What happens when someone tells you to ‘STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE’?
Anxiety goes up?
Fear creeps in?
Self doubts start to build?
I’ve certainly been guilty of spouting this command to clients and friends in the past.
But not anymore – I’ve come to the realisation that this is not only unhelpful but it’s more often than not, ineffective.
When someone tells you to step outside your comfort zone, they are essentially saying:
“Turn your back on all the support systems and confidence-boosting mechanisms you have spent your whole life building up. Walk away from your safety net and risk everything to try something new”
Instantly, your mindset shifts from ‘I am capable and I deserve success’ (coming from a place of security and a level of certainty) to ‘I am uncertain and not sure if the next step is right for me’ (coming from a place of ambiguity and less clarity).
But now I ask, why do you have to?
The Comfort Room VS The Anxiety Room
Imagine your comfort zone as a luxurious room.
Soft fluffy couches and cushions that envelop you, your favourite colour scheme surrounds you, it’s the perfect temperature, your favourite music plays, all your favourite people are there and most importantly, you feel in control, calm and confident.
Now, imagine someone comes along and tells you that in order to get what you want in life, you must step out of this room and into The Anxiety Room. In here, you’ll find uncomfortable, too-high stools and harsh, bright lights. Loud music will be blaring and you’ll be confronted by people and experiences who push your buttons (and not necessarily in a good way).
Does this sound like a smart way to improve your confidence, happiness and success in life? Probably not.
Expand Your Room
What if I told you that you can improve your confidence, happiness and success in life while staying safely in your Comfort Room?
Of course, a few things will need to change, but YOU are in control of exactly what changes. The beauty of your own, custom-built Comfort Room, is that it is completely flexible and adaptable.
Imagine your Comfort Room expanding in response to your need for growth.
Rather than stepping outside it, you choose to bring NEW things into the room. Now, you find that your new experiences are held within your warm, secure and comfortable place, rather than having to go out into the cold, stark Anxiety Room in order to try them.
Imagine bringing the things that stretch you and encourage your growth into your Comfort Room. You might see your room expanding as you add a treadmill, a new workplace, a different relationship, a different-shaped body.
Take a moment to relax and calmly picture your Comfort Room in your mind.
- Imagine your Comfort Room – fill in all the details and make sure you cover all of your five senses. Allow yourself to really experience all the emotions that come up for you here, indulge in the security, warmth and comforting hug this room provides
- Think about an area of your life that you would like to develop – be extremely specific with your goal
- Now, imagine bringing things that represent this goal into your Comfort Room. Really see them physically placed in your room
- Notice how it feels to see these things in your safe, comfortable place. Take note of how you need to adapt your mindset, your feelings and your response to your goal
- Now, sit in your Comfort Room, with your new things, and contemplate your first steps toward change. Notice that you feel in control, you feel calm and quietly excited about the new experience you are about to create.
This slight change in approach can help you to feel (and be) more in control when it comes to your personal growth. Sometimes, it feels like other people expect you to jump out of the plane and build your parachute on the way down – and while this may work for some, it’s not ideal for everyone.
The Comfort Room technique will give you more agency and a greater internal locus of control when deciding to expand your world. I’d love you to try the visualisation and let me know how it sits with you in the comments below or on Instagram @mel_schilling1