We read about people who have quit their jobs, found their passports, and taken off to another country with only a few hundred dollars in their pockets. In many ways, we envy them – we wish we had the “guts” to do something like that. We don’t have the guts, because we have never left our comfort zones, even in small ways.
And that is rather the key. We will never consider a major exodus from our comfort zones because we have not built up to it. That adventurer who has just left for parts unknown? He has practiced getting out of his comfort zone for years. He began with small things and worked his way up so that now he does not fear huge changes – he embraces them. He has developed a sense of self-confidence that allows him to take risks. So it should be with you. You can practice getting out of your comfort zone right now, and these small steps can lead to bigger ones.
1. Take a Course About Which You Know Nothing
Maybe you have always admired people who can draw or play an instrument. What’s stopping you? Sign up for some lessons or a course at the local community college. Get yourself out among others who share that interest. Get away from TV and Facebook and just do it.
2. Practice Random Acts of Kindness
Reaching out to strangers is difficult for those of us who have always lived within our own little circles of friends, acquaintances, and institutions (workplaces, churches, etc.). Participating in a “soup kitchen” event on Thanksgiving, sponsored by your work or church is comfortable. Seeing strangers in need and reaching out to them on a personal level is quite different. That mother ahead of you in line at the grocery store who must put some items back? Approach her and offer to pay. Every time you make contact with a complete stranger is a time you get out of your comfort zone. Soon, you may find yourself striking up conversations with complete strangers all the time – new “worlds” open up.
3. Visit Different Places of Worship
Whether you consider yourself a religious person or not, it is always a good thing to expose yourself to religions, cultures, and belief systems that are “foreign” to you. If you consider yourself a Christian, how about attending services at a mosque or a Jewish temple? Or, how about a “new age” gathering? You will expose yourself to a variety of thoughts and make connections with those who view life very differently.
4. Think About Writing for Publication
O.K. so this is not an option for everyone, but think about it for a minute. You have a lifetime of experiences and ideas to share. Take those to the next level by sharing them with others. You don’t have to be a skilled writer – there is a host of writing services out there, like WritingDaddy, that can take our thoughts and ideas and translate them into creative articles and blog posts that you can then submit for publication. Over time, you may develop your own skills and discover a great outlet for connecting with others.
5. Food – Yes, It Can be a Path Out of Your Comfort Zone Too
Instead of basking in your traditional “comfort foods,” try foods you have never eaten before. Go to a Thai or Vietnamese or Indian restaurant. Get online and retrieve some African and Middle Eastern recipes. We get stuck in our old favorite foods, but changing out what we eat may work toward changing out how we think about other things too.
6. Try a New Hobby
We have developed “outside” interests, and we are comfortable with them. Perhaps we garden, work on cars, play a sport, or play an instrument. It’s time to change this out. Take up photography, a different sport – something totally foreign to you.
Small Steps Lead to Larger Ones
These steps are no threatening to your very being – you are not abandoning your life’s work or friends and family. You are, however, gradually coming to see that change can be a good thing. Once you are at ease with change, you can begin to make larger changes that may indeed move you on a new path of wonder and adventure.
Diana Beyer is an experienced and self-driven specialist who is passionate about writing. She is always seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth.