comfort zone

Let’s face it; no real growth comes from staying within your comfort zone. You need to expand your experiences, knowledge and skills to get ahead. Often times, that expansion means stepping out of your comfort zone and tackling things you weren’t sure you’d ever be capable of or good at.

Maybe you need to start doing more public speaking to get the promotion you’re looking for. Maybe you need to be able to make quick decisions or perhaps managing people is something you want to do but don’t feel confident in your ability to be as authoritative as you need to be to ensure the success of your team.

Whatever your issue is, there are things you can do to make pushing beyond your comfort zone seem less daunting.

1. Harness the relationship between anxiety and excitement.
When it comes to our physiological responses, we experience anxiety and excitement in the same way. The challenge is recognizing what you’re experiencing and then making a concerted effort to channel any anxious energy into excitement. No it’s not easy and it will take some getting used to, but your awareness of the feeling is key. Rather than letting your anxiety take over, identify it and then start shifting your thoughts to what you find exciting about all you have to gain by moving through the experience. The more you do this consciously, the easier it becomes for excitement to become your default response.

2. Visualize your outcome.
Just like athletes, corporate executives use visualization as a success tool. It works for anyone and costs nothing. The key here is being consistent. When you visualize something, your brain actually works towards achieving it. It subconsciously impacts your motivation and changes in your brain can be measured scientifically. Of course when you stop visualizing your brain changes back to its original state. It’s like a muscle that needs to be kept in shape. But boy it feels great when you’re in shape, doesn’t it?

3. Practice.
Being comfortable with putting yourself in uncomfortable positions comes from practice. Each time you push yourself out of your comfort zone, it becomes a little easier. Why? Because you not only know how to handle it, you know you can handle it.

Your belief in your ability to overcome the anxiety and come out on top is strengthened each time you push yourself.

4. Let go of your desire to be the best.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be better than anyone else at what we do. But when you let go of that pressure, you open yourself up and start looking at things differently. By letting go of the need to be the best, you get out of your own way and real growth becomes possible because nothing is holding you back. Anxiety often manifests out of fear of being wrong or messing up. But we learn from our mistakes right? If you’re so afraid of making a mistake that you never push yourself, what will you end up learning?

5. Invest in yourself.
One of the most common anxiety dreams is having to take an exam on a subject you haven’t studied for. It’s a classic case of not feeling prepared. One of the ways we prepare ourselves is by taking classes and proactively developing our skills and knowledge. So why not take a public speaking class or a management course in employee development to make sure you’re ready for the challenges you know you’ll be facing? If what you want to achieve is important enough to you, why not position yourself for success?

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