Your Comfort Zone is Holding You Back

Life by Design, Mindset, Uplevel • May 13, 2024

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Brian Tracy

According to Wikipedia, the comfort zone is defined as “a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance.” Wow! Notice those words; anxiety-neutral, limited and steady. Does that sound like a place you can flourish and be your best self?

As a very young child, we develop patterns, routines and thoughts that become deeply rooted survival mechanisms. They have shaped our character, how we show up in this world and the types of decisions we make. For example, if you grew up in a house that was always loud, chaotic and unpredictable, you will either recreate that in your adult life, because it’s your comfort zone or you will swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and be rigid, controlled and ultra-organized. Either way, your experiences as a child have created your reality as an adult.

My comfort zone was all about having control and portraying an image of perfection. I upheld that for years. For others, it may be staying in a dysfunctional relationship because dysfunction is all you’ve ever known. I once had a conversation with a young man, probably around 24, who had been in a relationship for 3 years. His partner wanted marriage and kids. He knew she wasn’t the one. However, he was more fearful of ending it and moving on than he was of staying in an unhappy relationship. It had become comfortable and he wasn’t willing to get uncomfortable. But there’s a cost to staying comfortable.

When we’re comfortable, we are not learning or growing. We’re not having the necessary difficult conversations with ourselves and others. Pause for a moment to reflect on your routines, daily thoughts and your choices. Are you noticing a pattern? Do you feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day? It’s shocking, right?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

Relationships: 

  • Are my relationships serving me? 
  • Are they meaningful? 
  • Do they challenge me? 
  • Is there open communication and healthy boundaries? 
  • Do they light me up and fill my cup?

Career: 

  • Am I happy and fulfilled in my job? 
  • Am I constantly learning new skills and growing? 
  • Do I have a clearly defined trajectory or goal? 
  • Do I love waking up and doing my life’s work? 
  • Does it fill my cup?

Habits: 

  • Do I make a practice of trying new things like food, activities or entering spaces to meet new people? 
  • Am I finding ways to grow daily? 
  • Am I actively learning new skills?
  • When’s the last time I did something that made me wildly uncomfortable?

You are only confined by the walls you build yourself. You can survive in your comfort zone, but if you truly want to thrive, you must be willing to get uncomfortable. Are you willing to step outside those walls and see what wonderful things are on the other side? This week, challenge yourself to change at least one thing and watch the magic unfold.

Here’s to another week of living your life by design, not by default!

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