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.
Great article! Very inspiring!
Tim Ferriss has a saying I have learned to thoroughly implement.
The thing you want to do the least, is the thing you need to do the most.
Once I started implementing this, I became more productive and less stressed.
I think this is my most favorite post! Very timely!
I had a mini melt down earlier this week because I am so passionate about what I want to do but fear is keeping me from doing it. I woke up this morning and prayed for God to take that fear away from me. Your post today was a confirmation that He heard me! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂
Yeah for Tanya!
This post not only has to do with Finances, but can fit many areas of your life. I have to say, I ran into this post today and a great quote from Brad Pitt (“Do you know how you tell real love? It’s when somebody else’s interest trumps your own. Love of someone else, of family, of your kids becomes the most important, most worthwhile thing in your life”). Both of these has really hit the spot with me today. If you read my blog, you know that I am on a mini hiatus to deal with some personal issues – its my marriage. But, we have decided to step outside our comfort zone and give a 110% to make this work.
You’re right, we need to step outside our comfort zone to experience a different level. There is no proof it will work, but its better to say you tried than not to have tried at all. Thanks for the great post!
Great post – and inspiring! Very cool to hear about the things that you’ve done that you weren’t comfortable doing – way too often we strive to live in comfort and by doing so we miss out on so much.
Great post, I have had these same struggles as well. What I have learned is that you just have to take that first action step towards your goals or it’ll never happen.
Thanks everyone! I am so glad that you enjoyed it. I have enjoyed what stepping outside of my comfort zone has provided me. It really does work.
Tanya, I am especially happy that you were able to benefit from this post. Fear be gone! 😀
Money Funk, I hope everything works out for you in every way! It is good that you are both working to resolve your problems before giving up. I would like to recommend something you may or may not be interested in helping you. Ever heard of the Love Dare? If not, go rent the movie Fireproof to see what it’s about. The movie seems a little cheesy to some but the message is clear. I hope it helps you both! The Love Dare Challenge
Thank you so much for the link. That is quite cool! Definitely a challenge we need right now. 🙂
Just remember that just like with your money, you can do this too if you both really want it. It sounds like you do so I will be praying that you find a way. I try to watch the movie Fireproof whenever we have an argument. It helps me remember that we are on the same team and that no matter what she did to upset me, I can respond better myself. It’s real easy to want to focus on who’s at fault but the solution is found in our next action not the action that caused the problem. I know I tend to forget that sometimes myself. I’ll be rooting for you, I know you can do it!
This was very motivational and I was very inspired. I’m at a cross road in my life, financially, education, job. I want to get out of my comfort zone, but fear is my best friend. I have talent that I have yet to discover and I want to do something that I thought would be impossible with my life.
Brad keep writing, I love to read and need what you are telling us that we can do to make us better and better. Good Luck to everyone!
I can do this!!!!
You are very right—YOU CAN DO THIS! If I may, I would like to add that no one will do it for you. I struggled with an entitlement mentality for the better part of my life, but it was when I realized I was the only one that was going to make things happen for me that things truly started to change. I cannot believe I walked around expecting others to do for me all those years. I am in a much better place and I know you will be in a much better place too as long as you continue to challenge yourself. I will keep writing! You keep pushing, it is worth it!
You might want to start with any, or all of these four authors. They helped me so much!
Dave Ramsey helped me change my behaviors and attitude about money and debt, Dan Miller showed me a different dimension to the workplace and even inspired me to start this blog, John G. Miller taught me how to hold myself accountable and ask the right questions, and Brian Tracy taught me how to believe in myself and my abilities. A well rounded team of experts that I admire very much!
Howdy Brad, thanks for highlighting this post in the comments section of my site. How did your presentation at Sweet Briar go? That's some scary stuff, public speaking!