Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
Understanding how to push yourself beyond your fears and outside of the comfortable security of your everyday life is as necessary as it is difficult. In all aspects of our lives there are things we fear and feel uncomfortable doing because we don't like stepping out of our comfort zone. The goal of this article is to aid you in thinking about how to push yourself beyond your own edge. When I say edge, I signify the point at which you metaphorically gasp with fear. Your edge is that moment when fear rises in your chest, your heart pounds and your breathing quickens. When you get to that point, take a deep breath, focus, and plunge ahead, whether it’s that last step off the plane while skydiving, telling someone how you feel, or letting loose on the dance floor.

Following this advice is hard, and sometimes painful. More often, it’s incredibly rewarding. A friend of mine who has asthma, a hip problem, and thought she wasn’t very athletic just ran her first marathon and finished. I surfed on and off for years before getting the guts to catch a ten-foot wave, and my fears of the ocean have diminished since. I lost thirty pounds through hard work, and learned that my body is capable of far more than I thought possible. There are stories like this every day from people who have confronted their fears and perceived limitations, and stepped past their edge.

Identifying your fears, personal limits, and boundaries is the first step towards conquering them. Take a piece of paper and write down everything you have been afraid of doing in your life, everything you have envied other people for doing, and everything you fear or everything that limits you from having the life you want. List the physical things you fear, but more importantly, list the mental and emotional. Be honest. If you cheat, you’ll only hurt yourself. After you make the list, group them into mental, emotional, and physical fears. Then group them from largest to smallest. Start small and work up to the more challenging things. Whether it’s standing up to a person who treats you badly or bungee jumping off a cliff, you push yourself that much further past your ‘edge.’

As you work your way up the list, always be careful. Before you do anything dangerous, get to know your body and how far it can be pushed, and use common sense. If you are at risk for a heart attack, think about another way to push yourself past your edge besides skydiving. If you are afraid of water, start off with a pool or small stream, not the ocean. Remember, the goal is not to traumatize yourself. It is to step past your edge enough that you can embrace new ideas and adventures without the same fears and limitations.

This site is dedicated to helping people live adventurously in all aspects of their daily life. But in order to live adventurously, you have to do more than go through the motions, the programs and the events. You have to progress towards an attitude of ‘I can do this. I may be afraid, but I know I am capable of pushing myself beyond my boundaries’ instead of ‘oh, god, can I do this?’ It is about facing your fear, owning it, and stepping past. Only then will you truly begin to live adventurously.

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