Our comfort zone appears to be a warm, welcoming and safe place. But taking a closer look, it's crowded with all our insecurities nestling in against us.
It is human nature to cling to the comfortable spaces we are used to. And while our comfort zone is cozy, it squashes creativity and innovation. It restricts us to well-trodden paths where we don't see anything new, and we don't discover what talents lie deep inside us.
If you have not yet experienced that wild freedom and open opportunity to stretch yourself without panic, consider making some of these small changes initially. They will help to ease you out of your comfort zone:
1. Redefine perfection. Have you heard the expression "perfectly imperfect?" Often times we are overly critical of ourselves and we wait to do something until it is "just right." Taking a step out of your comfort zone does not have to look absolutely perfect. Lose your fear of failure by transforming the meaning of perfection.
2. Do something differently. Do you always sit in the same area on the train or drive the exact same route to work? Do you go to the same place every day for lunch? Do you have the same routine for starting the workday - check emails, grab a coffee and start work? What if you did one thing differently? Try somewhere new for lunch. Sit in a different area on the train. Walk a different path with your dog. Shake up your routine a little and stretch beyond habit. You can start small and work up to making bigger changes.
3. Make it a HABIT to try something new. As you make an effort to do things differently as noted above, build change into your day. Every night ask yourself what you have done differently that day and then celebrate your success. This is a gentle way of becoming used to change. The more often you do something new, the more comfortable you will become with the process, and the better you will understand and manage your thoughts and emotions.
4. Be patient with yourself. You don't have to rush or expect a major overhaul overnight. Even the butterfly has to allow her wings to dry before she can fly.
5. Trust yourself. Believing in yourself makes all the difference in your quality of life. You have more resources than you realize, and they will show themselves when you need them. Just know that they are there, ready for you to use. You will know instinctively what to do.
If you are still debating whether or not to stretch the bindings of your cocoon, ask yourself this. "Who might I be if I allowed my whole self to shine?"
Break free from the cocoon and discover your true colors.