When was the last time you stepped (or leaped) out of your comfort zone and tried something new?
Last year? Last month? Last week?
I hear you - I want to stay in my comfort zone, too!
Everyone needs to spend time in their comfort zones to allow recharging and reflecting. We just can’t stay there too long. When we're in our comfort zones we feel at ease, which is a great place to be. In order to experience growth, we need to feel some levels of discomfort and awkwardness.
Two years ago, I accompanied my husband on his annual scuba diving trip. For those of you who don't know, I cannot swim. I have been working on overcoming my fear of being in water above my knees. I decided to leap out of my comfort zone and take advantage of an opportunity to swim and play with dolphins. Dolphins are friendly and love to play. This experience was way out of my comfort zone, but I have great photos and memories of my time spent with a very smart and intuitive dolphin. Yes, that's me receiving a big, wet kiss from my new friend!
Personal and professional growth requires that we push out of our comfort zones and into a responsible risk-taking zone.
It will feel uncomfortable and scary, but in the responsible risk-taking zone, we gain confidence, strength, and courage by expanding our possibilities.
When stepping out of your comfort zone, it is important to identify your sources of support. The sources of support will help you not develop fear and panic during your moments of discomfort or times of feeling awkward. I was blessed that my daughter and a very close friend was with me as I stepped out of my comfort zone and swam with the dolphins.
This week, I encourage you to stop for a moment and consider one thing you can do to step (or leap) out of your comfort zone and go after something you want! Ask others for help by stating your wants and making a specific request of how you may need support. The following five steps and questions may help you as you enter the responsible risk-taking zone:
Awareness: Recognition of, and the desire to make a change. What do you like about where you are now? What do you want to learn or try? What do you want to change?
Visualization: What are the possible outcomes? What is the importance of the outcomes? What obstacles will you face? What resources do you have for support?
Identification: Make a list of action steps to manage stepping out of your comfort zone. How will you take care of yourself while working on your action steps? Describe your life after taking these steps.
Action: Actively change your behavior by moving from your comfort zone into responsible risk-taking zone. Who will be your support? What will motivate you? How will you reward yourself after achieving your action steps?
Evaluation: What are the outcomes? What did you learn? What are your next steps? What are your next responsible risks?
Keep in mind stepping out of your comfort zone and into a responsible risk-taking zone is a continuous loop with endless possibilities. The above five-step process will support you as you walk to the edge of your responsible risk-taking zone and take a positive leap toward what you want.
I wish you days of gratitude, curiosity and compassion. Let me know how I can help you.