We are creatures of habit. We order the same coffee, at the same coffee shops, workout and get hungry, around the same time every day. When is the last time you purposefully, took yourself outside of your comfort zone? When is the last time you grappled with a new challenge and remember fear and excitement pumping through you, simultaneously? Some people dislike changing their routine but for entrepreneurs, playing it safe, is risky.
Dr Elizabeth Lombardo, therapist and author of Better Than Perfect found, that people who regularly step outside of their comfort zones are more emotionally resilient and creative, than those who remain in a familiar routine. This means that entrepreneurs regularly pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, hold a cognitive advantage over those who don’t.
It’s not difficult, to see how you can increase your emotional resilience, with regular comfort zone challenges. Success is a moving target. As you become more successful, your goals grow too. The more you challenge yourself with new experiences, the greater your comfort zone becomes, meaning what was once scary, becomes your norm. You are increasing the amount of things you can handle and as such, propel your development both personally and professionally.
Lombardo’s second point, about creativity being enhanced with fresh experiences is less obvious. However, the best ideas are often right under our noses we just need a different perspective to see them. Trying new experiences allows us to see things in a new way. Another reason that creativity is so lured after in the business world, is because it’s wholly conducive to innovation. Innovation is the business word of the century. It’s dobbed as the golden ticket to business success. However, it’s often an elusive object of many CEO’s/MD’s desires. Why? What holds most of us back from stepping out of our comfort zones, is fear. “We have such a huge fear of failure in our society,” explains Lombardo. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is the key to overcoming this fear and injecting innovation into our businesses.
In order to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you need to step out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. Remember we are creatures of habit, the more comfortable you get with trying new things, the less difficult it will feel and the more you’re going to say yes to new challenges.
Try taking small steps, like driving a different route to work, trying different food for lunch or even moving your desk to a different spot. This can help you, to get comfortable, with being uncomfortable.
In order to overcome your fear of trying something new, Lombardo recommends, re-framing those feelings of fear, with positive feelings of excitement and opportunity. Those butterflies in your stomach will soon be seen as welcoming, rather than something that you seek to avoid.
When you take on something challenging, you experience an endorphin rush and often feel recharged afterwards. It’s like intensive exercise, after a little while, you’ll crave the endorphin rush and seek out new challenges.
Having a mission statement of why you’re stepping out of your comfort zone can help you overcome the fear of doing it. Lombardo recommends writing out reasons for doing the activity, such as, “to build independance” or ” to increase creativity”. Reiterating the why, when you feel stressed out, completing a new task, can bring down your stress levels and make it easier to accomplish.
Leila is PCA’s Head Editor and Researcher. She holds a 1st class Law with Business degree and became a published author at 25. Former crime investigator turned business journalist. On a mission to show businesses that presenteeism is a thing of the past. Everything seems impossible until it’s done. Typically found working from a white beach in South-East Asia embracing rapidly changing technology.