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Is Staying In Your Comfort Zone Killing You?

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

While you may not die from staying in your comfort zone, you won’t live life to its fullest either. Staying in your comfort zone is safe and is a place where you’re fully in control. However, this safe space means you are missing out on fantastic experiences. Low-risk comfort zones usually mean low rewards too.

When I finished college, my parents dropped me off in Washington, D.C., a place where I knew no one. I had grandiose plans about what I wanted my future to be. I was going to get a job at an international company and live my dream life overseas. Instead, I found a job doing data entry. Granted it was at the United States Senate, but data entry is still entry. I bemoaned the fact that I was stuck in a cubicle typing instead of living a glamorous life in Europe. When I was unemployed again, living in an expensive city trying to pay the rent and buy food, I would think about how easy it would have been to have stayed in my hometown, close to family, working in an office or factory. That would have been the comfortable thing to do, but I would have missed out on so much.

Over the next thirty years, I took a chance and stayed on Capitol Hill. I lost jobs when members retired, lost elections, or died. I was unemployed many times. I worked 80 hours a week for little pay and often wondered what I was doing there. I slowly worked my way up the ladder to become the Chief of Staff to a couple of members of Congress. Those jobs, that I never originally wanted, allowed me to see the world and experience things I never would have imagined. I met celebrities and Presidents. I traveled to Tibet and saw the Great Wall of China. I went to the Olympics, saw the space shuttle land, and traveled underwater in a nuclear submarine. I helped people get the benefits they were owed and worked on economic development projects that helped whole communities. When I retired, I made another choice to take a leap of faith, sell my house and move to Texas to start a totally new career. By making that move I had the ability to move again to Indiana to be live with my father when my mother died so he could stay at home. I could never have done that financially if I had stayed in Washington.

Getting out of your comfort zone doesn't mean you have to cut all your ties and change your whole life. Even little steps can make an impact on your life.

Take the following into consideration when thinking about your comfort zone.

Don’t Allow Fear to Keep You Stuck

When you allow fear to control you, your self-confidence will suffer. You’ll find excuses for staying in your safe place. You will allow other people’s thoughts and opinions to affect you and guide you through decisions about your life. On the flip side, expanding your comfort zone will give you more courage to do the things you want to do because you want to, not because someone else wants you to. It gives you the confidence to face challenges, solve problems, and learn new skills that will expand your comfort zone.

You Grow When You Expand Your Zone of Comfort

Once your comfort zone is extended, it’s time to grow. Now you can find your purpose, live your dreams, and conquer your goals and objectives without being stuck in the past. Leaving your comfort zone is the only way to truly grow and thrive as you expand your knowledge and skills in life.

You Stagnate When You Don’t Move Forward

Staying in your comfort zone is a surefire way to stagnate your life. Staying in your comfort zone can cause you to make poor choices. It can cause you to distance yourself from loved ones and friends. Fearing the unknown can keep you from taking risks that may turn out to be great decisions. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you move forward with enthusiasm and confidence.

Fear Can Be Good

Being afraid isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, fear can be a good thing when it helps you avoid danger. The key to knowing if it’s good or bad is to analyze it each time you feel fear. This analysis helps you determine if it’s a reasonable fear that you should listen to. If it isn’t a reasonable fear, you can then find ways to move past it in a safe manner.

Study The Facts

When you feel fear but study the facts, you can make good choices, even as you feel scared. Examining the facts of what’s causing the fear will enable you to push yourself slightly outside of your comfort zone in a safe way. You don’t have to rush or expand your comfort zone by leaps and bounds. Consistently taking small steps will still lead you to reach all your goals and expand your comfort zone.

If you suffer from anxiety, leaving your comfort zone can feel like an extreme step to take. The truth is, it is, if you continue to allow your fears to control your life, you will never get anywhere in life. Fear will keep you right where you are today. Can you imagine living as you are today for the next 30-40-50 or more years?

You are the only person who can control your life. If you want to be more, have more, live more, you have to make the choice to step out of your comfort zone. You have to choose to move forward, tipping your toes in new waters to try new things. Have the courage to take that step today. You deserve to be happy and to reach every goal you want to achieve.

If you need some help or ideas, check out our printable Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone Planner. It will get you off to a good start with over a month of inspirational quotes and journal prompts to help you clarify your goals and track your progress.

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