Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone One Step at a Time
Stop waiting to feel comfortable and go for ‘okay.' Where okay means you won't die or get seriously injured. It exists just a few steps outside your comfort zone. The nature of “uncomfortable” is such that you won't feel comfortable there, especially on your first trip. Waiting for the discomfort to magically morph into your comfort zone won't happen even after eternity arrives.”
I shared these thoughts during a workshop on career networking “I like it,” declared Melissa McCurry, who works in semiconductor sales. “It takes the pressure off. I don't need to feel comfortable, just okay.”
Then she offered the following story.
“I used to be painfully shy and uncomfortable talking to people I didn't know. I was told that I needed to “get comfortable”. But how? The solution was to put myself in a situation where I would be forced to talk to people, so I decided to get a job as a waitress. I thought by doing this, I would increase my comfort zone.”
Color Melissa's approach red for brilliant. She created a low risk situation to experiment with something that frightened her. It's like to learning to walk a tightrope with a safety net under you. She didn't need the waitress job. Her future didn't depend on it, and she'd probably never see many of her experimental subjects again. Here, in this safe environment, she could test new behaviors, and she did. Meeting Mellisa for the first time, in this workshop, I would not have guessed she ever sported the shy label.
So, when you're trying to conquer something outside your comfort zone, try Melissa's approach. Find a less threatening environment for experimenting with new behaviors or old scary ones you've avoided.
Try new behaviors in manageable action chunks. You might:
1. Say “Hello” to a stranger on day 1, and if that goes “okay”
2. On day 2 you can add a question about where the person is from
3. By day 3 you might find yourself in an interesting conversation
What challenge lies outside your comfort zone?
Where is a less threatening place for you to practice?
What's the first action chunk you will test?
Author: Dr. Anne Persochel CoFounder of 3Plus International www.3plusinternational.com