Whether it’s the same hairstyle or management style, it gets too easy to establish a comfort zone around routines and a manner of getting things done. But when this keeps up for too long, that comfort zone can feel suffocating and even hamper your personal and professional growth. Taking a leap is scary, but there are little ways that you can use to build up your confidence and start to work your way out of your comfort zone. Here are five of our favorite techniques.
1. Have an open and honest dialogue about issues you’ve been reluctant to address.
Having an open dialogue entails asking tough questions, whether they’re about your clients or yourself. What’s holding you back? What are the issues that you feel could be holding you back in your business growth or attaining your personal goals? If you’ve been dragging your feet on pitching that publication or avoiding that work event you don’t actually want to go to, being open and honest in addressing the problem head-on will get you out of that complacent comfort zone.
2. Shake up your routines.
Have you always stuck with the same shade of lipstick because you felt other ones didn’t do your skin tone or face shape justice? Try a new one! Take a different route to work or other places that you frequent and see what new places you’ll discover. You might have a pattern that you consistently follow, but breaking this pattern can introduce you to new people and insights even if it’s something as small as deciding you like different coffee blends in the morning.
3. Meet new people and have conversations with strangers.
Comfortable relationships with trusted family members, friends, romantic partners and work colleagues are often the bedrock of our daily lives. But you also need to meet new people and get perspectives that are impartial, as well as brand new. Have a conversation with a total stranger at a co-working space or networking event, or simply strike up a conversation at a public place like a park, library or restaurant. You don’t have to have the deepest conversation about crucial topics: Simply getting a new perspective on anything from entertainment preferences to your favorite foods can make you think about these seemingly familiar things very differently, and thus push you out of your comfort zone.
4. Try something that you wouldn’t have normally considered.
Do you have that friend who’s always trying to get you to run a marathon with them? Or maybe you always wanted to give video content for your business a try, but felt too camera-shy at the prospect?
Take that risk and go for it! You’ll only get out of your comfort zone if you try new things, and there’s no better way to do that than by trying something you wouldn’t have thought of before. It can be a new business strategy or proposing an idea to your manager, or something on the personal front like doing volunteer work for the weekend or joining a friend in a hobby they love but you never tried. Even if doesn’t go well, you’ll feel stronger and confident for having tried, plus you can walk away from the experience with a new story to tell.
5. Give up control of something in your life, even if it’s just a little.
We like to have control over how we run our businesses and lives. But sometimes you need to let someone else take the wheel and challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. You might like to answer emails a certain way, but hiring a virtual assistant could be mandatory if your inbox starts to pile up. Tired of dusty windowsills and dinner never being ready? It could be time to hire a housekeeper, even if you like having things done just so.
By snapping out of the way you normally do things, you enlarge your worldview and become more confident and resilient in the process.