Home > What's in my head now? > 6 Ways to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone…and Love it

6 Ways to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone…and Love it


I frequently blog and talk about getting out of your comfort zone. I preach this because this is the one way I KNOW to expedite the personal and professional growth process. Someone asked me yesterday, “what do you mean ‘get out of your comfort zone? How do I do that’?”

While it sounds simple, if you are truly stepping ‘out’, this is a BIG change. EMBRACE IT. The learning and growth you will experience will be directly proportional to the magnitude of the change you make or the discomfort you seek to experience. I’ve learned to thrive on this feeling of discomfort…can you?

1. Start Small. Change is scary for everyone, so the more used to it you are, the easier it will be. If you’ve never done anything REALLY scary in your life, start with a small change. Make a goal like, “I’m going to give my opinion to the CEO” and DO IT (do it professionally). Another example of something small would even be ‘asking the boy or girl you like on a date’. Anything that makes you feel a bit unnerved when you think about it is a great place to start.

2. Commit to yourself. Commit to change. “Agreement is not commitment” – RC and you need to learn the difference. A commitment is a complete mindset face lift. Your mindset must be committed to growth; quick growth.

3. Measure your commitment. Decide that you are going to do “one thing that takes you out of your comfort zone” per day; or maybe it’s ‘per week’. You want to face one fear or one situation that you normally would have brushed off. Write it down in the morning, check it off at night.

4. Reinforce outcomes. Each time you do something you wouldn’t normally do, write down what you learned from it. When you’re fearful of taking on something different the next time, go back and read what you learned and how you grew from something.

5. Know yourself; know when you’re ready for a big change. Make the change. Don’t think about it emotionally. As Nike says, “Just do it”.

6. MAKE MISTAKES and love it. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you they learned more from the failures than their successes. If you hold yourself accountable and learn from them, you have served yourself best.

7. Move. Be in constant motion. What has served me best over the past decade is constant motion; and please note – this does not mean, “move up” – this may also mean, “moving down” (in the proverbial corporate ladder). It takes just as much courage to take a step back from a job or product you are not ready for as it does to take it head on.

My experiences and growth periods all stemmed from #7 – movement. I worked for Kaplan and I was their top sales rep for years; but that was where my professional skill set ended – SALES. While fun and certainly profitable, it was a skill set that many others entailed and it was beginning to get boring. I wanted to use my brain, I wanted to be challenged, and I wanted to be completely uncomfortable. So, I left the security of my job and went to a start up company. Best career decision I ever made. I “took a step back”, took a pay cut, and was constantly thrown in all functional areas of a business. I was scared, I was excited, and everyday was an adventure. I have yet to match that experience. Over 3 years, I became a different person – both personally and professionally. Professionally, I was making more money and dealing with more high level strategies, deals, and executives than any of my friends that had MBA’s. While I’m a proponent of continuing education, I can contest that there is no better education than working in a start up.

MOVE AGAIN. I didn’t want to leave my start up, but the opportunity for another start up company was offered. It was across the country. Being your typical “Damn Yankee”, I thought NYC and South FL were the centers of the universe for most of my life. When I was offered a role for a job in Texas, I grabbed it. In 3 weeks, I left my job, my home, my family, and my friends; and moved to Dallas, TX. This was the second best ‘move’ I made both personally and professionally. From a business perspective, I interacted with and learned how to communicate with a different type of executive. The conservative nature held by those in Texas was nothing I’ve ever experienced on the east coast and I had to relearn and reteach myself how to communicate, both internally and with clients – as a representative of the company. Personally, it WAS the best move I’ve made. My marriage was stronger than ever, as when you leave your friends and family – you truly only have each other. Not being around family and friends was tough, but I learned independence quickly. Being an extrovert, I thought it would be fun to make new friends, but it is a challenge to find people whose values are similar to yours. I learned new and different values and cultures and gained a whole new perspective as well as a new “family” – or set of friends in my building who became like family.

Take it from me and my experiences – you want to grow – get out of your comfort zone. It’s scary and hard while it’s happening, but when you look back, it will be the best experience of your life.

Uncomfortable

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  1. Lisa
    January 28, 2011 at 10:22 am

    As a big proponent of “getting out of the comfort zone”, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve found that the most fulfilling experiences in both my personal and professional life have come from the times that I shifted gears, changed directions and felt more anxious than I had ever felt before. The rie is definitely rocky but, the reward is worth it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • January 31, 2011 at 1:44 am

      I believe you / I have similar beliefs here and thank you for helping me write.

  2. Stacey
    January 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Jamie-

    Addicted to your blog! You have such insight that makes everything make more sense to me while motivating me at the same time! Thank you thank you thank you and best of luck!!!! I had to forward your blog on to friends because its so good!

    • January 31, 2011 at 1:45 am

      Only people who are passionate enough to truly get motivated allow themselves to be inspired. I’m proud of you that you are one of those people; nothing to do with may. Stay open, who knows when lighting will strike?

  3. January 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I LOVE it, Jamie!!!! You GET IT….. You ROCK!!!

    What I don’t understand is how come EVERYONE doesn’t get it? I cannot imagine a life so mundane and boring that would result if we weren’t continuously challenging ourselves to SOMETHING…….

    Keep up the good work, Jamie!!!

    BR,
    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia
    http://www.build-project-management-competency.com

    • January 31, 2011 at 10:38 am

      Doc! You’re supposed to teach ME why everyone doesn’t “get it” (whatever ‘it’ is, right?) That said, I guess it’s good that there are all different types of people out there; otherwise, how would we weed them out? Thanks for the ‘shout’ – what classes / who are you doing classes for these days?

  4. Amanda Lippman
    January 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    if it is presented to you someway, somehow, take it and embrace it and try it.. because u can!

  5. January 29, 2011 at 10:38 am

    What a great read! To know you personally, makes the blog that much more entertaining. You jump off the page. You have such an incredible perspective, so business savy. The advice is spot on and as I continue through the journey of opening my own company, I will certainly continue to reference here. Way to go Jame!

    • January 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      I love that you’re starting your own company AND I LOVE that you are already so busy you probably don’t even NEED to market. Not that there was every any doubt – but very proud of you AND you know where I AM if you need ANYTHING.

  6. sadya
    January 30, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    The fear that the change might actually backfire is crippling. and that stops us dead in our tracks. Another factor is the people we are with, if our immediate circle is the type that prefers ‘stability’ then we are unlikely to make a change. FYI this is the story of my life right now

    • January 31, 2011 at 10:53 am

      Sadya – Keep up your communication with the Brazen peeps and you’ll get motivated to GO and take the plunge ( ; I would ask you if being around ‘stable’ friends is not an ‘excuse’ or an unconscious way of bring fearful and not admitting it? Fear is a waste of an emotion. Coming from me – maybe that sounds crazy as I really am fearful of a lot – but only little things ( ; I love the big changes.

      • Sadya
        February 1, 2011 at 8:22 am

        Jamie, you are so right – Fear is a waste of an emotion.

  7. January 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Well summed up, and I like the additional ‘reinforcement’ step in there.

    I think self-reflection is a massively powerful tool when you’re out of your comfort zone ~ summing up your learnings from a period of time, be it written in a diary, blog, or any other creative way your brain can manifest, is integral to the learning experience. So cheers for highlighting this. I realise all my blogging over the last 5 years has largely been for my own assimilation of what has gone past rather than keeping others updated.

    Look forward to hearing from you on the other project on your radar!

    • February 1, 2011 at 9:14 am

      Sam my man – truthfully been so crazy busy traveling (and apparently blogging – hahaha) I have not had a chance to put together what I thought I would. Going back to a question you had asked a while back, do the same “rules” apply for social entrepreneurship? I’m willing to bet there are tons of entrepreneurs or successful VCs out there that are tired of ‘working in the same industry’ and ‘need a challenge’ – I think that’s who you go after. Challenge them to challenge themselves….

  8. January 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Great post, Jam. I am a big fan of this concept, as you know.

    I would add that, to help hold yourself accountable, it’s a good idea to let someone important to you know that you are going to do the thing you’ve promised yourself you will do. That way, if you fail to do it, you will let that person down–extra motivation to keep moving!

    • February 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

      So, I couldn’t agree with you more about telling OTHERS to hold you accountable; but what I would also say is 2 things to be aware of: 1) Ensure it’s the “RIGHT” type of person. Having someone to hold you accountable is great – if they are strong enough to do so, right? 2) Beware of becoming too dependent on others for the accountability / reinforcement. FOr me, and I think for others as well, part of ‘getting out of the comfort zone IS being independently able to hold yourself accountable.

  9. January 31, 2011 at 5:15 am

    “If you are not growing, you are dying” – don’t remember who said this, but it is true. I think it is from a Jim Rohn seminar. If I am in comfort zone, I am not growing. I like these simple practical thoughts to get my day out of comfort mode. Thanks.

  10. January 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks Conor. Great quote; I will likely steal ( ; and give you credit! I’ve spent time on your site / watching videos, etc. and you seem to be a master entrepreneur and professor (my ultimate goal!) so looking forward to continue to learn from you and am honored that you commented!

  11. Michael Dvorscak
    February 5, 2011 at 7:56 am

    You are right, it is important to step beyond our comfort zones. An excellent way to develop new skills. Also, I believe it is important for the person to realize and reflect that they went beyond their comfort zone.

    It might make an interesting series of posts to explore the topic a little more. For example, as you know, it does not always go well. A bad experience, not put into the right perspective, which may cause a person in the future to not move beyond their comfort zone, thereby pass on a chance for growth and development.

    Great posting.

    • February 5, 2011 at 8:10 am

      Great idea Michael! Maybe 3 posts of 3 different experiences? One mine – and the 2 other’s guest posts? thoughts?

      • February 12, 2011 at 7:26 am

        I have been giving this a little bit of thought. While not trying to reduce “its sexy” of stepping out of one’s comfort zone, it is essentially taking a risk.

        In any case, there are several ways one could travel on this topic. Certainly deconstructing and reflecting on a personal experience. Your idea of having a guest blogger write a post is a great idea, especially if they have a compelling story.

        Personally, I see it as a risk issue. In my mind, I have always viewed risk as an something that involved something involving the calculation of success/failure. Taking this perspective, one can easily miss the essence and spirit of your initial post.

        I will keep an eye out for any subsequent posts on the topic.

  12. February 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Another great article! Congratulations! Keep it up, you found your niche!

  13. February 18, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  14. March 31, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Been reading your articles since morning and love it. Just wanted to share my opinion. I was reading an entrepreneurship articles just now which say “Work with people that can test your limit and you will learn a lot” it is the same concept with get out from the comfort zone. You will stop to learn new things when you are only in the comfort zone.

    • March 31, 2011 at 7:15 am

      Sounds exactly the same ( ; Which article? Do you happen to have the link?

  15. March 31, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    I will try to look back and find it, then will share it here 🙂

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