How to get out of your comfort zone
Did you know that ‘work for myself’ has been on my list of goals since about 2014? In fact, in January 2014, I wrote in my journal that by December 2014 “I want to have a clear plan in place for working for myself”.
Do you know what I did that year to make that happen?
Nothing. Literally zilch.
I was chatting to a friend who similarly wants to break off and do her own thing recently and she asked me what had finally made the change happen for me.
I made the initial tentative step by leaving my permanent job for a year-long contract. I said that at the end of that year, I’d figure out what I was doing with my life and do something completely different.
But to be honest, had things not panned out the way they did, I think I probably would have just applied for another role in house and moved to a different publisher.
The reality was that I had been really comfortable for a long time in my job. I knew what I was doing. I was confident that I was good at it. The pay was fine. It was really hard to change anything when things were ticking along so easily. Why would I want to do something hard and different?
Then we were suddenly a couple with two kids living in a house in London on (my) one income. Suddenly, things weren’t so comfortable anymore.
Turns out that for me to actually change things, I needed my circumstances to change from ‘easy’ to ‘actually pretty crappy’. I was so afraid of change that I was prepared to settle for ‘meh, this is fine’ rather than rock the boat.
Now I’m here, on the other side, and it’s much easier to push myself because I’m constantly uncomfortable.
Well, maybe uncomfortable is the wrong word. But when you don’t have one single company or client paying your bills, it means you can be more flexible in changing things up and seeking out new ways to generate revenue.
It means I constantly have to put myself out there, something I would have totally shied away from before.
And as strange as it might seem, I’m kind of enjoying it! I like finding ways to talk about what I’m doing while still being myself. Especially when it delivers actual results.
These past few weeks, inspired by my coach, I’ve been promoting SOMETHING every single day on my channels.
Whether it’s my upcoming free Facebook group or my newsletter or my mentoring services, I’ve been trying to overcome my natural introversion and the imposter syndrome I think we all have to some extent or another.
And… it’s working. I’ve had loads of sign ups to the Facebook group and to my main newsletter and two enquiries about mentoring (and one client!).
The thing that surprised me the most? It’s been kind of fun, too.
Turns out, for me, getting uncomfortable isn’t as bad as I’d thought. Good thing, too, because when the Facebook group opens in November, I’ll be going live every week, something that is definitely a stretch for me.
Fancy joining me? If you’re a freelancer, author or small business owner who wants to create a content plan that works for you and engages your audience, I’m making this for you. Sign up here to find out when it opens.
I asked people over on Instagram and LinkedIn how they felt about getting outside of their comfort zones, and this is what they said:
‘I’d say the more I do it the more evidence I have that it’s ok to do it, and that helps with the discomfort. I’m also learning that discomfort is normal and often a good thing. I suppose tuning into my feelings and intuition has really helped with this self awareness.’Ruth Poundwhite
‘I am inspired to get uncomfortable and do things that might not work by the vision of what could be if it DOES work. What makes me uncomfortable is uncertainty. But actually letting doubt run the show and put me back in my safety zone for too long is uncomfortable in a different way. I think because it tramples on my creativity and sense of freedom.’Georgina Green
‘I’ve learned that you can’t grow without getting outside of your comfort zone.’Josephine Brooks
‘Sometimes you’re forced out of your comfort zone by circumstance. For example somebody drops out of something and you’re forced to take their place, sometimes unprepared sometimes with no time to even think about it. But you do it and hopefully grow with the experience. But deliberately taking yourself out of your comfort zone is a different dynamic, I think. It requires a perception of what your comfort zone actually is. And sometimes I’m not sure I know mine!’Gill
‘Starting a biz I knew nothing about, running a networking group when I’m far comfier with people I know well or on the sofa 😉.. It’s squirmy at times. I just know I’ll never learn or grow as a person if I don’t push myself’Sarah Birchall
‘I recently started a podcast that took me way out of my comfort zone. I took a 6-month class on the subject and made very little progress. I was so nervous about interviewing people with the new equipment. The reason I eventually pushed myself out of my comfort zone and got started is because I spent so much money on the class. Having spent that money for nothing was more scary to me than pushing myself out of my comfort zone in the end.’Jennifer Walker
‘As much as I resist it, I always try to push myself out if my comfort zone 😬 I’ve always loved this quote by David Bowie: If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.’Jo Robertson
‘On good weeks I put myself outside of my comfort zone a few times a week, and try to process the anxiety and nervousness as being normal but also signs that I’m growing and learning to be more comfortable, and over time, they have got better. Overcoming the discomfort is generally reminding myself that it’s good to be uncomfortable, reminding myself of why it’s good to be outside of your comfort zone and just letting the feelings sit for a while, they tend to disappear.’Katy Elle Blake
‘I try to do it as much as possible, but not as much as I should. [It feels] scary, I get anxious and thinking about a lot of “what ifs”, then it usually feels great though! I do it because I really need to, I realise I’ve been doing the same things for too long, or I simply feel stuck. [To overcome the discomfort] I look for an external perspective and point of views. [Sometimes I try not to do it] because I’m afraid I would look really silly…or that I would clamorously fail..’Alessia Pandolfi