Become A Pro At Being Out Of Your Comfort Zone

5 min readMar 2, 2021

Feeling stressed? Life has a tendency to throw us all a curve ball sometimes, but the current pandemic has seen most of us collectively and abruptly pushed outside of our comfort zone in one capacity or another. Whether trying to adapt to social restrictions, waging war over the kitchen table while trying to home-school kids, or facing big changes — or even crisis — in our professional lives, navigating such turbulent times is tough. Thankfully, while we can’t change the challenges we face, we can steer the ways in which we deal with and experience them. With that in mind, here are our top tips to prepare for the unpredictable, pivot in the face of curve balls, and lean into challenge.

Assess The Challenge

When cast adrift from the cosy confines of our comfort zone, we can sometimes find ourselves feeling as if the sky is falling in. Science explains this strong instinctive reaction, via something that is known as the mere-exposure effect. This psychological phenomenon leads us to develop a strong preference for things merely because we are familiar with them. There is, of course, function to this feeling — it can help us avoid certain risks, and weigh what is in our control cautiously. However, the space outside our comfort zone can also provide fantastic opportunities for growth, learning, and new trajectories.

When experiencing a chicken-little moment, the place to start is in stepping back and assessing the challenges at hand. While we may not be in a place that feels comfortable, a reality-check can help us identify where we are still on solid ground, and potential pluses to our new-found position. For example, being away from loved ones can present a meaningful opportunity to reframe the value of those all-important relationships; home educating kids can mean new bonding experiences, and the chance to introduce new fun daily rituals; big challenges at work, or the need to turn towards a new professional direction can mean the potential to learn new skills. Big or small, focusing on the positives can help you to balance your mind, and re-establish your footing.

Draw On The Positives Of Past Experiences

Take a moment to reflect on your past moments of challenge or struggle, and identify the ways in which those experiences impacted you positively. Malcolm Forbes famously said that “failure is success if we learn from it”, and he’s absolutely right. Each moment in your past spent out on a limb — whether climbing a tree or launching a new business — taught you a valuable lesson. It increased your fluency in the language that is spoken outside of our comfort zones! Perhaps losing a job meant finding a new calling, or going through a divorce meant discovering your capacity for resilience and compassion. Every time we stare down the unexpected, we invariably find more strength than we knew we had, cultivate new skills, and get to know ourselves better. Recalling and highlighting these positives can help us fill up our resource-kitty, so we can face our next challenge from a position of personal strength.

An Addiction For Prediction Lays A Path To Loss

There’s plenty to be said for planning ahead, but its important to keep in mind that even the best laid plans are never a guarantee. What we can be certain of is that cultivating our capacity to be flexible and adapt is the best route towards living life of greater curiosity. When we do find ourselves in deeper water than we anticipated, letting go of where we’d planned on landing can grant us access to being more creative and intuitive, and fundamentally to enjoy more imaginative responses. We may find that this reveals a trail in the undergrowth that will get us back on track, or we might find that it highlights a different route all together. Taking an approach of openness means that we don’t miss new possibilities as we go.

Acknowledge The Work To Be Done

With a positive framing in place, now is the time to get practical — and not put your head in the sand! Give space to your concerns and anxieties, and recognize that you have a learning curve ahead. The only way to master being outside of your comfort zone is to honestly appraise those pain points, and map a course towards resolving them! This might mean making a list of what frightens you, and elements that are in your control. You can claim back your autonomy by grabbing the reins where you can, and releasing that which is beyond your scope. Depending on your obstacles, your constructive path might include:

  • Scheduling time to learn something new
  • Drawing on contacts for expert advice
  • Seeking professional financial or legal guidance
  • Experimenting with new ways to nourish your relationships
  • Seeking out others who have overcome similar challenges

Remember, too, that being out of our comfort zone and doing something new always involves lacing up our novice shoes for a while. For those seemingly claiming this uncharted space for the first time, looking up at that learning curve can be daunting. But, by taking a wider view, we can usually discover that we’ve actually climbed that curve many times before, and the more we do it the easier it will get — not to mention, the more reward we will discover as we reach the next summit. What a view!

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Life, Self-Improvement, Philosophy, Science, A.I., Web3, Business, Finance, FinTech, Innovation