues. From that point, we will start adopting healthy habits although we hate them.
- Fear of criticism: what will others say or think about us?
- Fear of failure: what if we don't succeed?
All previous fears are also a way to procrastinate but what can we lose? Why don't we ask ourselves instead: what will I learn if I step out of my comfort zone? If we try and fail we will always have the chance to try again. Stepping out of our comfort zone means that things will start to get out of our control at some point because they are new, different. Failure is just an external opinion about how things should be done. Nevertheless, we can learn something from every experience. Every step out of the comfort zone is a step closer to the growth zone.
There is an inspiring talk that I really recommend from Brené Brown called The power of vulnerability. Brené is a researcher who talks about shame, which is the fear of disconnection.
Normally when we think of vulnerability, we connect it to weakness. However, vulnerability is not weakness, but the birthplace of joy, innovation, creativity, belonging and love.
Brené describes vulnerability as "an emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty, our most accurate measurement of courage!”
In her words “There is no courage without vulnerability. The reason we don't connect vulnerability with courage is because of shame. Shame is the feeling of not being worthy or 'good enough'. And the reason we avoid stepping out of our comfort zones is a fear of vulnerability.”
Brené encourages us to embrace vulnerability and stop controlling or predicting things. We should also say to ourselves we are enough in order to stop screaming, start listening and be kind to ourselves.
So what do you say? Would you like to stay in your comfort zone or would you rather step into the GROWTH ZONE?