Does Fear Keep You In Your Comfort Zone?
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~ Brian Tracy
About five years ago I had a conversation with my father-in-law that changed how I started making decisions. It really didn’t happen overnight exactly, but it did happen.
There was a time when I lacked confidence in myself and my ability that kept me from experiencing my potential. I was told that I needed to step outside of my comfort zone, that I needed to take some risk and believe in my ability. At first I thought, “what in the world is this guy talking about, I am confident?”, but later realized just how right he was. I was scared! Fear kept me comfortable where I was. Fear controlled my path and I did not even realize it. Just like with many others out there that are given advice by someone else, I didn’t act on it immediately. Yes, I was stubborn, but why?
Wherever there is change, there is most likely a stubborn mule close by. People are fearful of change. Change is sometimes painful but it can also be great. Our Total Money Makeover didn’t happen overnight because it required a change in our behavior. In order for us to make this change we had to think differently. Sometimes that takes time, and sometimes it never happens at all.
How open are you to change?
This is an important question for you to consider. If you are unhappy with your situation, you must not continue to do the same things. Change is required for you to get different results. Results that could change your life forever.
Regardless of how comfortable you feel inside the box you are not maximizing your potential. Inside the box you are safe, secure, and stable. Inside the box there is no risk and if there is no risk, there is no reward. If you are okay with little risk and less options then I am not talking to you. If you are happy with where you are then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I am talking to those of you who want more but just don’t know where to start. I am talking to those of you that fear causes you to stay in the box. Fear will keep you down. Fear will keep you from achieving things you only dreamed of achieving. Fear IS inside the box. You need to step outside of the box where there are more options. Options are good!
What’s Inside The box?
- Lack of Confidence
- Status Quo
- Nothing New
- Less Opportunity
These are not things that are always true for everyone. Perhaps some would even wonder why fear and comfort would be in the same list. They are complete opposites but fear causes people to remain where they are comfortable. The fear of failure makes us want to crawl back into our shell where we feel safe.
What’s Outside The Box?
No, that last one is not a mistake. Failure happens more often to successful people because they step outside of their comfort zone and take chances. Failure should not be viewed as always negative. Sure failure is no fun to experience but if you pay attention to why you failed you can learn how to succeed.
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
I Stepped Outside My Comfort Zone And So Can You
I have some room to improve, but have enjoyed what stepping outside of my comfort zone has done for me so far. One thing that I would say is the most helpful is having a passion. Your passion can cause you to want to do things you would normally avoid like the plague. Trust me on that one! All of the things below were not possible until I decided that my comfort zone wouldn’t help me achieve anything more.
- Starting a blog – Even though I had never had any college writing classes or written anything significant beforehand, I reluctantly started this blog. I fought over the idea for many weeks and because I was scared of something I had never done, I almost decided against it. Not only have I been writing for this blog for over a year, but I feel very confident in my ability to write great articles. I have improved tremendously and look forward to growing even more in my writing abilities. I have published 140 141 articles, received 694 comments, and made some great friends and connections along the way. I have over 200 wonderful readers, 160 of which I have gained since May of this year. I have also been mentioned on cnn.com. None of which would have ever happened had I stayed inside my comfort zone.
- Leading Financial Peace University classes – Without ever leading as much as a group discussion I struggled with the thought of leading and coordinating FPU classes at my church. I had to convince the diaconate to allow me to bring FPU to our church. I prepared a presentation and sort of bombed it, but still pulled it off. (I had my presentation memorized but forgot my name when it was showtime.) 😀 Luckily, I had handouts to fall back on to finish the presentation. I was a little discouraged because of this, but have since led two successful FPU workshops. Leading two groups of 10-20 people through 26 weeks of classes helped me gain some much needed confidence in front of a crowd. Like with most people, public speaking is not something I was filled with excitement to do. I was terrified. Stepping outside the box enabled me to make some wonderful leaps in this area. I still have a long way to go, but as you will see by my next 2 moves I am willing to be uncomfortable in order to conquer my fears and accomplish my goals.
- Signing up for a Public Speaking class – I would have never signed up voluntarily to take a public speaking class. That is before my passion gave me the courage to do it anyway that is. Talk about being scared out of my mind. The truth is that I knew that the career path I have chosen for myself meant that I needed to communicate effectively with others. Convincing people to cut the shackles of slavery by cutting up their credit cards and paying cash for their cars is not an easy task. I gave 3 major speeches in the class which consisted of an informative, a persuasive, and a ceremonial speech. I finished the class with an A! You can’t get an A in something you never attempted to do.
- Speaking to Sweet Briar College for an entire hour – I was asked to speak at Sweet Briar for one hour about budgeting, saving, student loans, and buying a house. Everything inside of me screamed at me to say NO! The truth is I am still a bit scared, but I know I will do fine and the experience will help me tremendously. What an accomplishment for someone who was shaking with terror at the mere thought of addressing 25 men in order to get FPU in my church. I will gain so much more from doing it, than I would had I said no. I stepped outside of the box. My passion to help others become debt free had a lot to do with it but that conversation I had with my father-in-law five years ago paved the way.
Maybe this post can pave the way for you to step outside of the box. Your comfort zone may give you comfort, but it comes at the cost of not seeing all of the opportunities that come your way. When you are in the box it is dark! Take a peek outside and you may be surprised at what you see.