Comfort zones are just that: Comfy. Soft. Squishy. Relaxing. That is all well and good if you are all set with your job. Your relationship. Your home. Your education. You name it.
However, if you are thinking about using your creative juice, making plans, setting goals and otherwise getting out there and on the move, you know that comfort equals death. As in comfortably numb (isn't that a song?...). If that is the case, then let's get you up out of that overstuffed chair and out onto the open road. Ready? Achtung, kids, we are leaving the comfort zone... NOW!
Step One Decide This step may be done from the comfort of the comfy chair, no worries. Just don't take all year! Give yourself a deadline to consider your options. What happens if your plan works? What happens if it doesn't work this time? Is this the right step, in the right direction? Decide.
Step Two Remember, if it doesn't kill you, it will make you tougher. It won't kill you. (Um, if you choose to leave the C-Zone for something that could actually kill you, well, that's another area altogether, one that I am not trained to help with. We are NOT talking about dangerous, life-threatening actions here.) Really -- doing something different or differently will not bring about the end of the world. So just relax and enjoy the ride.
Step Three Ask yourself whether you will regret sitting comfortably in that chair for the rest of your life. What will you be missing out on or giving up if you just sit there all the time? Will you bore yourself to tears? Miss out on that fantastic guided tour of China? Never experience love again? Think about it. Is remaining in the C-Zone really all that great in comparison?
Step Four Put yourself first We women hear this all the time. We know it makes sense. But do we really take this advice to heart? It is NOT selfish to take care of yourself, to get enough rest, exercise and good nutrition. It does NOT make you a bad mommy if you go out with the girls one night a month, or have a date with your partner once a week. It does NOT make you a bad person if you say no to the fifth or sixth or seventh group requesting your precious volunteer time. There is only so much of you to go around! When you put yourself first, you can hear your own voice. Not Negative Nellie, not Self-Righteous Sally, not Lizard Brain Liz. Just you. What are you saying? What do you REALLY want??
Step Five Take baby steps No need to take extra giant leaps here, not if you are out of practice and not if you are looking to make small changes. Decide on tiny increments and make your road a gentle path rather than a speeding Autobahn. It's okay. We don't all have to be Oprah.
Step Six No excuses Enough said.
Step Seven Do something Anything! Anything related to whatever it is you are shaking up. Want to go back to school to be a nurse? Contact some local schools and request info packets. Want to renovate your bathroom? Go to the hardware store and pick up some paint samples. Want to change your career? Get online and start digging for possibilities. Then see what happens.
Step Eight Do something NEW Make a new friend. Try a new food. Walk differently. Last weekend, my daughter and I were in NYC, walking down the sidewalk when suddenly she suggested we try walking "mindfully". It started out as joke (mindfulness is not exactly my action-oriented 11 year old girl's fave subject), but it turned out great. We slowed our pace WAY down, lifting and lowering our feet ridiculously slowly. We were laughing the whole time (I think we also made a few passersby laugh, too) but it made us totally slow down and appreciate the fact that we were WALKING DOWN THE STREET IN NYC!!! This was NOT our comfort zone but WOW, it was FUN! Doing something different or just doing something differently can give you the change in perspective you need to make the change you desire.
Ready to get up out of that comfy chair?
BTW, "get out of your comfort zone" is just a comfy way of saying, "take a risk" or "take a chance". Will you try it?