Do you remember the last time you had to step out of one of your comfort zones?
How did it make you feel?
Was your heart pounding in your chest? Your palms sweaty? Your mouth dry?
Stepping out of your comfort zones is, by definition, uncomfortable.
And it’s also one of the most important things you have to do.
Luckily, there’s a powerful strategy that makes it much easier.
Your Potential Exists Outside Your Comfort Zones
Most people hate the feeling of discomfort so they do pretty much anything they can to avoid having to step out of their comfort zones.
They rationalize all kinds of excuses to get themselves out of challenging situations.
And while that is a pretty great way to alleviate immediate stress, it’s also a terrible way to realize your potential.
That’s a huge problem because, as Abraham Maslow put it: “If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.”
If you want to live a fulfilling and happy life, you have to become the very best version of yourself.
And that requires you to step out of your comfort zone routinely. Why? Because that’s where every single great thing you’re capable of exists.
A fulfilling life is an uncomfortable life. To be happy, you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Reverse Your Desire
Each time you get out of your comfort zone your going to experience a delightful cocktail of stress, fear, anxiety, pain, and doubt.
I say delightful not because I’m being sarcastic, but because that’s the attitude you need to bring to these challenges.
In their book, The Tools1, psychotherapists Phil Stutz and Barry Michels refers to it as ”reversal of desire”; instead of avoiding pain, you learn to love it.
Within psychology, this technique is called ”cognitive reappraisal2,” which means that you reinterpret the meaning of an emotional stimulus.
So, in other words, when you start to feel your heart pounding, palms getting sweaty, and your mouth drying up, you don’t perceive that as reasons to run and hide.
You instead choose to see these moments as the gifts they truly are — opportunities to step into your full potential!
How to Get Out of Your Comfort Zones: ”BRING IT ON!”
This all might seem easier said than done. And it is. That’s why you have to practice it. Again, and again, and again.
The only way to get comfortable being uncomfortable is to desensitize to it. For each uncomfortable situation you put yourself through, you’ll notice that it gets just a little bit easier next time.
And luckily, Stutz and Michels describes a tool that makes the whole process easier.
The strategy is simple. The next time you start feeling even an inkling of fear, doubt, anxiety, etc., SCREAM to yourself ”BRING IT ON!!!”
Then continue the chant by yelling ”I LOVE PAIN!! PAIN SETS ME FREE!!”
I’ll admit it sounds a little nuts, but it’s true. Pain is the doorway to your ultimate potential.
So, step through it right now.
BRING IT ON!! 🙂
- The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower–and Inspire You to Live Life in Forward Motion by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels
- Cognitive reappraisal
Hat tip to Brian Johnson for inspiring this article.