Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

When I was about 12, my mom told me she admired my aunt because my aunt was not afraid to try new things. Because of that, my aunt often had some great experiences and created amazing things in and around her house. She didn’t think twice about stepping out of her comfort zone.

I took that as a goal for my life, and it’s lead me many different directions: I’ve tried motocross racing, raising and milking goats – I even thrilled at a move to Southern California while pregnant with our fourth child.

The new things I’m trying at this time seem quite tame when compared to past adventures, but they’re still taking me out of my comfort zone and into learning and growth.

A person usually goes through four stages when stepping out of your comfort zone:

  1. Uncertainty – You have a desire to try something new, but you’re not certain you want to go to that much trouble or take that much risk to your comfort zone.
  2. Excitement – You’ve decided to try it, and you feel excited (and maybe a little bit nervous) about what might happen.
  3. Frustration – You get into the middle of it, and it’s not going as planned: it’s harder than you thought, you realize you need more knowledge or skill, it takes more time and effort than you planned.
  4. Growth – You finish what you started and either you see success or not. Either way, you’ve learned something about yourself and you can grow from it or retreat; it’s your choice.

The four steps can be a guide for stepping out of your comfort zone.

Some people never want to go through the uncertainty of trying something new – they see those four steps as reasons to never try anything that might take them from their comfort zones.

I see those four steps as a way of dealing with the uncertainty – if you know what will happen, you can plan to work through it.

Stepping out of your comfort zone seems risky, but it can also be a time of growth and learning.

Each of my (sometimes crazy) experiences taught me more about myself, and gave me a greater sense of what I really want for my life. The successes gave me encouragement and the not-so-successes gave me strength.

This week try to find one thing you can do that takes you from your comfort zone – even if it’s just trying a new recipe or hair style. Little steps can lead to big changes!