The issue of getting out of your comfort zone has come up so much lately for myself and for other Virtual Assistants wanting to launch or grow their businesses, that I wanted to talk more in depth about it here on the blog. I have heard from many VAs through my survey or emails that fear is the main thing that is holding them back from putting themselves out there. I really take this to heart because I completely understand. It is not easy pushing yourself out from behind your computer, whether that’s going to a live event, doing video, interviews, webinars or just reaching out to a potential client.
While I am not going to give you any earth shattering advice in this post, I hope that it helps push you to live more and worry less. This goes for your business as well as your personal life.
Staying in our comfort zone is, well, comfortable. And sometimes it’s where we need to be depending on what’s going on in our lives. BUT we can get too comfortable there and start to think that it’s okay to stay there. We stop ourselves from stretching or trying new things. I’m not going to lie, it takes time and energy to push ourselves, but it is so worth it.
Some people are happy with settling into a routine or having “just enough”, but they don’t give much thought to dreams and ambitions. Or if they do, it doesn’t go much beyond the thought stage. Unfortunately, if we settle for the status quo, we’ll stop growing as people. Stagnation becomes inevitable. No matter how old we are, we must continue to try new things, to keep reading and learning in order to keep growing and expanding our horizons.
Settling into a comfort zone can also mean that you aren’t reaching your goals (or even trying to set new ones). Setting a new goal will probably involve taking a risk or facing a fear. Do it anyway! What do you have to lose by trying? It’s okay to make a mistake or be wrong. Just pick yourself back up and try again.
Goals bring purpose to our lives. Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Another one of my favorite quotes around this topic is from Tony Robbins,
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
We don’t want to live our lives watching other people find meaningful purpose and success while we sit in the shadows and wonder what happened. If we stay where we’re comfortable, when we sit back and look over the course of our lives, we will find that we were too afraid to get out of our comfort zone and that we just let life pass us by. Remember you can never get the time back.
Getting out of the zone is very doable and achievable if we choose to have a positive mindset and are willing to take small steps to get us there. Here are four tips that will help you get on your way:
1. Set goals and take steps to achieve them
Take some time away from your regular life to devote to setting goals for your business or any other part of your life in which you want to grow. Bring a notebook and a planner. Set doable, achievable goals that you can break down into steps and track over time. Try starting with just three. You don’t have to make the list too long; that can get overwhelming and cause you to get frustrated and possibly want to give up.
Now, how can you put those goals into action? Can they be broken down into steps? Use a daily docket or planner of some sort and develop a daily action plan to move you closer to those goals. Even if you can only devote ten minutes a day, it’s still moving you closer to your goal than if you weren’t doing anything at all.
2. Do something uncomfortable every day
What tasks do you dread doing? Whether it’s reaching out in a Facebook Group, making phone calls, introducing yourself, learning social media or going some place new, you have to learn to take those little steps outside of your comfort zone. Just take one step at a time.
Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Whatever that thing is that you’ve been procrastinating about or dreading to do, just do it. Try doing it first thing in the morning. If you get that done, the rest of the day is easy in comparison!
3. Changing your mindset: think of failure as an opportunity
Many of us struggle with perfectionist tendencies. We may think that if we’ve made a mistake or failed in the past, that it’s over and we shouldn’t try again. Old, negative tapes may play in our head that we’re a failure, we’ll never make it, or maybe we should just give up.
Learn to change your mindset one thought at a time. Look back on past mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow. What went wrong that you can change the next time around? Is there anything that you could do differently?
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others. We’re all on a different journey with differing talents and experiences. You will find your own path and success in your own time!
4. Trust yourself and go with your gut
Learning to trust yourself can be scary, especially if you have negative life experiences or past rejection that cause you to doubt your abilities.
Reach out to connect with others if you are really struggling. An encouraging word from a friend or business associate can be just the thing you need to feel a little more confident and less afraid to step out.
You may find that you need help and accountability to leave your comfort zone. Network with others (join the free Star VA Facebook group), find a coach (or mentor) or accountability partner to help you move past that comfortable spot and help you to set and reach new goals for yourself. You got this…really!
Leave me a comment and tell me what you did outside your comfort zone lately?