Getting out of Your Comfort Zone

A person standing at the edge of a cliff, looking out at a vast, expansive landscape.

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”—Roy T. Bennett

When did you last purposely step out of your comfort zone? For me, it’s almost every day. Not always in big ways, like the first podcast I did, the first newsletter I made, or the first person I hired.

Some days it’s just about trying a new recipe for dinner, using a different pen, or wearing different shoes. You get the idea.

Every day, I deliberately do things that push me out of my comfort zone. You might wonder, why would you do that, Dan? What’s the point of making yourself uncomfortable?

The truth is, when you step out of your comfort zone, you’re helping yourself grow. And when you do it intentionally, you get to decide where you grow.

Think about it. If you want to improve at public speaking, the best thing you can do is get on other platforms, get interviewed, or join a group like Toastmasters and speak to a crowd.

If you want to improve and meet new clients, you could begin by saying “hi” or “how are you today?” to strangers in the store, on the street, or in a restaurant. Next time you eat out, try telling the waiter a bit about yourself. Practice introducing yourself to strangers.

If you don’t act on purpose, you might end up feeling uncomfortable in a way you don’t like. In any case, God has a way of nudging us out of our comfort zone from time to time.

I often get asked, “Dan, why do you keep pushing your comfort zone?”

My answer is straightforward. I push beyond my comfort zone because I want to grow. I enjoy making progress and moving forward. The best way to do that is by challenging yourself.

Here are some tips to help you step out of your comfort zone:

  • Make a list of something you’d like to achieve in the next year. This is helpful because if you don’t know what you want, it’s hard to start moving in the right direction.

Here are some ideas: talk to strangers, start a podcast, go live on Facebook or IGTV, talk to people of the opposite sex, create great presentations, speak in front of lots of people, and more.

  • Begin with something easy. If you want to speak in front of people, don’t start with a big event. For example, if you’ve never spoken in front of a group, don’t plan a massive event and make yourself the main speaker.

Begin with a small group, like 2–5 people, having drinks. Then, try speaking to a small and friendly group in a local organization, such as a Grange meeting. Next, give a presentation to children, like at your local school or to a group of 4-H kids. After that, organize your event and invite a small group of around 10–25 people. Then, speak at someone else’s event for their group. Finally, gradually speak in front of larger and larger groups until you feel comfortable with it.

  • Don’t wait; start today. One of our biggest problems as people is that we let fear control what we do.

When we’re scared to make a video and share it, we often delay it until we say, “Oh well, I guess we’re not supposed to make that video.” Instead of that, just do it right away.

When I started recording videos on my phone, it was scary! I mean, I was terrified. It was so difficult to press the record button. And after I recorded a few, it was even harder to share them.

After I shared them, I started getting feedback. Some friends commented on the videos, encouraging me to keep sharing knowledge. Now, a year later, I’m comfortable making those videos, and I don’t hesitate to post them. I’d encourage everyone to follow my YouTube channel.

  • Talk about your difficulties. It’s hard to admit where we struggle. For some reason, we’re wired to believe that others don’t have the same struggles as us.

We might believe that our older brother has everything figured out, but the truth is, we rely on each other for support. When you talk about your struggles, it helps clear your mind so you can focus on moving forward.

I remember after we built our house, my brother, who’s a skilled diesel mechanic, told me how much he admired my ability to design and build things. It’s a skill he didn’t have but wished he did.

So, what did we do? We began by teaming up to build a tack room in his barn. I led the project, making sure he understood everything.

We sat together and planned the room, made a list of what we needed, got the materials, and began building. He was uncomfortable the whole time and nervous until he could see the end. Then we knew he could do it.

You won’t believe what happened next. He called and said, “Hey, I need to build a deck and stairs for my back porch. I have the plans drawn up. Could you come and check them out?”

He got a lot more confident by trying something new once, so he was ready for more! When you talk about what’s hard for you, it’s easier for others to support you.

If you never talk about your struggles, how will anyone know what you need?

  • Before and after photos and comparisons. I used to not believe in these. Until one day, my wife secretly took a picture of our messy craft area before we started organizing it.

Then she took another picture after we finished the project, with all the workstations built and everything organized.

Wow, we made such a big difference in just a few days. It’s amazing to have something to compare, so you can see how much better you’ve become by stepping out of your comfort zone.

Those before and after comparisons encourage you to keep stepping out again and again. When I look back at the first videos, I shot a year ago compared to now, what a difference! I’ve learned where to look, when to shoot, about lighting, and so much more.

Never compare yourself to anyone except the person you were yesterday!

  • Get an accountability partner or join a group. When someone else knows your plan, they can help you stay on track.

A good idea is to schedule a weekly Zoom call with a group, so you can all help each other stay accountable for your goals.

This one scares a lot of people.

But if you handle it right, it’s not a bad thing at all. In our group, we never judge.

If someone doesn’t meet their goals for a week for stepping out of their comfort zone, we all ask what we can do to help, or we simply give them support by reminding them of how far they’ve come and that they can do it because they’ve done so much more in the past.

Hopefully, these tips will help you take uncomfortable action very soon. Let me know if you want to join our accountability group. I’d be happy to chat and see if you’d be a good fit for us.

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