Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone


It is never easy to leave a place of comfort for the unknown but pushing ourselves to do so can make us stronger and more resilient. The blog explains why we need to move out of our comfort zones and how to go about it.


“Move out of your comfort zone!” We hear it all the time, we know that we need to do it, yet it is so difficult!

Leaving that place of comfort for the unknown is not something most of us look forward to. It involves mental strength, physical work and probably some stress. But you know what? When we go about it the right way, the end result is always worth it. And that is what we need to keep in mind to help us step out of our comfort zones.

The Yerkes-Dodson Law

In 1908, psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson came up with this concept which related stress to performance. They theorized that a certain amount of stress is needed for us to perform our best. When the stress is too much or too little, we are unable to give our best to the task at hand.

Nowadays, thanks to the actions taken by healthcare leaders, there is a lot of importance being given to mental health and rightfully so. Stress and its negative implications are spoken about universally. Hence, it is necessary to not misunderstand the Yerkes-Dodson law.

  • How can being stress-free be a bad thing? Well, it is not necessarily a bad thing but the fact is that no stress and just routine work can result in boredom setting in. There is no stress but also no stimulation. And without stimulation, we do not perform to our potential.
  • A moderate amount of stress is deemed ideal according to the Yerkes-Dodson concept. The task at hand is challenging but doable, inspirational and improves your performance. You feel driven and are clear in your purpose. You know what you want and a moderate level of stress is helping you perform better.
  • High levels of stress are undesirable. It affects your ability to perform. The anxiety is unmanageable and as a result, you are unable to do justice to the task.

The level of stress that is manageable varies from person to person. Mild to moderate stress for a short time is what usually brings out the best in us. Chronic stress is dangerous and can have negative effects on physical and mental wellness.

The Numerous Benefits of Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones

Knowing the ways by which we benefit by pushing ourselves will motivate us to challenge ourselves.

  • Expands Our Horizon: Taking on new challenges will bring us new experiences. We may meet new people, learn new things and maybe even discover something about ourselves we dint know earlier. Our awareness of the world increases and we might find something we want to explore further.
  • The Growth Zone: When you move out of your comfort zone, you move into your growth zone. You will start to see the result of the efforts you have put in which will be a motivation in itself. There is nothing as satisfying as achieving a goal we have set for ourselves. Self-confidence improves and there is a renewed belief in our abilities.
  • Makes Us Resilient: Challenging ourselves does not necessarily mean success in what we undertake. We might give it our best but still end up not achieving what we want. But we need to take a look at the bigger picture. Success or failure, lessons will be learnt. The experience we gain from the whole undertaking is indeed our biggest takeaway. Not just that, our failures help build our resilience and our ability to withstand and handle stress improves.
  • Encourages Creativity: Creativity flows when we are challenged. While the initial reaction to a challenge may be a sense of confusion or self-doubt, as we settle down and start comprehending the situation, we start to come up with innovative and creative solutions. Ideas start to flow and we unbox something we never knew we had.
  • Keeps Us Humble: Challenges remind us that we do not know everything. There is always something new to be learnt and weaknesses to overcome. They prevent us from becoming arrogant and help us stay empathetic towards others. Indeed, we need challenges to keep us human.

When Should You Push Yourself?

When you feel that you are not achieving the goals you have set for yourself, when you feel you are not growing, or when work you once found stimulating has turned mundane, then it is time to push yourself.

But let’s face it. Stepping out of our comfort zones is not easy. It needs mental strength. We need to be prepared to face some discomfort for a while. Changing our mindset, letting go of the familiar and staying motivated are all essential attributes.

Also Read: Shaping a Leader

How to Go About It?

Sometimes, life puts us in challenging situations and we are forced to adjust to it. However, there are times when we ourselves realize that we are stuck in rut and we need to move past it. For those times, the following tips will help.

  • Set a goal for yourself.
  • Make a plan on how you will reach that goal.
  • Follow your plan and work towards the goal. Sometimes, you might find that the goal is too easy. At such times, tweak your goal according to your ability.
  • There will be days when things do not go according to plan. It will happen and it is absolutely fine. What matters is that you get back on track the next day.
  • If you find the goal you have set for yourself to be too hard and you start to panic, reassess your plan. Break down the steps further and try again.

Do Not Overdo It

Pushing yourself does not mean you place yourself in a high stress situation all the time. It is not healthy. All of us will eventually need to get back to our comfort zones as we can deal with challenging situations only for a certain amount of time.

Challenge yourself, but once that is over, relax and take a well-deserved break.

We cannot allow our fears to become our limitations. Stepping out of our comfort zone is a way of facing our fears head-on but in a healthy and safe way.

Challenging ourselves is a way of challenging our fears. We will face discomfort but will come out of it as stronger people.

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