People always say to put yourself outside of your comfort zone; instead I’m going to put a little spin onto this and say that you should put yourself into your uncomfortable zone. Why would I choose to switch these words? Well, whenever someone says to go outside of your comfort zone, you will tend to do things that you don’t typically do. Yes, this will help you a lot and move you into taking more risk, but it doesn’t push you as much. When you say “put yourself into your uncomfortable zone,” you will begin to start finding things that make you truly uncomfortable, and you will begin to transform more than you would otherwise.
The goal is to become comfortable being uncomfortable.
The first thing that I’d like to do is to give credit to my good friend, Eric Campbell, for giving me inspiration to write this post. I began to talk to him about my entrepreneurially journey, and my pain points. He recommended that I do things that make me incredible uncomfortable, and the results have been night and day for me. Eric is a digital nomad, who you can find all over the web, teaching his 20,000+ students.
Okay, let’s get into this. First of all, even writing blog posts makes me uncomfortable. Doubts run through my head and from peer. I think to myself, “What if they don’t like it? I can’t write, I am an engineering major. What is no one reads it? This is a waste of my time.” Etcetera, Etcetera. I know that the right people will come and read it, and it is also a personal journey for me. I know that I will eventually improve my writing and I know that writing allows my creative juices to flow. Honestly, what is the point of even researching and doing this stuff without helping anyone?
I know that everyone is at different levels. Something that might not make you uncomfortable could make somebody else a nervous wreck. Realize that everyone is at different starting points and slowly ease into different things that make you uncomfortable. You will never improve until you start slowly working towards a goal. This is similar to beginning to lift weights. You’re not going to go and bench 225 your first time at the gym, instead you are going to start off slow, with just the bar, and over time you will reach your goal. This leads directly to our first step, establish a goal.
1. Establish a Goal and Deadline
There are so many beneficial reasons to put yourself into that uncomfortable zone. Some people may want to learn how to take risks, another might want to go talk to that cute guy/girl at work, or one may want to take it to a whole new level and give a TED Talk to hundreds of viewers.
We will each have a different goal, but I urge you to set a goal for yourself now. Write it down on paper, post it somewhere near your bed when you wake up, put another one in your wallet; this will remind you every day to push yourself toward that goal.
And remember, set a deadline for your goal, otherwise you will never attempt it.
2. Focus on “The Why”
Why do you want to attempt this goal? Ask yourself this honest question, take a few minutes, and then watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE
3. Start Slow
Most people aren’t going to jump straight into their goal and finish it on day one. And if you do, please set some higher standards for yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint, take it slow. I’ll give you some ideas, and you can brainstorm some more specifically tailored toward your goals.
- Make eye contact with a stranger and hold it for 3 seconds
- Ask a question after listening to a speech
- Volunteer (I did Habitat for Humanity)
- Take a class in something that you have no skill in
- Attend an even where you don’t know anyone
- Quit your safe job, and start your dream job
- Eat something unusual
- Take a day offline
- Take a new route
- Get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in over a year
4. Rinse and Repeat
By now, you should start becoming a pro at this. Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP, this stuff is hard, and it is going to be what separates you for the 99% of everybody else. Rinse and repeat, figure out what works, and what doesn’t; refine this based on your needs. Slowly, you will be taking up more and more challenging risks, and you should start to become more comfortable with things that were uncomfortable early on.
5. Finally, Attempt your Goal
I know what you’re saying to yourself, “I’m not ready, give me more time.” Exactly, this is the perfect time to do it. You’re still uncomfortable with the idea of attempting your goal, but think back to everything else you’ve accomplished. It wasn’t that hard once you did it, was it?
You set a goal, and you promised yourself that you would complete it by this date. As Nike would say, “Just do it.” Just go for it, trust me on this.
Things I’ve done that made me Uncomfortable
I thought that I might as well include some things that I’ve done that made me uncomfortable that may give you a bit of motivation. I am still working on becoming comfortable being uncomfortable just like you, it’s a learning process and in my opinion, so worth it.
- Traveled a month alone in Europe
- Spoke in front of executives as an intern
- Skydiving, bungee jumping, etc.
- Getting my motorcycle license
- Took a yoga class alone
- Attended a meetup group alone
- Introduced myself to some random person on the street (ending up having a great conversation)
- Went on an adventure alone, without phone or GPS
- MANY financial risks (most turned out well, yet I was so scared initially)
Now that I write this list, to me it doesn’t seem that difficult at all; but at the time, each one was so hard to do. It may seem hard at first, but push through, and you will be so much happier that you did.
Thank you for reading this article, it was very brief and I know there are a lot of articles out there of how to get yourself out of your comfort zone. I hope that I added some value to your journey.
As always, please comment below if you have any thoughts or concerns and let me know what challenges that you have taken on!