Many of the people that I work with are always on the lookout for all the ways to become a better version of themselves. They of course are participating in coaching but they also read books, listen to podcasts spend time in reflection and are excellent goal setters.
One of the biggest challenges on the journey of self-improvement is stepping out of your comfort zone to do the things that excite you while simultaneously scaring the crap out of you. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a daunting task filled with anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt and more. It’s out right uncomfortable and it’s supposed to be. Growth is always uncomfortable, but if you understand the cycle of emotions you’ll have in taking that step you’ll be in a better place to walk through it.
At first you’ll feel excitement. You know excitement. It's when the thought of something doesn’t let you sleep and you’re constantly thinking about it. It’s the same feeling you had when you were a child and your parents bought you that toy you’d been begging for. It's where you get butterflies in your stomach.
Then the nervousness sets in. Your excitement begins to fizzle out and you realize you might actually be doing something that is completely outside your norm. Doubt creeps in.
“Is this the right thing?”
“Should I really do this?”
“Maybe I need more time..."
At this point you are at the critical part of the process. If you get too nervous you’ll back off, slow down and think about quitting. But pushing through and understanding that feeling this way is normal can make it easier. However, you may not be off the hook yet.
Doubt often leads to fear and fear changes everything. Fear is the feeling that actually stops us from moving forward into the unknown. We are biologically predisposed to feel fear which is a great thing since it is a powerful tool to keep us safe and alive. However, often times, this ancient and innate feeling can poke its head out when we are actually safe and have nothing to worry about. When this feeling creeps in, ask yourself, "Do I really have anything to be afraid of?"
When you come to terms with the fact that you’re facing fear and are ready to step outside of your comfort zone, the grace of acceptance washes over you. It can be one of the best feelings because you are learning to let go of fear. This in itself is a valuable experience as you had the courage to face fear and then walk through it. And after all your hard work, now it's time for the reward.
The high. This is what makes stepping outside of your comfort zone all worth it. It is a high unlike anything else because you are not only doing something you've wanted to do for a long time, but you've conquered fear in the process and are now reaping the benefits. It is the combination of bliss, confidence, courage and gratitude all wrapped up into one life-altering experience. More than anything else, it makes you feel alive.
Learning to overcome fear and doubt are some of the hardest lessons in life but it is also the most rewarding. I won’t sit here and tell you I am a pro at stepping out of my comfort zone. In fact, I have to constantly remind myself that I will be okay. It's not always easy. In fact, it's hard. But I know the feeling that is waiting for me at the end of it all and I can convince myself it will be worth it.