Is your comfort zone holding you back? (And how to fix it.)

We have great women attending the DrivenWoman meetings. Everyone wants to change their life in a way or another. They all want more: more in terms of wealth, more in terms of relationships, more in terms of excitement, but also more in terms of relaxation and balance in their lives. For some the new life vision and long term goal is cristal clear, they just have to figure out how to get there. Others know they want something else but it’s not so clear what it is yet. In both cases their comfort zone is holding them back.

One of the girls wants to open her own spa. Her greatest fear is that if she leaves her job as a therapist in an upmarket spa, she may fail with her own business and loose the monetary security she currently enjoys. This is a common fear and it is good idea to keep your job as long as you can before starting your own business, and making sure all numbers in your business plan add up. However, her fear of monetary loss have influenced her thinking unconsciously and made her dream smaller. Rather than aiming for the premium clients and top end locations – which she could do really successfully with her superb skill and passion – she has been focusing on looking at potential properties in the areas where she thinks rents are not that high. Her comfort zone – keeping monetary safety – is watering down her dream and doesn’t even necessarily make financial sense. With premium clients and better margins she might be better off in up town location.

One of the girls is doing her PhD. She’s really smart girl and knows what job she wants to do in the future. She is determined to have her own practise and to help others. However, she feels safe when studying but her PhD is not progressing as fast as it should because she is avoiding posting her academic papers. Clearly she doesn’t want any exposure to criticism and thus – she thinks – potential failure. Eternal studying can provide a safe haven from real life, thus her answer to any new situation in life is to first ‘read the manual and thoroughly understand the theory’. She even suggested she’d read a book about Twitter before starting to use it! Until she takes risks and starts doing things – rather than reading about them – she will be safely in her comfort zone, but nothing will change in her life either.

We are all afraid to expose ourselves to critizizism which is ridiculous because if you turned it around it would be the one thing that you could use to make yourself better.

These are typical stories of women trapped in their comfort zones. We hope we can do new things and change our lives without giving up our safety, but it is seldom possible. And hope is not a strategy.

You can have a vision, break it down into goals and short term tasks (as we do in the DrivenWoman groups), but unless some of your tasks are going to take you outside of your comfort zone you will just get frustrated filling out the task list and feel nothing is changing.

‘Doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. That’s called stupidity!’

comfort zone

1) Understand and define your comfort zone

It is important to start understanding your comfort zone in order to break out of it. Answer questions like: How do you react to life’s challenges? What is your automated response? What is your ‘default’ way of solving problems? What do you say ‘no’ to (always)? What do you do when you feel you are not in control? What is your greatest fear? What are you afraid of loosing?

2) What must change for your life to change?

A book called ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get You There‘ says it all in the tittle. You have become successful (up to a point) dispite of your shortcomings and the fact you are staying at your comfort zone. To move forward it’s time to tip your toes into the cold water!

If you want to live your visionary future you must disrupt. You must disrupt the pattern you are repeating over and over again.

3) Expose yourself

I had to come out of my comfort zone big time when we started DrivenWoman. I was a branding consultant. I did great work with world class clients. I owned and build design related businesses. What did DrivenWoman had to do with anything?! DrivenWoman was personal. I was putting my personality, my passion and values right on the line. I had to expose myself, be naked, put myself in front of everyone I knew and be open for ridicule. (I have no idea if I have had any, nobody has so far told to my face.)

But a funny thing happened. As soon as I stepped out (of my comfort zone) I no longer cared what people would think! As I became vulnerable I turned strong instead. I freed myself from the expectations of others and now I’m able to do what ever I want for the rest of my life!

I’m absolutely convinced that there is no short cut. There is no other way than breaking your conventional thinking about yourself. You must disrupt in order to reach your future vision.

We would love to hear your stories of breaking your comfort zone as personal experiences are the ones that will help others. We have already experienced many in our groups and I’m convinced there is much more to come, including our lovely PHD and Spa girls. We will be sharing those great stories here later.

Meanwhile, please comment and share if you agree! And I dare you to step outside of your comfort zone to comment on this blog post 🙂

6 thoughts on “Is your comfort zone holding you back? (And how to fix it.)

  1. Thank you for the comment. Yes, it is a bit tiring at times as every day (almost) you need to be pushing and as you said, putting your neck on the line. However, growth goes in phases. Sometimes is time to get out (or your comfort zone) more and sometimes it is time to take a little breather 🙂

  2. Another great post. I totally get all of this, but I’m feeling less and less optimistic about possibilities I think, sometimes, often…especially lately. You know what really holds me back? Money. I swear there’s nothing out there that doesn’t require *additional* cash to accomplish, and it stresses me out so much I’d rather just give up. It never seems anymore like I can just have a dream and go figure out a way to make it happen. Now it feels like I’m drowning in life debts and student loan debts and obligations and “how will I live-ness” and the idea of coming up with a way to do more/live my dreams without relegating myself to a deeper level of suffering/struggle seems pointless. Wow, what a bummer reply, but ready cash really is an issue these days even in the first world. How do you advise handling that?

    • Hi Andrea, I’m a wealth coach in Finland. I always remember my first coaching session, where one woman said after one hour from the start: “There is so much money in the world, but why it isn’t in my pocket?” The answer is that you usually concentrate more spending than creating income and cash flow. I really agree with Miisa that the time we have we usually underestimate. You really can do a great change in the long run starting by little. Everything starts from the skills you have. Or the skills you should have to make to change. What skills you have now that you could use to help others? Is someone willing to pay something for you skills? Or what are the skills you should have that the change in your life would be possible? I believe that great skills and ideas attract the money, so even if you don’t have it know it’s possible to have it later. Best of luck!

  3. I feel your frustration. This is how I see it. Firstly, I must write down a little Zen comment: ‘Start where you are’. I found I was not able to start this new journey with DrivenWoman until I had sorted out everything else. Family, house, my desk, filing… you name it!

    There is no escaping this, if it is dept you got to sort out first, then debt it is. It just has to get done. It is slowing you down emotionally so much, and because you try to start on your dreams (but can’t because of the weight of your cash situation) you end up feeling even worse. It is best to do what has to be done. Put the dreams aside for a while. Or better still, make turning negative cash situation into neutral as the step number one in your plan towards your dream. Only once you are in neutral can you start thinking how to generate extra cash to put aside for the next step. Things happen much faster than you think once you put your mind to it! (‘People over estimate what they can do in a year, but under estimate what can be done in three years!’)

    Once you are in a neutral position, meaning you dealt with negativity (cash or other things..), then you can align your energy towards the life you want. I think we all have extra resources. They come in the form of time, skill, connections, or other things. We just have to understand which resources we are poor in (say, cash) and which resources we are rich in (say, time or skills). There is always ways of freeing up resources (say time) as most of us haven’t fully established how we really use it. Most people throw time around in a completely wasteful manner. Through allocating your time in a more productive way you can start to free yourself from the position you are in.

    Hope this offers a perspective! I’d like to invite all readers to comment on this as this is a super difficult and important question!

  4. Pingback: 12 ways to learn (and why you should never stop) | Driven Woman

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