Great things never came from Comfort ZonesNov 28, 2022
What is your comfort zone?
You comfort zone is a place where you are at in your life that feels safe, easy & comfortable. Your comfort zone is a place that you will steadily float along without much growth or learning opportunities. You brain & body can do most things without much effort & without having to think too much. Your comfort zone might feel pretty good but my affirmation “great things never came from comfort zones” always reminds me that in order to become the most expansive versions of ourselves we have to step outside our comfort zone.
The result of staying in your comfort zone = nothing really changes, you are not challenged or excited, you are playing it small, you are likely to be subconsciously living your life in fear & you are not growing or learning anything new. The result of all of this: life is less fulfilling and less meaningful. The result of this: you just don’t feel very satisfied.
What happens when we step outside our comfort zones?
Well the affirmation “great things never came from comfort zones” really says it all. Great things really do happen when we start to venture outside the limits we have subconsciously placed on ourselves. Our comfort zone is very much in built in our survival mechanism. Our survival mechanism keeps us away from danger and is there to alert us to any threats. Back in the day this would help us run away from tigers. Nowadays the threats we face are very different: being embarrassed in front of our friends, loosing our jobs, being disliked by our boss or perhaps breaking up with a partner. Because of this our brains register bad events over good events - meaning that when something good happens we are less likely to remember it compared to when something bad happens.
What is the role of the ego?
Great things never came from comfort zones…BUT the ego is very much rooted in our comfort zone. One thing our ego wants is to keep us “safe” and therefore hates change, difficult conversations, tricky situations, challenging moments, big decisions… our egos are there to keep us rooted firmly in our comfort zone. It does not want you to stray whatsoever. Our ego is the part of us that actually goes against our true desires in order to keep us in our comfort zones. When I hear someone say, “I don’t have time for that”, when they have just said how important it is for them to them to do that thing, I know it is the ego getting in the way. When someone says “I am too busy to do X”, the likelihood is, the ego is once again getting in the way. The truth is, we all have the same amount of time. It’s just that some people choose to prioritise & plan in a way that aligns them to what is important to them.
When we learn more about personal growth we learn how to discern what thoughts are coming from fear (our ego) and what thoughts are coming from our desire to expand (the desire to step outside of our comfort zone). When we understand how the brain works we learn how to soothe our egos (remember this is the part of us that wants to keep us safe) and we can see that we have to take the steps to learn how to thrive not simply survive.
Our fundamental needs
We have various fundamental needs as a human and I want to talk about some models that all point to the fact that as humans, we need to feel challenged & we need to grow. Without this, we often feel a sense of being stuck, lost, hopeless, frustrated & burnt out because we are chasing the wrong things.
"Growth and comfort do not co-exist.”
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that once we have our fundamental basic needs covered (see below) we reach the top of the pyramid - self-actualisation.
“Self-actualization is the complete realisation of one's potential, and the full development of one's abilities and appreciation for life. This concept is at the top of the Maslow hierarchy of needs, so not every human being reaches it.”
This self-actualisation points to the fact that in order to live the most fulfilled life possible, we have to do things that are outside of our comfort zone. We have to challenge ourselves in order to push our limits and reach our full potential.
Tony Robbins adapted Maslow’s theory and he says we have 6 basic human needs:
1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure.
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli.
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed.
4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something.
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding.
6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others.
Tony Robbins writes, “All dysfunctional behaviours arise from the inability to consistently meet these core needs. But people’s needs aren’t just behind the bad decisions we make – they are also behind all of the great things humans accomplish. Understanding your own needs and psychology can not only help you avoid toxic behaviours and habits but can also help you achieve your goals.”
So stepping outside your comfort zone not only brings great things, it also helps you step away from unhealthy patterns & behaviours. For example if you don’t feel certain you will often try to obsessively control a situation which ultimately causes more pain. Or if you feel isolated, lonely & disconnected, you could choose toxic partners & friendships just to fulfil a desperate desire for connection. Or if you don’t feel significant at work, you will turn to perfectionism in order to try and be seen. These surface behaviours - control, toxic relationships & perfectionism are all a result of not getting your needs met. So how do we change this? We first become aware of this behaviour & realise that in order to change things up we have to step outside of our comfort zones & do things differently:
Instead of controlling a situation it could mean finding acceptance for the way things are & focusing on what you can change - your energy & the way you react. Instead of the toxic relationships it could mean setting boundaries & walking away from people who don’t deserve your love. Choosing to stay connected to yourself over abandoning your desire for a healthy relationship that matches your level of worth. Choosing to date people who treat you well. Instead of perfectionism, stop comparing yourself to others, allow yourself to be imperfect & realise that 70% effort is enough.
A side note - certainty is a need of ours - so instead of trying to make the impossible certain (will I meet the person of my dreams, will I get my dream job etc) change your mindset & make these things certain: love yourself, back yourself, take care of yourself, live your life according to your values, make healthy choices, do the things that set your soul on fire. Stop attempting to control the things outside of your control, start to shift your mentality in order to find certainty within your own spirit.
All these changes can feed HARD! They force you to step right outside of your comfort zone! We cannot reach our full potential when we are staying in our comfort zones and listening to our egos. We have to use tools to rewire the brain to start to embrace change, fear & new challenges. Ultimately so many people think they are content staying in their comfort zones but truly most of our difficulties come from these excuses that we make in order to stay inside that zone of comfort. We just have to start to become aware of this & huge changes can happen. Click here to read my blog on awareness.
Instead of making an excuse to stay small - “I am too busy” start to give yourself a reason to win - “I am busy but I am going to make time for this because I know this is going to help me reach my potential.” The result of this reframing is HUGE! When we choose to do this we no longer hide, we start to expand into the versions of us no longer ruled by fear.
Click below for your free Comfort Zone Journaling Workbook!
If you need help stepping into your power & finding your full potential, applications for my coaching program are now open. We start January 2023 and then doors will close until April. Limited number of spaces so get in touch ASAP!