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5 Success Strategies to Finally Leave the Comfort Zone Behind

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The familiarity and absence of stress or tension are defining hallmarks of being within our own unique comfort zone.  However, our greatest achievements and successes typically seem to happen, at that moment, when we decided to move outside of it.  It’s in those moments when we are taking action or accomplishing something that stretches us beyond those areas that we’re already familiar or comfortable with that we achieve our greatest successes.  There is also typically some sort of stressful element involved, but it’s a kind of stress that we’re later glad we experienced in order to attain a previously unexperienced and new level of success in our lives.

It has been a challenge for me, particularly as the years pass, to move outside of my own comfort zone.  At times, I find I’m less willing to take the chances that I would have easily opted in for during for example, my early twenties.  I think that’s why it’s even more important as we get older to make a regular practice of regularly moving outside of what has become our current comfort zone.  These are five strategies that have helped me to do just that.

1. Commit To Something New

Make a decision to go for something new.  This could be a new career, a course, a change of location, a different way of seeing the world etc.  Think about something that you’ve always wanted to try and then make a commitment to following through and pursuing it.  However, avoid the tendency to devote too much time to pondering the pros and cons of committing to that new thing in your life that you’ve always dreamed of someday achieving.  Make an informed decision, by all means.  

However, if you’ve been considering something for a long time, it’s likely that you’ve already given a lot of thought to whether this is something that you really want in your life or not.  Commit to it now rather than giving the mind time to come up with reasons why you shouldn’t follow through.  The mind will always provide reasons why it can’t be done.  This is your time and your moment, you’ve thought about it enough, now follow through.

2. Take Action

I like Mel Robbins concept of “The Five Second Rule.”  It basically advocates taking action quickly once you’ve made a decision about something that you want to do or achieve.  Being action oriented is key to following through on a commitment that we’ve made to ourselves.  Take that first step as quickly as possible toward your new commitment. Make that action something that is directed squarely toward those fears or moments of hesitation. Waiting too long will often cause us to back out of it.  We may never climb toward those new levels of success along our own journey as a result.  That first action step is so critical to making something happen.  It may be five seconds or a bit longer, but don’t take too long, instead take action on what you’ve promised to yourself.

“The hardest thing to do is leaving your comfort zone. But you have to let go of the life you’re familiar with and take the risk to live the life you dream about.” -T. Arigo

3. Put The Brakes on Procrastination

Procrastination is deadly to us achieving success.  It insists on staying in our comfort zone for now, but assures us that at a later date we really will move forward and achieve what we’ve promised ourselves.  The reality is we probably won’t.  Do that thing that you know most needs to be done for you to get where you want to be.  What is it?  Take a step now to stop putting off that dream or vision for your life.  That step and ending procrastination immediately in the moment may be the exact push needed to move out of the comfort zone.  It also might bring in an incredible sense of relief knowing that you’ve finally stopped waiting because of fear and actually moved toward a new level of success, opportunity, and vision for your life.

4. Consider Changing Location

It’s not always possible, I get it.  However, sometimes committing to something new also requires that we do just that, but somewhere else.  For me, a place where I’ve already lived, worked, or grew up holds a lot of associations, and with those, its own built-in limitations.  They create an unnecessary and invisible barrier to potential future achievements at times.  This is not always the case, but sometimes a new location also equals a fresh start.  If for no other reason, the newness and our own unfamiliarity with the place creates a feeling of fresh, new, exciting, and different opportunities.  

We’re not aware of the limitations and we don’t have any pre-existing biases toward the location, ideally.  This gives us the opportunity to start anew along with the new goals and levels of success that we’re hoping to achieve.  It’s something to consider and can even result in meeting new people, obtaining new possibilities, and moving forward in ways that we haven’t previously expected or experienced.

5. Take a `Let’s Do It Approach’ More Often

Shonda Rhimes has it right with her “Year of Yes” concept.  If we didn’t say no right away to the possibilities that are presented to us, where might it lead? Given the brevity of life, shouldn’t we find out more often? Maybe we’re more inclined to say no generally and even have a good list of reasons for doing so.  It could be as simple and mundane as not wanting to go out in the cold at night to meet with a new friend at a coffee shop.  

Our first instinct seems to side with our own comfort.  However, what if we did say, “Let’s do it” instead, and followed up on those new possibilities.  It could lead to a new connection, opportunity or experience that brings us onward to a new level of success that we may have been waiting on for some time.  Just being open to the possibilities and being willing to take chances more often facilitates forward motion.  Saying “no” closes down the possibility, shuts the door, and with that any future possibilities with rapidity.  

If we react against a reflexive instinct to say “no,” and instead embrace a “Let’s do it Approach,” we may surprise ourselves with new degrees of success that we previously couldn’t have envisioned.

Conclusion

It’s not always easy to get out of our comfort zone.  However, some of our greatest successes often lie just beyond it.  Small steps can be helpful in making that transition for ourselves.  Committing to something new that we’ve always envisioned for ourselves is a start followed by taking action, however small.  It builds momentum and gets us moving in the direction we want to go.  

Putting the brakes on procrastination is helpful for considering what can we do now, rather than tomorrow, or at some other undefined date for moving closer to our destiny.  Changing location can also make the difference between a place with invisible barriers to our success and one that is an open realm of possibility.  Finally, taking a “let’s do it approach” and staying open to the possibilities can lead us onto things and levels of success that we may not have ever previously envisioned for ourselves.

Robert Babirad left being a lawyer to travel the world and write about his experiences as a global citizen.  He is the author of "In-Transit Passenger: Making the Journey Matter and the novel "Love in Budapest"  Robert Babirad | TouchPoint Press.

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