The comfort zone can be dangerous. If you want to develop, you have to get out of your comfort zone – despite the fear. This model shows you how to do it. ”
How can you change something in your life even though you’re terrified of it before?
And how can you take action despite your fear?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
But a simple strategy that makes it much easier for you.
The home called the comfort zone.
We all have our so-called comfort zone. It’s the area where we feel safe and comfortable. And we are usually reluctant to leave this area.
Sometimes in life, you come into situations that present you with a challenge. Situations where you have to decide: Do I stay in my comfort zone, or do I dare to step out? Do I dare to change?
The comfort zone is challenging to leave. The secure job, the well-established partnership, the half-financed house.
To be afraid of losing something is more than understandable. Because none of us like to miss anything. And “out of the comfort zone” means “taking the risk”. It is only logical that it is difficult for you to leave your comfort zone.
OK, some people prefer to leave their comfort zone than others. Because each of us has a different attitude to risk-taking, some like to play and look for risk. The other would rather play it safe. You, too, have your own “default setting.”
Comfort zone = golden cage?
The comfort zone also offers you a lot of security and habits that you love. Why should you give it all up for uncertainty? So would you exchange a comfortable life for “no idea what is coming”?
Nah, that would be stupid.
But do you always want to go on like now?
Can you imagine that …?
Ouch – the question can go deep.
A question that many of us do not want to ask ourselves. The honest answer might be terrifying…
What if you don’t want to go on like this?
If you should come to the result: I know that I can not and do not want to continue like this.
Then you may also notice immediately how your heart slips into your pants at the thought because.
- you may not dare to do that
- you’re afraid of making a big mistake with it
- you avoid the risk like the devil in the holy water
- insecurity doesn’t let you sleep at night
- you want the change most, but without any risk or pain
But once you get to the point where you think: “Actually, I don’t want that anymore …”, the ring is opened from this moment on.
The ring for the struggle between your desire for security and your willingness to change.
And if you do not want to continue as before, that means in plain language for you: You will probably have to leave your comfort zone soon.
But how are you supposed to do that?
Fear leads to self-sabotage.
If you are afraid to leave your comfort zone, this often leads to behaviour patterns that do not help you:
- fearful denial – deep inside, you want to change. But you are so afraid of your courage that you prefer to suppress your wishes by all means and remain unhappy.
- Skilful ignoring – you know you want the change. But you are afraid of the consequences. So better not think about it. Rather forget. And keep running away.
- The infinite shifting – you see the desire for change, but think to yourself: “It doesn’t run away from me. I can still tackle that next week / next month / next year.” But at some point, the train may have left.
- The eternal whine – you are dissatisfied but don’t lift a finger yourself, but instead wait for the roasted pigeons to fly into your mouth. Everyone else is responsible for your luck, only you.
- Airy dreaming – you make big plans and like to talk and talk about it a lot. But after talking, little or nothing will happen to you. Dreaming is your refuge, but you don’t act.
- The perfect preparation – you roll books and take seminars and make plans over plans. So you have the feeling of doing something, but you always stay in your safe area.
- The wild jumping around – one day, you want this and tomorrow you want something completely different. Every day you walk in your new favourite direction. So you always start but never go on. And in the end, you turn in a vicious circle.
These are all behavioural patterns that ensure that you can weigh yourself safely. And they prevent you from getting out of your comfort zone.
In the comfort zone from fear of loss
Maybe you recognized yourself in one way or another.
But that’s not that bad. These are behaviours that should protect you. So actually something good. They only stand in your way if you want to change.
It is justified to remain in your comfort zone. You can stay there quietly. Nobody can force you to go out, fight for your luck and get a bloody nose.
The decisive factor is your claim to yourself.
Whether you say: “I would rather live a quiet life without much struggle and insecurity.” That is entirely legitimate. In the sense of “rich is he who is poor in desires”.
Or whether you say: “I want more of life, and for that, I accept stumbling, bruising and pain.”
If you are more inclined towards the latter, then the question is inevitable:
“How do I manage to leave my comfort zone and change something in my life? How can I change something even though I’m afraid of the unknown? ”
Design the change process yourself
If you want to change, you must take it into your own hands and shape it in such a way that it is bearable for you.
It is similar to sport. If you want to run 15 km today completely untrained, it could be a pretty big challenge … Well, let’s face it: that would be a total disaster. And you won’t have any fun either.
It makes no sense to overload yourself. And you can apply this principle to many areas of your life, even in your comfort zone.
Specifically, this means:
- this means you don’t have to leave your current situation from 0 to 100. You can do it slowly and with baby steps that don’t hurt you.
- You can proceed according to difficulty levels, and you do not have to start with the hardest part.
Yes, that sounds pretty logical and easy at first. But how many people do it that way?
Or to put it the other way around: If you really would do it like that, what are you still afraid of?
Maybe before deciding to change something?
But that’s the charm of this approach: You stay in a “safe zone” for a long time, where you can turn around at any time.
With a strategy from the comfort zone
Imagine that you are not satisfied with your job. So dissatisfied that you realize: yes, I want to change. Otherwise, it continues to make me unhappy.
But you don’t want to quit either. After all, you have to pay off a house and feed children.
How can you get out of this dilemma now?
What would be your first thought?
- Are you looking to talk to your boss?
- To apply elsewhere?
- Or even to quit?
Yes, these are probably the standard things that come to mind for all of us.
But these are all examples of steps that are much too big.
So basically a jump from 0 to 50 or even more.
And it’s not necessarily secure.
Who likes to hold crisis talks with their boss?
Or like to apply again?
Not exactly the most straightforward solutions.
Which in turn causes you to postpone it, ignore it, whine about it or sink into daydreams … (see list above).
What could a baby step look like that doesn’t hurt you instead?
This is how you get into action.
A baby step means going from 0 to 1 on the scale. That is the goal.
So if you are unsatisfied with your job, you could take a pen and piece of paper and put it on paper now, which is precisely your problem.
Write down: What makes me unhappy about my job?
If you have another problem, you can, of course, do the same thing, write it down on paper.
This is a step that costs you practically nothing. Just a little bit of time and paper. But it’s the first small step. In which you record for yourself what is going on.
What could be another baby step like that?
Next, you could do the same thing again, but ask yourself: Where do I want to go instead? What would be a reasonable goal?
There are a lot of such mini-steps that you can take one after the other without ever having to leave your comfort zone.
So what is the difficulty level?
If we put the exit of the comfort zone into a model, it could look something like this:
- Ring (easy): me with myself
- Ring (medium): friends
- Ring (medium): other
- Ring (heavy): where the fear is
What does this model tell you now?
Zone 1: me with myself
This is the comfort zone because everything here is just mind games with yourself.
This is the safe zone, and nothing concrete has happened here yet.
In the area, you can take the following baby steps:
- Analyze your problem
- Think about where you’d instead go
- Clarify your “why” so that you gain clarity for yourself
- Show you all possible options
- Set your own deadlines/commit yourself to something
- make a decision
- Think about how you want to deal with your inner resistance
- … Etc.
Zone 2: friends
When you are in the 2nd ring, you take the first small step outwards.
Here you can speak to the people who are kind to you—friends, family, mentors.
For a lot of people, this is what happens when you first talk to someone else about it.
- Reveal yourself to a friend and expressing your thoughts
- Consciously obtain the opinion of a friend, discuss it critically
- Commit yourself to a friend and say: “Until then and then I want to be one step ahead.”
- … Etc.
This ring is also light for some people and does not require much effort. For some people, this is still part of their comfort zone.
For other people, however, this is not the case at all because it is difficult for them to open up. Or because problems are not discussed with others.
Whatever applies to you, adjust your baby steps so that it suits you.
Zone 3: others
The third ring is also about going outside. Here, however, not necessarily with the people who are kind to me, but with “neutral” people.
These could be acquaintances, consultants, coaches or even Sam’s mother’s cousin. Whoever …
For some people, this is still a beneficial intermediate step.
Just go to “neutral ground” and get a more critical opinion from outside.
The steps you could take are similar to the second ring.
- Reveal you
- Get critical opinions
- … Etc.
Zone 4: where the fear is
When you have arrived here, you have already done a lot of change work:
- You know what you want and what you no longer want.
- You know what should change.
- You made a decision.
- You talked to friends about it and exchanged views.
- You spoke to neutral acquaintances, coaches or consultants about it and asked for advice.
So far, a lot has matured in you. Maybe for some time.
Now and only now, it is time to look your fear slowly in the face.
And this is where the area begins to get tricky.
Because you can no longer back down from here. What is out is out first.
So how do you manage this transition?
Cross the Rubicon – or not
Once you get here at this point, you know exactly what each of your alternatives “costs” you.
So what price you have to pay if you stay in a job that makes you unhappy. And what price you have to pay if you express your dissatisfaction or even quit.
What price you have to pay if you continue with your partner or ask them to change.
You’ll have to pay the price. And now you have to weigh it up.
Are you going the way or not? Would you rather wait a little longer?
Act despite your fear
If you decide to look your fear in the face and leave your comfort zone, this means stress for you first.
But here, too, you can apply the two principles mentioned to make it as straightforward as possible for you:
- Make mini-steps and
- start with the most manageable steps
You make it even smaller for your situation.
By focusing here only on the next as small as possible, as simple as possible.
Specifically, this can mean:
Are you afraid of a crisis talk with your boss?
First, ask him for an appointment. What you say precisely remains open for now. Maybe you dare. And if not, talk about something else first.
- Are you afraid of offending your partner?
- Just think of an introductory sentence for the conversation. Then whether you say everything you want to get rid of or not, you can still see it.
- Does your heart slip if you only think about selling the house?
First, create an offer in a real estate platform. And then wait and see what happens without obligation.
Now you come
How exactly you design the steps is, of course, very different for each individual. In your case, something else might be a lot better.
Here a little thinking and creativity are required on your part. Because only you know your limits and fears. And only you know what’s going on with you and what’s not.
But making it yourself as small as possible and comfortable is a strategy that is guaranteed to lead you where you want to go. Because you hardly have to overcome any resistance and always stay in the flow.
If you follow this strategy consistently, you will be able to leave your comfort zone despite your initial fears and concerns.
What other strategies do you know to get yourself out of your comfort zone?